The Obama Administration yesterday requested from Congress $39.5 billion in discretionary homeland security spending for FY ‘13, $191 million or a half-percent below the level enacted for FY ’12, including funding for the Coast Guard to produce its sixth National Security Cutter (NSC) and an attempt to restore the Science and Technology Directorate to spending levels it enjoyed in FY ’11.

Including non-discretionary spending such as fees and other mandatory funding, the total budget request for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is $59 billion, down $881.7 million, or nearly 1.5 percent, from FY ’12.

The budget proposal also includes the transfer of the national biometric and biographic entry-exit monitoring program of foreign nationals, called US-VISIT, from the National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD) to Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). CBP would get $261.5 million for core US-VISIT operations and management of the biometric and biographic information storage, matching and watchlist services.

ICE would be responsible for analysis of foreigners who have overstayed their visas, in line with its mission of immigration enforcement, according to White House budget documents. The agency would receive $17.8 million for this.

DHS said that the proposed transfer of US-VISIT management coincides with an effort to better target visa overstays using biographic data, which will serve as a foundation for a renewed effort to employ biometrics to manage overstays. The department said that the Science and Technology (S&T) branch will take the lead in research and development efforts for technology that could be used for the air exit environment. The US-VISIT program office has responsibility for air exit efforts.

Under the budget proposal, the Coast Guard would receive $658 million to award a construction contract to Huntington Ingalls Industries [HII] for the service’s next Legend-class NSC. The Coast Guard plans to purchase eight of the high-endurance vessels.

Overall, including non-discretionary funding, the Coast Guard would receive $10 billion in FY ’13, down about 4 percent. The discretionary request is for $6.8 billion, down $471 million from FY ’12. The request would provide $139 million for four Fast Response Cutters (FRC), representing hulls 17 through 20, down from six funded in FY ’12. The budget documents show that funding would return to $360 million annually in FY ’14 through FY ’17.

The documents say that the service will only procure four FRCs in FY ’12 and carry-forward $95 million into FY ’13 to sustain production at four vessels. The FRC is being built by Bollinger Shipyards and will be the service’s primary search, rescue and patrolling vessel.

The total proposed acquisition budget for the Coast Guard is $1.2 billion, down about $200 million from FY ’12. The funding includes $8 million to initiate the acquisition of a new polar icebreaker and additional monies to reactivate the Polar STAR icebreaker in 2013. That Polar Star is expected to have a remaining service life of seven to 10 years.

The Coast Guard budget also includes $30 million for continued pre-acquisition design work on the medium-endurance vessel the Offshore Patrol Cutter including award of three preliminary and contract design contracts.

The budget also contains $43 million to buy one HC-144A Maritime Patrol Aircraft, which would be the 18th airframe acquired. The U.S.-based division of the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co. supplies the HC-144.

Border security technology efforts managed by CBP take a hit in the request as the Border Security Fencing, Infrastructure, and Technology (BSFIT) program seeks $327.1 million, down $63 million from the current year. Budget documents say that the funds will go toward additional purchases of Integrated Fixed Towers (IFT) to be deployed along Arizona’s border with Mexico.

CBP is expected to select a contractor this year for the IFT effort, which will include fixed towers equipped with radar and day/night cameras and related communication equipment to provide enhanced situational awareness along the southwest border for the Border Patrol. The contract is expected to be awarded by the end of FY ’12.

Of the $327 million, $189 million is for development and deployment of technologies and $138 million for operations and maintenance.

The BSFIT funding will also provide for continued investments in technologies, including low flying aircraft detection and maritime detection, for the northern border, tactical communications modernization, and operations and maintenance of fielded systems.

CBP is also requesting $117.6 million for its non-intrusive inspection systems account, which includes large X-ray imagers to scan cargo and containers and radiation portal monitors. The request is $31 million less than funded in FY ’12 and will only be used for operating and maintaining existing systems.

CBP’s Office of Air and Marine would receive $435.8 million versus $627.4 million in FY ’12.

Overall, the border agency would receive $12 billion in combined discretionary and non-discretionary funding in FY ’13, a $241.9 million or 2 percent increase from FY ’12.

The request for the Transportation Security Administration would see a 3 percent decrease from FY ’13, providing $7.6 billion in FY ’13, $196.4 million less than FY ’12. Discretionary spending for the procurement and installation funding for explosive detection systems (EDS) to screen checked baggage would decrease to $117.3 million from $222.7 million while spending on checkpoint support equipment would also suffer, plunging to $120.2 million from $204.8 million.

Despite the decline in discretionary spending on EDS equipment, TSA now has legislative approval to spend $250 million in passenger security fees toward the purchase and deployment of EDS systems. That means that it hopes to have $183.9 million for EDS equipment in FY ’13 versus $200.6 million in FY ’12.

The bulk of the checkpoint support monies, $105.8 million, would be for technologies. Specifically, the funds are being pegged for 150 Advanced Technology X-ray systems to scan carry-on bags, 50 next-generation explosives trace detectors, and 75 bottled liquid scanners.

None of the checkpoint money would be for the purchase of new Advanced Imaging Technology machines. After FY ’12, TSA will have purchased 1,250 of the body imagers. The agency says that full operating capability of the systems, once pegged at more than 2,000, could change based on the impact of risk-based security efforts, possible decreases in processing times, and the introduction of new and innovative AIT solutions.

Vetting programs, including the Secure Flight program TSA is increasingly relying on as part of its risk-based passenger screening program called PreCheck, get a boost in the budget request to $267.4 million from $200.3 million. Secure Flight would be funded at $107.1 million, up $92.4 million.

The DHS S&T budget would receive $831.5 million in FY ’13, $163.5 million more than in FY ’12 and more in line with its funding levels in previous years. Last year, House Republicans wanted to put the research branch, on life-support but they compromised with the Senate in conference on a somewhat higher funding level.

S&T would receive increases of $58.2 million for biological defense, $44.4 million for explosives detection work, $23.2 million to help the first responder community with technologies and $18.1 million for cyber security research programs.

The NPPD directorate would receive $2.5 billion in FY ’13, basically level funding, although a number of cyber security programs would receive additional money. The cyber security capability improvement program would net a $202 million gain while US-CERT operations would add $15.3 million and network security deployment nearly $117 million more.

The network security effort, called EINSTEIN, is used to protect federal civilian government networks from cyber threats. DHS is transitioning the program into a managed network security service provided by major Internet Service Providers, which will provide their own intrusion prevention services in line with requirements provided by the department.

The proposed budget also would provide $328 million for the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office, a $38 million increase. The proposal includes $22 million for the Securing the Cities initiative to provide nuclear detection equipment to major urban areas.