January 24, 2008

Procuring Protection - Necessity or Influence: What Determines Homeland Security Priorities?

Veronique de Rugy

Senior Research Fellow

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 hosts a two day seminar examining the costs and benefits of defending our homeland.