Procuring Protection

Jan 23, 2008Jan 24, 2008

Event Video


Session One: Wednesday, January 23rd 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM
The Costs and Benefits of Homeland Security: A Panel Discussion


Mr. Clark Ervin
Former Inspector General
Department of Homeland Security

Dr. John Mueller
Professor of Political Science
Ohio State University

">Veronique De Rugy
Senior Research Fellow
Mercatus Center

Dr. Cindy Williams
Principle Research Scientist
Security Studies Program, MIT

Session Two: Thursday, January 24th 12:00 PM- 1:30 PM
Necessity or Influence: What Determines Homeland Security Priorities?

">Veronique De Rugy
Senior Research Fellow
Mercatus Center

Since September 11th, Congress has appropriated nearly $350.5 billion to protect the United States from terrorism. The homeland security budget is more than $60 billion for 2008. This represents an increase of 264% since 2001, and will cost each household about $590 this year. With more than 200,000 employees and a budget of almost $50 billion, the Department of Homeland Security receives more resources than many other government agencies. In exchange for these resources, American's expect protection from terrorist attacks and other threats and hazards to the nation.

Unfortunately, over the years many critics have claimed that the large increase in spending has occurred without risk and cost benefit analysis, leading to a large amount of wasteful spending. For instance, a significant amount of spending is directed to addressing risks that are possibly obsolete, or fighting yesterday's battle, which is likely not the most efficient use of limited federal resources.  

In order to help policy makers examine this important topic, the Mercatus Center at George Mason University will host a two day seminar examining the costs and benefits of defending our homeland. Participants will be able to engage Mercatus faculty as we seek to answer the following questions:

  • Looking at the economic costs and benefits of its decisions, has homeland security been successful so far?
  • Is $61.4 billion enough to protect United States citizens? Is it too much?
  • Is this large sum of money being properly allocated to where it provides the most benefit protecting US citizens?
  • Does Congress have its priorities straight when it comes to protecting us?