tv DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson Testimony on Fiscal Year 2017 Budget CSPAN February 24, 2016 7:58pm-9:36pm EST
c-span's campaign 2016 is taking you on the road to white house. saturday is the south carolina democratic primary. our live coverage begins at 7:30 p.m. eastern with election results and speeches from the democratic candidates. clinton and sanders. we will get your reaction through your phone calls and tweets. join us saturday for live coverage on c-span, c-span radio and c-span.org. the president's 2017 budget request for the department of homeland security calls for an increase from the current budget. homeland security secretary jeh johnson defended the proposal before a senate appropriations subcommittee earlier today. the hearing is about an hour and a half.
[ no audio ] i will call this hearing of the senate appropriations committee on homeland security to order. i want to begin by thanking the honorable secretary for homeland security, secretary johnson for being with us today. we understand the demands in your schedule. we appreciate you being here with us today. i would like to welcome our ranking member, senator shaheen. good to be with you. also, the full appropriation committee chairman who is here, senator cochran. thank you for joining us today.
senator mckowski, thank you for joining us. i would take a minute to defer to the chairman of our full appropriations committee, senator cochran, for any opening remarks that you might have, mr. chairman. >> mr. chairman, thank you very much. i'm happy to join you in welcoming our witnesses and others who are here today to help us understand the immr. indications that are reflected in the administration's budget request for the department of homeland security for fiscal year 2017. it was testified that processes actionable intelligence on approximately 90% of known
maritime drug movement, but they can only attempt to target and disrupt 20% of the known flow. that's kind of scary. but it puts in context, i think, as the beginning of this hearing how there are a lot of unanswered questions and challenges for law enforcement and others and raises concern that the coast guard is being put on -- put in additional stre stress. but we are prepared to listen to the testimony of our witnesses whom we appreciate being here today. we look forward to trying to be a constructive influence in this process. so we will be happy to receive your advice and counsel on the
ways to proceed. >> thank you, senator cochran. and again, thanks for being here today. i do apologize. i know it's warm in here. mr. secretary, that was not by design. i assure you. they did not turn up the heat intentionally. i think, in fact, they are working on it. hopefully, they will get the air conditioning going as we proceed. >> the press will report i was on the hot seat. >> indeed. >> i'm always on the hot seat. >> i have some opening remarks. then i will turn to our ranking member and other members and then we will ask for your open statement, mr. secretary. the director of the national intelligence recently testified regarding the worldwide threat stating first and foremost that, quote, unpredictable instability has become the new normal, end quote. he was pointing to the threat from violent extremists and their growing reach in countries around the globe.
in the last year, we saw brutal attacks in paris, san bernardino and chattanooga and others. the american people rightfully are concerned about terrorism, which they see as encompassing violent extremist. in a december 2015 gallup poll, 16% of americans cited terrorism as the number one problem facing the united states. that's the highest level that it has been in ten years. i know, mr. secretary, you are well aware of the threats facing this nation and that you believe in the department's critical roles and missions in countering those threats. yet with that context, the president's fiscal year 2017 request creates some real challenges for this committee. let me first note some significant shortfalls that are present in the budget request. now, the budget includes $909
million in proposed tsa fees. without that revenue, tsa would be cut by almost 20%. and, of course, that's not a reduction that we can or should make for tsa. so we're going to have to address that, you know, across the full budget. next the budget proposes to cut immigration enforcement specifically detention operations by about $350 million. that's targeted at family residential centers but also reduces adult beds. the current population is thousands above the requested level. so we're already above that level in terms of current population. and due to seasonality, the detained population is lower now than it is likely to be later in the year. now, you turning a corner in
getting cooperation from state and local enforcement in honoring detainers. i know you have been working on that. and it's very important. but that's also going to be a need for more detention beds. so this is another issue where we're going to have to figure something out. and so to get the higher removal numbers, you need -- you are going to need that detention capacity for your removal operations. on top of that the request cuts state and local preparedness in fema by $560 million. that's something we will want to talk about. our state and local partners rely on the funds to be on the front lines in the war on terrorism, stable funding and measurable results are essential. given the threat our country faces, this is a cut that we're going to have to restore for states and localitlocalities.
as a result of the reductions, rear facing a tight budget this year. a more challenging budget this year than last year. and obviously, we're not going to be able to fund all of the things outlined in the budget. but we are going to have do some reprioritization in the areas i emphasized. we need your priorities, mr. secretary and your ideas for addressing some of the areas. we will be talking about those areas specifically today and getting your input. i want to specifically understand your personnel costs. since salaries and benefits are your largest drivers, your largest cost drivers. then we also have both attrition and you have areas where you are not able to fill the number of people that you need. more patrol agents, for example, secret service. areas where we have to find ways to fill those slots. also, i want to continue our
conversation regarding metrics, something you and i talked about when we met recently. the department needs to do all it can to assess its needs and demonstrate its effectiveness through data and metrics. we need to be able to track that progress. whether it's determining the right mix of personnel and technology to conduct a mission or publicly reporting on public flows and enforcement action. very important that we have that information. i have talked about that. that's another area that i hope to drill into today is to talk about metrics anz me s and meas and what kind of progress you are making. so we will go through that in some detail. last, i'm going to ask for some updates on programs across the department. some of these we have talked about. i continue to support implementation of biometric exit. and want to understand your plan
in how we can be helpful in advancing that plan. also cyber security, obviously, a big focus for you. and i think for everyone in congress as well with what's going on. in the tsa, we're going to want to talk -- we have a new tsa director. i think he's the right person for the job. and so we're going to want to talk about how they're transforming their operations, personnel, training and technology. again, i think he is providing good direction. but we have to make sure that they are accomplishing their objectives and that we're tracking that progress. i will stop there. at this point, i will turn to our ranking member, senator shaheen. >> thank you, mr. chairman. welcome, secretary johnson. we're delighted to you have before this subcommittee again to talk your request for the department of homeland security. i should say at the outset that
i share concerns about a number of the issues that the chairman raised. i do appreciate, as we do all, the diverse missions of the department and the millions of americans whose lives are affected by the work that you do. i think if anything, the mission may be getting broader because of the challenges that we face today. and i share the chairman's concern about the administration's request which really reduces funding for the department by about $40.5 billion for operations in 2017. now, i guess i have several concerns about this. first has to do also with the proposed $909 million in fees that have not yet been authorized and while i appreciate that that's an
important potential source of revenue, i think the politicians of getting that done are questionable. i'm concerned about the reduction in the budget for fema's state and local grant programs. they were a priority of the administration a year ago and yet they have been reduced by about 20%. and finally, the proposal suggests that we are going to rescind $120 million from emergency disaster loans that cbo -- at least in our interpretation, is not likely to allow us to take as a discretionary offset. so this means we start this budget process with a hole of about $1.5 billion, i think. so i'm hoping that you can share some insights into how you made those tradeoffs in the budget and what the expectations are for that. now, i do have some areas where
i think the budget proposal is very positive. certainly, with respect to strengthening our cyber security infrastructure, that that's very important. the 30% increase. do that will help not only our federal networks but will help us as we are working with the private sector. i'm also very pleased to see the department's continued efforts on countering violent extremism. i had the opportunity to watch the university of new hampshire's peer to peer program presentation. it was very impressive and really showed what young people can do in helping us as we're trying to address this challenge. i also was pleased to see the request which fully funds fema's projected disaster response and recovery needs given what's happening with the weather events in the country. i think that's very important. and finally, in closing, i do
want to mention the heroin crisis that we're facing in new hampshire and in so many states across this country. because while the department of homeland security doesn't have direct responsibility to combat this problem, certainly, the coast guard and cbp play critical roles in interdicting heroin and other drugs as they come across the border. and so i'm looking forward to hearing what more the department is thinking about in terms of helping as we try and address this problem. so i look forward to hearing your comments today, mr. secretary. and to seeing how this committee can work with you as we get a budget through that makes sense for the country and the department. >> i would like to thank both senator cassidy and -- are there any other opening statements? >> mr. chairman, i have had a
quick conversation with secretary johnson. first, i appreciate you being here. i have alerted him to the fact that most of my comments this more than -- questions this afternoon are going to relate to the coast guard budget, recognizing that we're not going to be having a separate hearing on the coast guard's budget as part of homeland security. i thank you for this opportunity to bring up these questions with the secretary and look forward to working with you and the ranking member on these important issues to my state and the country. thank you. >> thank you, senator murkowski. senator boland. >> i appreciate you holding this hearing. will be submitting some questions for the record due to my schedule after your presentation, secretary johnson. but as a member of both the authorizing committee and this committee, it is especially helpful for us to be able to spend this time with you. and i appreciate it. >> thank you. senator cassidy?
>> in the interest of time, i will restrict myself to my question period. i'm good. >> very good. thank you. secretary johnson, your opening statement. >> thank you. chairman, senators, i'm pleased to be here. the president's fiscal 2017 budget request for the department of homeland security reflects hard choices to fit within the caps established by the bipartisan budget agreement of 2015. at the end of the day, it funds all of our vital homeland security missions in these challenging times. the president's budget request calls for $40.6 billion in appropriated funds compared, as you noted, senator, to $41 billion currently in 2016. but an increase in total spending authority to $66.8 billion compared to $64.8
billion in the current fiscal year. to be clear, as has already been noted, part of that top line, $66.8 billion, we're requesting be funded by fee increases. and we have submitted authorization language to the congress to authorize those fee increases. total work force request is 229,626 compared to 226,157 in the current fiscal year accompanied by an overall work force pay raise of 1.6%. like this year, the president's budget requests $6.7 billion to finance the cost of major disasters in fema's disaster relief fund and the ability to collect $19.5 billion in fees compared to $17.1 billion this year. of note, our budget request includes $5.1 billion for
transportation screening operations, $1.6 billion an increase to fund our vital cyber security missions. $1.9 billion for the secret service, which is at the same level enacted in 2016. $319 million to cover costs associated with unaccompanied children and families who cross our border illegalillegally. $1.1 billion for recapitalization of the coast guard, including an investment in this nation's future arctic capability. and $226 million for continued investment in the construction of a future dhs headquarters at st. elisebeth's. like last year, reforming the way in which the department of homeland security functions and conducts business to more effectively and efficiently deliver our services to the american people is my top
objective for 2016. we have done a lot in the last two years. but there is still much we will do and we can do. there are still too many stovepipes and inefficient says in the department. the center piece of our management reform effort has been the unity of effort initiative i announced and launched in april 2014 which focuses on getting away from the stovepipes in favor of more centralized programming, budgets and acquisition processes. overall, my goal as secretary continues to be the protection of the homeland and leaving the department of homeland security a better place than i found it. thank you. and i look forward to your questions. >> thank you, mr. secretary. we will start with five minute rounds for the questions. let's go right to the fee issue first. i don't think that that's likely
to happen, that fee increase. that creates about $909 million that we're going to have to find in other areas. and i guess i just start with your ideas in terms of pry organization as o prioritization as to how we should approach that. >> first of all, i do believe a fee increase kreecrease whole i appropriate to increase the fee to passengers and carriers i think is appropriate and i think it's worthwhile when you are talking about aviation security in particular. i understand the reality of the difficulty of doing that. i note that in connection with the murray ryan budget deal in 2013, the air carrier fee was -- i'm sorry, the air passenger fee was increased from i think $5 to
$5.60. so it's not impossible. and a lot of us believe that when it comes to aviation security, an increase in the fees around air travel is appropriate. in terms of my priorities, they are reflected in the budget request and they are reflected in my prepared statement. i do constantly think about adequate funding for aviation security, cyber security, recapitalization of our coast guard, adequate funding for the things we need to do for the secret service and adequate funding for border security and immigration enforcement activities. in any budget discussion, you always have to be mindful about the longer term investments, too. we are working right now in a dls headquarters that is frankly inadequate for our mission. it was supposed to be temporary 12 years ago. and it is still there, and we
still work there. and there are huge, huge drawbacks to the ability of my leadership to conduct our oversight of a 225,000 person work force in our current headquarters. we made an investment in st. elisebeth's. the more we put into it now, the less expensive it will be. the less time it will take to eventually get there. i was pleased that in this year's budget, the congress funded enough to finish completion of the main building. and if we stay on track and we stay at the schedule reflected in the budget, we will get there sooner rather than later. it's going to cost less and not more. but the immediate priorities are as i stated in part of this season, sir. there are the long-term investments i believe we need to make in terms of of the headquarters and other things we need to do.
>> senator carp and others -- and you convinced me we should stay on track to move to the new facility. i had some feeling that maybe we should use some of the funds in the other areas. but i understand that you feel that that will generate better results and cost savings over time. talking to the authorizers, that was their opinion as well. certainly, senator carper was influential in that discussion. and so we are trying to help with that transition for you. and we understand it. but we are going to be pressed in some areas on this budget. so we are going to have to work with you -- to the extent you want to, with some prioritizations. and another area where i see real pressure coming and we're going to have to do some reprioritization is in your detention beds. you are already running at a
level where the funding in this budget would be below your current census. and i anticipate that that -- that your population will actually increase, not go down. if you can convince me that somehow it will, because you are able to remove more of those individuals, that might be a cost savings. but in looking at your detention beds and family operations, you are not funding it at the level that your current census would require. >> we have requested about 31,000 detention beds. i think it's important that we be able to transfer that funding from single adult to families as the need arises back and forth. at the time we made the request, we were dealing with an average detention capacity in fiscal '15 of about 28,000.
i would say today as i sit here, we're at about 31,000. >> your average census right now is about 33. if you are at 31, then it's down a little versus your current average. >> so for i believe in fiscal '16, so far, we're at about 33, overall. as i sit here right now, we're at about 31 today. that's the photograph today, snapshot today. but i think that it's critical that we have some flexibility in terms of moving back and forth between families and single adults. but i do think that the number we have submitted reflects hard choices. and it also, frankly, reflects what we think we need. and we ran it about 31,000 last year. >> just to kind of finish in this area, the other area is the state and local fema preparedness grants. that's $560 million. somehow we're going to have through flexibility, through
summary -- with the fee area, with what you are going to need in detention beds and the fema -- that looks like the toughest part of making this budget come together. and we welcome your input. we're clearly going to be working on that in terms of some re-prioritization and trying to find solutions. so we will work with you. again, any input you have that can help, we want -- >> senator, without a doubt, this budget request reflects hard choices given the caps. the way the two-year deal was structured, '16 was better than '17. we're now having to deal with '17. >> this will be a tougher budget. >> i am a strong believer in the usefulness and effectiveness our grant money. i have seen it firsthand in active shooter training, in the ability to fund communications and surveillance equipment. at built to fund overtime for police and firefighters.
but again, this reflects our choices. i am not as happy as i could be with how we can fund our homeland security activities. but we have to live within that ceiling. >> senator shaheen? >> thank you, mr. chairman. and i would like to pick up on that issue, mr. secretary, about the preparedness grants, because as we're all well aware, it's those first responders who are on the front lines, whether it's firefighters or local law enforcement or emergency management officials who are usually dealing with disasters with potential security threats first. this budget, as i read it, cuts those state grants by about 57%. urban grants by 45%, transit grants by 15%, port grants by
7%. so i wonder if you can talk about how you came up with those figures, what rational was used. what do we think the impact is going to be on the local level from if we do, in fact, make the cuts that are proposed in this budget? >> i will say a couple things, senator. one, up until very recently, states and cities were limited to two years in terms of their ability to spend the money. they would have two years to spend it. i think you and i may have had this conversation at one point. >> yes, we have had this issue. >> i changed that policy to three years to make it a little more flexible so that states had more time and cities had more time to spend the money in year one and year three.
so that went into the thinking with respect to this grant proposal. the other thing, again, is this budget reflects hard choices to live within the caps that the congress and the president have agreed to. having said that, i do believe that homeland security grant making is very, very important. and given how the global terrorist threat has evolved to include the threat of lone wolf actors, small-scale attacks that involve mass shootings by one or two actors who are not previously on the radar, who are very often home born or home grown, local law enforcement has taken on much of a counterterrorism mission. i said at a graduation ceremony
for 1200 new york city police officers in december, the cop on the beat may be the first one to detect the next terrorist attack on the united states. and a lot of our grant making is put to good use in a lot of police departments around the country. at the end of the day, the appropriators will determine how best to come up with a budget within our caps. the grant making is important. >> thank you. you mentioned the potential of terrorist threats, the lone wolves. ones of the things that i think is important in the budget proposal is the money that's appropriated for countering violent extremism. a as i mentioned in my opening statement. i had the chance to question the secretary of state yesterday about the efforts that state is doing on the same issue to
counter violent extremism. and i raised the program that started within dhs. and he -- and how you all were coordinating those efforts. so i would ask you about how you envision the funds for cve to be used and also if you could talk a little bit about how you see the coordination function working with state and dhs. >> i think it's better than it was. we have an inter-agency task force that includes state, includes doj, dls is the lead in that task force. and i'm sure there are other agencies involved. senators, as you probably know, this say personal mission of mine. i have spent a lot of time in muslim communities in particular around the country on our cve efforts. i think domestically it's critical we build bridges to a lot of communities, including muslim communities. i think we are doing that.
i also think it's critically important that we provide resources at the local level to help communities to deal with the problem of individuals who may be turning toward violence. i heard that over and over again. wheth when i would do these visits. so i was very pleased that congress this year provided $50 million for that purpose. i think that's a great thing. we're asking for $49 million for next year. and i'm really pleased also that our cve efforts are getting bipartisan support from republicans and democrats who appreciate the importance of this effort. there's a lot that the tech sector can do, which we have talked to them about, to help amplify the counter message, to counter the message of the islamic state. that is not a government mission. that's a private sector, tech sector mission. i see more and more of the tech sector getting involved in that. so we want to help them partner with muslim leaders.
and talking to flphilanthropiess well. but i do think that the grant money for cve, which we begun this year, and we want to continue, has been and will be used very effectively. the cve effort, given how the global terrorist threat has evolved is in my view as important as any other homeland security effort. >> if i could just do a follow-up, mr. chairman, even though my time is up. i think it's relevant to this issue. the funding that was awarded in 2016, my understanding is that it's not actually going to be out in communities and be dispersed until the end of the year at the earliest. can you talk about why the additional funding is needed even though that money still is in the pipeline and hasn't been used yet? >> well, i suspect the answer is that because this is new money,
it takes an effort to start up the process for the grant awards, grant applications and so forth. that's why you are probably hearing that we won't be able to distribute it until the end of the fiscal year. but i want to keep that pipeline going. i think this should not be a one-year only deal. i think we need to keep at this, which is consider we're asking for more money in '17. >> thank you. thank you, mr. chairman. >> senator cochran? >> thank you, mr. chairman. there are several areas, mr. secretary, where you have outlined previously some goals and ambitions for the department. to what extent do you think this budget authority that you will be given by the congress is sufficient? is the administration's request
sufficient? do you have additions to make to those requests that have already been submitted? >> i think that we have done the best we can do within the budget caps that we have. to adequately fund our vital homeland security missions, which include aviation security, maritime security, cyber security, the secret service and our other missions. there are some hard choices reflected in this budget, including decreases in current funding levels. i am pleased that the congress is supporting the continuation of our efforts to recapitalize the coast guard. i'm pleased that congress this year is supporting our aviation security efforts. i want to more sharply focus on aviation security and double down on aviation security in particular. that's reflected in our budget
request. and cyber security, of course, is a big issue. so we're asking for increased levels of funding there. but overall, this request reflects the hard choices of living within the caps that we were given. >> what about traditional -- i guess would you call it old-line enforcement officials that are hired under the authorities of the creation of the homeland security act? to what extent do we need to take a fresh look at the secret service, for example? are they being overworked? do they have -- are they stressed out? do you have enough money to keep them adequately funded so their jobs that are very dangerous and very important to the security
interests of our country are satisfied? >> chairman, as you know, over the last several years, the secret service has had its challenges. and in december 2014, an independent panel of outside derz taoutsiders did take a look. they were asked about training, manpower, culture, management. they delivered some good recommendations, all of which or almost all of which were following -- i've told the director of the secret service to implement. i would say the biggest challenge is the one that you mentioned, which is manpower. and the opportunity to train. and so congress has supported that effort with adequate levels of funding. and it's our job to make sure that hiring outpaces retirement
and attrition. and that's something director clancy has been very focused on. we do need to be sure that the secret service is adequately funded. we are in a presidential election year right now where four candidates are supported by the secret service. and at the end of the year, we're going to have another former president to take care of. so staffing manpower is very important. whenever i get together with director clancy, that's topic of conversation number one. and i'm pleased that in this request and in this fiscal year's budget, the secret service -- the congress has come through and supported the secret service in its efforts. it's our job to make sure that we invest and spend up to those levels. that's what i want to be sure director clancy is doing. >> thank you. we appreciate your service. all of those who work at the
department. there's no more important activity in my view that we face at the federal level. budgeting, trying to appropriate the dollars where there is need the most to accomplish the very important responsibilities, activities of your service. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> senator murkowski. >> thank you. welcome. as i mentioned, i would like to speak about where we are with the coast guard budget and more specifically to that point, ice breakers and the arctic. i think we recognize that as an arctic nation, we have certain responsibilities, obligations and ice breakers are up there. when you have 1 1/2 and one is in the antarctic almost full-time, it really is an imperative -- i'm very pleased
that the administration has acknowledged that in this year's budget. we have been working with you on this for a while. and so making sure that we have that support for not only moving towards an ice breaker but acceleration of bringing that ice breaker online as the president has outlined is critically important. you also know that have i been a staunch defender of the coast guard at all levels and in making sure that they have the assets that they need to do the job. so i want assurances from you, mr. secretary, that we do have adequate funding in this year's budget to ensure the president's deadline of awarding construction of this new ice breaker by 2020 while at the same time we're on track with keeping the national security cutter, the off-shore patrol cutters and the fast response cutters acquisition programs on time and on budget.
because what i would hate to see is that we're sacrificing one at the expense of another. we need both. the recapitalization effort that you have spoken to is critically important for our country. if you can speak to that. >> the answer is yes. >> good. >> with respect to the current year and the request for the next year. i am very pleased that in our request there is $150 million for the design of the new ice breaker. as you know, because of the increasing commercialization in the arctic and for national security reasons, we need a second heavy ice breaker beyond the polar star. we have the polar sea, which is not operational. we need a second heavy ice breaker in addition to the lighter ones we already have. alongside of that, we are still continuing with the recapitalization of the frcs, building more frcs. in this budget request, there's a request for four.
we're moving forward with the off-shore patrol cutter. i expect that we will make a selection for the contractor sometime this year. for the opc, there is i believe $100 million to continue with that program. and as you know, this year we are tasked and given funding to build a ninth national security cutter. so all three of those programs continue and are moving forward. i think that is a good thing. and we have the money for the ice breaker. some people are concerned that we might be moving too fast. but our goal -- >> they haven't talked to me. >> they haven't talked to you. that was what i was met with at this morning's house appropriations meeting. we believe that we can stay on track and we should stay on track with respect to the $150 million this year. so that we can begin production by 2020. >> well, i appreciate that response and know that you have
got an ally in me in terms of how we can ensure people understand the imperative of building this out and doing it quickly. we recognize that it is expensive. but we also recognize that it's the coast guard's study but there be three polar ice breakers and three smaller ice breakers. so making sure we have a trajectory going forward on that is going to be an issue for us as well. i want to switch now to national security cutter and the program you mentioned. the approval to build out the ninth nsc, which for us from an arctic perspective is absolutely key. we have seen national security cutters every season in the summer up in the arctic as we are seeing different traffic, different folks poking around up there that you probably wouldn't anticipate and knowing that we have the capabilities of these
nscs up there is very critical. the question for you this afternoon is home porting of this ninth national security cutter. or even another nsc that's currently slated for elsewhere. i think we need to be looking to a home port that is closer to the arctic. right now the closest is california. it's a long haul from california to get up into the arctic, into the areas in the gulf and the bering sea. recognizing what is happening in the arctic and coast guard's need for expanded presence, can you comment on the pros speths f prospects for a national security cutter to be stationed in alaska? >> as you know, i'm sure, n
senator, we have a process for de determining home ports. we're a ways off from the completion of the ninth cutter. it would be premature for me at this stage to comment on whether or not it should be ported in the arctic region. i certainly understand the concern. and i certainly understand that california is a long way away from the arctic region. >> but you, too, recognize that coast guard's role -- their commission truly has expanded dramatically as we are seeing greater activity within the arctic region. it's like discovering a new ocean. and the coast guard is charged with responsibility over that new ocean. so how we make sure that we can stage these critical assets in places where they can be most effective, most impactful is important. so i understand there's a process. but i would also encourage you within the department to look
critically at the benefits of home porting closer to where that activity is going to be. with that, mr. chairman, thank you for the extra time. >> thank you, senator. senator caddie. >> secretary, a couple things. first, just purely -- i have folks i met with yesterday that are trying to set up with the folks atrophy fema. can my staff touch because with your staff to help arrange that meeting? they have been frustrated in doing so. just trying to be -- >> yes, sir. >> thank you. appreciate that. secondly, to the point, your budget zeros out the cyber security education program. every year our committee puts it back in. it seems like we have the about thor argument, because in your testimony and elsewhere you mention the need to have better cyber security, which therefore,
of course, suggests that we need a better trained work force. and i happen to know that there is one that is making an attempt to diversify the children who are -- the kids -- a 20-year-old is a kid is -- are involved in such programs. so just trying to get a sense of why you all don't have the same prioritization for cyber education as we. >> senator, i do agree that cyber education is important. that is reflected in the national action plan for cyber security that the president announced two weeks ago. i would certainly prefer that we have more money for cyber education. but again, we have to live within the budget caps that have been agreed to between the congress and the president.
but i'm agreeing with you in princip principle. i have been to some great cyber education institutions, you mentioned the tsa and airport security. i fly out of the new orleans, big tourist city and there can be long lines. i'm imagining we are expecting longer lines so a receiver res of questions to extra degree can y'all expand the use of the prechecked or trusted traveler program, number one. number two, i signed up my daughter that flies with me and i put her in trusted traveler and she ends up not getting
that -- >> trusted traveler or tsa? >> she's in trusted traveller. did i have a fundamental misunderstanding whether that would get her in the precheck line? >> i think it's better to sign up for tsa precheck per se. i think that -- i'm not real sure. i can get back to you on that. >> please, please. on a personal level i know it's a great program but not many people do because when i go through new orleans, i'm in the line but 100 people who are not. is there a way we can expand that and i have one other question after that, just to kind of get your thoughts there. >> well, first of all, we are expanding it in the sense that last year 1.5 million new people signed up for tsa precheck compared to 579,000 the year before. the more people sign up for tsa precheck, the more they have the occasion to get on the line. to be quite honest with you, the
ad minuadministration of tsa an are making a renewed effort at aviation security that meant longer wait times at airports for those in the longer lines due to the renewed push on security and because of the travel volume. there are more people traveling right now. and less managed inclusion. what that means is we're no longer pulling people at airports out of the longer line and putting them in the shorter line that is the tsa precheck line. we're doing less of that because we want to put more people through the more focused aviation security efforts. the ig's report that was unfortunately leaked last summer was a bit of a wakeup call for tsa and i made sure. so the new administrator with my support is very focused on
aviation security. >> then let me go to my last question, which is i'll be in line at dca or new orleans and mainly dca and they have somebody comes out with a little pad and randomly wipes the hand of somebody, there is 100 people waiting and randomly wipes the hand. there is no way that this is risk-based screening. it is entirely random. now i have to know once i put a question to tsa, didn't get an answer. i'd like to know how many of the kind of random screenings actually results in someone with an intent to bring an explosive on board getting caught. i'm guessing it's about zero and another time i was at dca about to board the plane beyond the security check point. someone came up and pulled somebody aside, randomly, she looked more like a grandmother than she looked like anything else and kind of goes through
her stuff and i'm thinking if we're having a hard time with number of employees and want to expand the work force, it seems better to focus it on a risk-based program as opposed to let's expand this random 200 people waiting, let's grab three of them and now four because we've expanded it. i'd like to know whether or not you've ever caught anybody with that, and secondly, why don't we become more risk-based as opposed to winning the lottery, if you will, but occasionally getting the one person. >> well, very definitely, part of aviation security is random screening. randomization. that is inherent in aviation security but there are also aspects of aviation security that do focus on individuals based on behavioral observation and based on things about the nature of where they are going, where they have been, whether they fit a certain profile or
not, but very definitely, part of it is random. >> i'd love to see a frequency distribution to the degree the random checks have actually nabbed somebody who would not otherwise have been nabbed. for me, it seems almost kind of, again, here is lady 80 years old, say 65 years old the last woman i saw there looking like a tourist, excuse me, ma'am, we got to wipe your hands and -- >> first of all, i'd be happy to have the tsa leadership come by and talk to you more in detail about this. random screening searches two purposes. one, you may catch somebody doing something and also, it serves as a deterrent but i will be happy to send the tsa leadership to meet with you for a greater in-depth conversation about this. >> thank you. i yield back. >> the randomization really is a deterrent, isn't it, the reason
you do it is as a deterrent. i suppose once in awhile you get somebody but primary i think it is a deterrent is is my understanding. one thing senator brought is use of k-9s, which i think is effective. what is the status in terms of using k-9s? >> we are using more k-9s, both with respect to passenger screening and with respect to cargo screening at and around the airplanes before they take off. that is something that we have begun, that we stepped up in vent months. in some respects, there is no better technology as a k-9. >> strikes me as effective deterrent because the dogs can walk around, pass people in line, coming in line, that are, you know, even just moving around the airport. it seems to me -- people notice
it. the dogs' capabilities are remarkable and i think it's a very effective detouour rant an encourage further use. i'd like to ask you about filling your personal vacancies, you know, in a number of areas, customs and border protection, secret service, a number of these areas you not only have attrition issues but you're just not able to hire enough people to fill, you know, the number of slots that you have requested and you feel you need. so what steps are you taking, how is that coming in terms of filling some of these areas? >> let me begin with cyber. as you know, there is a lot of competition for good cyber talent. i'm competing with other agencies and the private sector. i appreciate in cyber legislation passed in 2014 congress gave us greater ability
to hire cyber talent and so i've charged nppd with ensuring that we do that and i keep after them to make sure that we're doing that. >> are they telling you they have a reasonable pay of benefits package they can attract the talent they need? do they feel that's an issue or feel they have a package that works? >> kind of all of the above. i mean, it is tough to hire good cyber talent without a doubt but we have additional hiring authorities and we are hiring at a pretty rapid rate but there are vacancies that we can fill now that we have additional vacancies to fill. so it's an effort where we continually push our people to work at this. with regard to the border patrol and some of our other law enforcement componeponentcompona
problem with getting people vetted fast enough, passing polygraphs and so part so there has been an issue with hiring up to our authorities when it comes to the border patrol force. i think we are now at 21,070 which is about where the leadership believes that it needs to be but that was with a lot of effort to get there. >> so -- >> secret service, i talked about earlier. >> yeah, but there it's an attrition issue, i think, as much as anything and the other thing is length of hiring, i think you've got about a 500-day average in terms of filling some of these backlog areas. so do you feel that changes you've been able to make will address it satisfactionly? do you have the flexibility and have what you need to make the changes you want to make? >> the honest answer to your question, senator, with the help of congress, we have been able to make some changes to -- that
are positive in this area but it's a work in progress and it's a challenge and i keep after my component leadership to make sure that we do as much as we can there. >> border patrol, do you have what you need with people and technology, what else would be helpful in terms of people ex technologies as far as border patrol? >> in terms of border patrol agents, we are in the view of our border patrol leadership at about where we need to be. 21,070. in terms of technology, we could always use more investments in surveillance technology. i think that's reflected in our budget request mobile surveillance in particular. >> in the budget, how -- do you feel you have adequate funding for your surveillance technology? i've been down there and seen it and i think it's effective and i agree, there should be more -- >> times of ceiling we have to work with, my answer is yes.
>> do you have enough flexibility between budget lines, as far as personnel such if you hire personnel faster in one area and you're not able to get them in another area, do you have enough ability to move funds or is that an issue for you? >> probably i'm going to say probably not. >> you got it right. >> my cfo says i have it right. probably not. >> okay. that's my sense, too. well, secret service i guess we covered pretty well. what about the white house fence? remember, we started down the trail of replacing the white house fence and now i don't see that you have that request here to finish out replacing the white house fence. >> yes, we put in the temporary fence a couple of months ago, which i believe has detoured fence jumping.
there was once incident that occurred after that that i know about. and longer term we need to make the investment in a higher better fence but the fence served as a deterrent for the short term. >> thank you. my opening statement i talked about the challenges we're facing in new hampshire and so many other states with respect to the heroin and opiate epidemic. we're losing three times as many people as traffic accidents in new hampshire and last spring senator hoven and i had an opportunity to go to the southern border and meet with customs and border patrol in laredo and watch some of the dogs in action as they were trying to find drugs being smuggled across the border and i
remember very vividly the conversation with cbp where they talked about drugs coming across the southern border and going up the interstates, up 95 which is how they get to new hampshire and up 35 across the middle of the country. and obviously, we've got to confront this crisis on many fronts, but one piece of it is the addiction of drugs and challenges that cpb and coast guard are facing as they look at how to keep those drugs from coming across the border. so can you talk first about whether there are other things you just mention that you think were about right in terms of cbp guards, can you talk about what additional role they might be able to play in interdiction and whether the budget is there to support the role. >> there is a role for homeland
security enve security investigations. >> absolutely. >> and it's part of a task force with doj, components of doj to deal with the heroin epidemic in new hampshire and elsewhere. we have had considerable success at the border with it but there is the interior effort, as well. we stepped up interior enforcement efforts with hsi and as you know, the coast guard does a terrific job at sea. one of our national security cutters you may know, the stratton went out on a four-month mission across the coast and in four months itself seized over 1 billion in narcotics including two cartel submarines. i didn't know cartels had submarines until last year. but the heroin epidemic is very
real and it is become an enter agency coordinated task force mission. >> and so when you say it's become an inner agency mission, can you talk a little bit about what that means, how are you working with agencies within homeland security and with other parts of government and justice working on this issue. >> i know hsi has been involved in this effort with dea, fbi and that has been a relatively recent phenomenon -- >> that would be great. another issue i've won working on, you and secretary kerry
received letter from the ranking member about the special immigrant visa program and recent authorization bill for this year and i would hope that you would consult with state on this issue. i had a chance to raise this concern are secretary kerry yesterday at the foreign relations committee and he was very responsive to the idea that perhaps they needed to take another look at the interpretation because certainly, for those of us that worked on that defense authorization bill, our understanding of what that language meant was different than what state and dhs have interpreted. can you tell me whether you're willing to take another look at that and whether you've been consulting with state in doing that? >> i have read your letter.
i thought it was a good letter. hats off to whoever wrote it. i thought it made good points i. was a legal question which we're having lawyers look at for myself. i do believe that an expression of congressional intent from congress directly on a point is very relevant. so we have the letter and we're looking at the question. >> thank you. i appreciate that. as we know, attorneys can interpret the law in different ways and congressional intent is very important so i appreciate that. thank you. >> senator cochran? >> mr. chairman, my wide awake staff decided i need to ask one more question. [ laughter ] >> mr. secretary, as your department continues to analyze the potential applications and
performance of using unmanned arial systems in its operations, would you provide this subcommittee with an inventory of existing unmanned marry time systems and sensors that you are researching? >> yes, sir. we will. >> thank you. >> pretty good. >> how about that? >> just like that. >> got cracker jack -- >> right to it. >> could you also provide us with that for not only marry time but on the boarder use of u.s. as well? >> yes. >> and you will share that with the committee, assume. >> yeah, for the committee. >> okay. >> on children, 2015 we saw a reduction versus -- i'm talking about fiscal year. fiscal year '15, we saw a reduction versus '14 but '15 the
numbers are coming back up so if you would talk about what you're doing to stem that flow. >> yes, senator. this is a report issued daily for me with these numbers, these migrant numbers on the southwest border. it's one of the first things i look at when i come to work in the morning along with my daily intelligence and as you noted in fiscal '15, we were down around 331,000, which is the second lowest apprehension number since 1972, '14 was 479 and 15 was 331 in the fall we saw numbers rise again and they were reaching by december, levels that looked
like they were approaching the summer spike we had in 2014. so january 4th i issued a statement laying out our comprehensive plan for dealing with it which included for more included enforcement directed at those part of families who have been ordered removed by an immigration court. their appeal time had run and they had no pending asylum cl m claim. it is not limited to one weekend. it has continued. since the beginning of the year the numbers have gone down reflected on this chart right here. the blue line is up to date and the spike is the end of last
year. the numbers now in jan and february are down around where they were this time last year. january and february of this year look a lot like january, february of last year but we are concerned about the traditional seasonal increase that occurs. i think a big part of this and a big part of border security is our enforcement priorities and those apprehend the at the border are priority one for enforcement, along with the others in that category. we have to mean what we say when we say we'll send you back if you come illegally. that includes people who are part of families and that includes unaccompanied children
consistent with our laws. so that's where we are. >> do you -- i don't suppose you have february results yet. it does appear the actions you took made a significant difference from december to january and a continuation of the activity would be important. i'm wondering if you have data that indicates in february -- >> february has increased slightly from about -- from january on the last projection i saw for the month of february has us at about 24,000 apprehensions for the month which is considerably lower than december and it's about what january looked like. i don't know whether the enforcement actions are cause and effect but the numbers are in fact lower for apprehensions for the border patrol. >> are you continuing to develop met tricks and also release
those including some of the met tricks on ice? i know we provided additional funding in the 16 appropriation to i.c.e. for data reporting. can you kind of give us an update in terms of reporting on odd data from i.c.e. and other entities. >> senators, you and i discussed i believe we need to have better, clearer met trirics for measuring border security. when i came to this department in 2013 the border patrol has a method for measuring total attempts to cross the border illegally but sophisticated. we have a firm we are working with developing more sophisticated ways for measuring total attempts to cross the
border, more sophisticated ways for measuring how we are doing in terms of border security sector by sector and this is a project that i want to complete before i leave office 11 moments from now. >> i guess i'm over my time. i better turn to senator sheen. >> thank you. i would -- i have one additional area of questioning and that has to do with the disaster mitigation efforts as i'm sure you're aware last year administration had additional funding for mitigation grants and i was surprised to see the dramatic reduction in the request for those programs and this is an area that really does pay big dividends with the
increased natural disasters we're seeing this is one way to reduce the costs and we can encourage state and local efforts in the mitigation area if they think at the federal level we'll be partners on doing this. as you said, i was surprised to see that those programs are reduced pretty significantly in this budget and i wonder if you can talk to the rational on that. this is one that seems to me that pays big dividends at the other end in terms of cost savings and how do we avoid the culture avoiding disasters and mitigate for disasters as opposed to waiting for things to happen and responding. >> well, cfo can correct me but
i believe that what we asked for is essentially the same as what we received for this year, is that correct? excuse me, sorry. you're correct. this year we prioritized flood mapping over the predisaster assistance because it was something we thought we needed to do within the confines of what we had to work with that is how we saw the priorities for this constrained year, flood happening, which is something that members of congress have talked to me a lot about. >> and certainly i agree that's an area we need to support.
are there other agencies within the federal government where you see the ability to partner in ways that encourage a continuation of mitigation efforts and try to support prevention as opposed to waiting for disasters? >> yes. i would -- i don't want to speculate but i think the short answer to your question is yes. i i can imagine other agencies that should be supporting and contributing to the effort. >> are there efforts under way to explore those partnerships? dot is one that comes to mind, obviously, but other areas that work on infrastructure, we should think how we work together to get the best bang for the buck. >> if they are not, there probably should be. so that's my best answer.
>> okay. thank you. thank you mr. chairman. >> just a couple to finish up. i've been patient with my time. senator cochran exit system. why is it taking as long to develop and implement and could we do a by graphic is the problem but an exit tracking system very important to get a handle on visa over stays. could be we've been down there. you can comment on both, i guess. >> senator, the visa over stay report that we just issued is based on buy graphic exit. somebody is not counted as a visa exit unless we chart it --
>> that's primarily for travelers. that doesn't go to students and others. >> non-immigrant b 1, b 2 visas. at this point it would be difficult -- at this point it would be very difficult to track student visa over stays because the amount of the permitted stay is often difficult to know as opposed to a hard and fast date. with regard to bio metric, why is it taking so long? this year we received money tenure money from congress and fee increases to pay for bio metric exit. i told my folks is that we want to begin implementing this as soon as 2018 at airports,
biometric exit. >> do you have a realistic or what you think is realistic timeline to roll this out at this time or are you still developing that? should we look for 2018 that would be -- >> i told my folks, we have pilot programs right now for biometric exit. i want to see this begin in the implantation at airports by 2018. so if i believe that my folks take me seriously when i tell them to do things and i do, sometimes i have to ask two or three times, i believe that the deadline will be met. [ laughter ] >> last question i have relates to cyber -- >> they met all my deadlines when it coals to cybersecurity, so. >> well, and that's where i want to furnish up is on the cyber piece and there is -- we talked about a number of different things but where i want to go is
with technology. einstein and some technology systems you have, are you able to develop what you need? this is a dynamic fast-moving area. the technology advances every single day and you're facing a new threat every single day. so do you feel that you have -- and obviously, there is a major commitment but talk about the technology including the issue of, you know, getting into phones and so forth or getting help, the help you need from the private sector whether it's getting into an encrypted phone or something else. >> well, let me focus first on the einstein system. one, two and three. and there are always skeptics that say whether it's cybersecurity system or a fighter jet. there is always people that say
i can build it bigger and better and we don't have the best. a conversation that i had with the cybersecurity experts tell me that einstein remains a good investment because of the unique capability to rely upon classified information for detecting and blocking cyber intrusions and more importantly, because it is a platform for future technology. einstein, the einstein 3 a system which we will have in place for the entire federal.gov world can block known bad actors, known bad signatures. it is also a platform for technology to block suspected bad actors in the future. and so once that system is in place, it will serve as a platform for the future
technology i think we need to have to block the suspected bad act actor. i believe that we should and we can stay the course with our current investments but we need to build on that and when the time is right, add to it, replace improve it but have the ability to do so and we can with the einstein system, the federal piece of the federal cybersecurity efforts. the cybersecurity bill that passed last year, i think is a terrific bill. i'm very pleased with the bipartisan support we got from congress on a very complex issue which gives us additional authorities and gives us the private sector the immunitieimm. that was a really, really big
thing for a long time we heard from the private sector they had to have before they would share with us. we have that in place. so i think we're moving in the right direction and i think that by the time this administration leaves office and i leave office, we will have made tangible improvements in cybersecurity. >> that leads right to the issue of getting assistance from the private sector apple, encrypted phones and so forth. give us your take on how to -- that should be approached and -- >> i think -- >> what can and can't be done. >> i think we need to be in a different place in response to the demands of the marketplace, a lot of tech companies have driven deeper and deeper toward encryption and that hampered to protect plots and crime and not just talking about federal
crime. any state crime that involves a communication, i hear this from the district attorney of new york county for example. cyrus vance is encryption issue. it's gone pretty far in one direction. we need to move it back a little bit to account for law enforcement and national security needs. exactly how we accomplish that with the tech sector is a harder longer conversation to have. this latest issue in california i fully support the government's position. i've read the briefs. i understand the need and i'm fully supportive of the government's position there. i know from talking to the fbi director that in a number of instances federal law enforcement gets good cooperation from a lot of companies in that sector on a
case pi case bby case basis thi we didn't agree. i think there needs to be a larger national conversation to address this issue as i don't like where we are right now. >> is there anything else that you want to bring up that we haven't asked you in the course of this hearing regarding your budget? >> i'm sure that this committee appreciates the fundamentally different place we are in right now in terms of the global terrorist threat. it's more complicated. it involves smaller scale attacks by terrorists-inspired actors here in the homeland. people ask me what keeps you up at night. one of the things that keeps me up at night is that we can have another attack in a community like chattanooga, tennessee or san bernardino at a moment's
notice by somebody not previously on our radar. that's why our efforts are so important. we're in a fund mentally different place now and just on my watch in national security since 2009 i've seen that evolution from taking the fight to aqab and al sha bob and dealing with a very different type of threat that includes people who live among us. that requires a whole government effort and that requires where it counts. we build the right bridges. and that requires supporting local law enforcement and their efforts, too. so -- >> again, thank you mr. secretary for being here and to you and your people for all the hard work they do in this very important area. this will conclude our hearing today. the hearing record will remain open for two weeks from today,
for president because, you know, we have some insure mountable changes we need to have happen and hillary wants to chip paint off a wall and bernie wants to bring down the wall and that's what we need with the international things going on. hillary will drag us into more wars and that's kind of it. feel the burn. ♪ ♪ our root to the white house coverage from tsouth carolina live at 7:45 p.m. eastern on c-span 2 and c-span.org with results speeches and your action starting 7:30 p.m. east were on c-sp c-span.
the army's chief of staff, patrick murphy the army acting secretary noted while the base request of $125.1 billion is less than the fiscal year 2016 budget, the army will work with it. this is 90 minutes. good morning, we appreciate very much the attendance of our witnesses and committee members. the purpose of our hearing today and the appropriations committee is to review the budget request for the department