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DHS Chief Hails Use of Recovery Funds to Improve Surveillance Tech

At least $2.6 billion of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds has been spent on improvements.

The Department of Homeland Security has spent at least $2.6 billion of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds to improve security, including surveillance technology, says Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano as the deadline passed for awarding ARRA funding.

In a written statement, Napolitano said, ARRA “dollars are being used to hire hundreds of first responders; rebuild fire stations, ports of entry, and bridges; and deploy thousands of critical aviation and border security technologies across the country.”

President Obama signed ARRA into law on Feb. 17, 2009, and the deadline for awarding ARRA funding was Sept. 30, 2010. Napolitano marked the deadline by highlighting the jobs, new infrastructure, and enhanced security created by the program. Under ARRA, DHS awarded nearly $1 billion for inline baggage handling systems at 25 airports, closed circuit television at 14 airports and various screening technologies for nationwide deployment, including:

  • 200 Reduced-size Explosives Detection Systems.
  • 600 Advanced Technology X-ray units.
  • 452 Advanced Imaging Technology units.
  • 500 Bottled Liquids Scanners.
  • 150 Chemical Analysis Devices.
  • 1645 Explosives Trace Detection units.

DHS also awarded almost $90 million for tactical communications equipment and infrastructure to modernize the land mobile radio communication systems in the Houlton, ME Sector along the Northern border and the El Paso, and Rio Grande Sectors along the Southwest border. That includes more than $18 million for Southwest border security technology, including 10 mobile vehicle inspection systems, 104 pursuit camera systems, 78 thermal imaging devices, and 3 aerial observation cameras.

In addition, DHS awarded $72 million in Transportation Security Grants to support capital projects, including security enhancements to high-density tunnels, stations, and bridges, and another $78 million in Transportation Security Grants to fund approximately 240 new law enforcement officers at 15 transit systems across the country.

DHS also awarded $150 million in Port Security Grants to approximately 220 recipients to protect critical port infrastructure from terrorism, enhance maritime domain awareness and risk management capabilities, and support the implementation of the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC)-a tamper-resistant biometric credential issued to workers who require unescorted access to secure areas of ports and vessels.

The department also provided nearly $100 million through the Emergency Food and Shelter Program to more than 10,450 Local Recipient Organizations across the country to immediate relief to communities impacted by unemployment.

ARRA funding totaling more than $205 million was awarded to over 100 recipients to build or modify existing fire stations to enhance response capabilities and protect communities from fire-related hazards. Those grants fund the replacement of unsafe or uninhabitable structures and expand fire protection coverage in compliance with National Fire Protection Association standards.