WASHINGTON, Feb. 4 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey today announced that the President's fiscal year 2009 budget proposal for the Department of Justice is $22.7 billion. The FY 2009 budget request includes a 6 percent increase over the FY 2008 enacted budget for the Department's law enforcement and prosecution programs, including $492.7 million to improve the Department's counterterrorism and intelligence capabilities. "The Department of Justice's mission is multi-faceted: It ranges from investigating and prosecuting terrorists, online predators and drug kingpins, to fighting corporate fraud, to protecting the government's interest in a wide range of litigation," said Attorney General Mukasey. "The fiscal year 2009 budget supports our mission and includes targeted enhancements to ensure the nation's security and to bolster our law enforcement efforts along the Southwest Border." Since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the Department has significantly strengthened its efforts to enhance our national security and protect our homeland, and the FY 2009 budget reflects those priorities. Key priorities and requested FY 2009 program increases are as follows: -- Protecting the American People by Preventing Terrorist Acts: $492.7 million -- Fighting Criminal Activity on the U.S. Southwest Border $100.0 million -- Supporting Essential Federal Detention and Incarceration Programs $67.1 million In addition, the FY 2009 budget includes a total program level of over $1 billion for state and local law enforcement assistance. PROTECTING THE AMERICAN PEOPLE BY PREVENTING TERRORIST ACTS The Department's top priority remains the prevention, investigation, and prosecution of terrorist activities against U.S. citizens and interests. The FY 2009 President's Budget requests $492.7 million in investments to improve the nation's counterterrorism investigative capabilities to identify, track, and dismantle terrorist cells operating in the United States and overseas, and to fortify the nation's intelligence analysis capabilities. The FY 2009 President's Budget bolsters the national security functions of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) with $7.1 billion in total resources, including $447.4 million in investments that will support FBI's intelligence and counterterrorism programs, improve surveillance capabilities, bolster weapons of mass destruction response, and protect the security of the nation's cyber systems. In addition, this budget provides $84 million in total resources for the National Security Division, which will strengthen its ability to support intelligence operations to combat terrorism and other threats to national security. The following summarizes the key program changes, for preventing and combating terrorism and improving intelligence: Federal Bureau of Investigation -- Operations: $235.5 million to identify and analyze national security and criminal threats and to develop and execute operational strategies, including resources for national security investigations; enhancement of the weapons of mass destruction, cyber and Render Safe missions; computer intrusion investigative support; and foreign intelligence collection and operations. -- Surveillance: $88.5 million to support a surveillance technology capability to meet operational requirements, including resources for physical and electronic surveillance and collection processing exploitation, analysis, and reporting. -- Infrastructure: $28.4 million to ensure a safe and appropriate work environment and updated technology, including resources for central records management, field facility infrastructure, and IT disaster recovery. -- Leveraging Technology: $36.1 million to enable an enhanced capability for providing services to FBI's partners, including resources for analytical support and applied technologies in DNA, communication capabilities and forensic analysis. -- Partnerships: $5.7 million to promote an established and productive network of partnerships at all levels, including resources for the expansion of the Legal Attache and Fusion Center programs. -- Workforce: $43.4 million to provide a professional workforce that possesses the critical skills, competencies, and training required to perform the FBI's mission, including resources for security and background adjudications, and human intelligence (HUMINT) and other training initiatives. Further, resources are redirected to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence for the centralized oversight and execution of the Intelligence Community's Worklife Program. -- Academy Construction: $9.8 million in support of the FBI Academy, including construction contract management services and architectural-engineering services for upcoming projects and a new substation to handle increased electrical power loads. Integrated Wireless Network -- Integrated Wireless Network: $43.9 million for law enforcement wireless communications, which is vital to national security and to the life and safety of our law enforcement officers. The 9/11 Commission identified the inability of first responders to communicate with each other and recommended that this issue be addressed. These resources will employ a multi-pronged approach to providing tactical wireless communications capabilities for law enforcement personnel across the country. This approach provides for: $19.0 million to replace outdated legacy equipment with narrowband compliant technology for the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS), and the Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives (ATF); and $24.9 million to implement the Integrated Wireless Network (IWN) in the Washington, D.C. area. The Department intends to implement IWN on a nationwide basis over a multi-year time frame. Office of the Inspector General (OIG) -- Oversight: $1.2 million to enable the OIG to assist the Department in ensuring that its counterterrorism funds are used effectively. With these resources, the OIG will continue to examine issues such as the FBI's use of national security letters and USA Patriot Act Section 215 orders to obtain business records and its progress in hiring, training, and retaining intelligence analysts. FIGHTING CRIMINAL ACTIVITY ON THE U.S. SOUTHWEST BORDER The Southwest Border is the principal arrival zone for most illicit drugs smuggled into the United States, as well as the predominant staging area for the subsequent distribution of drugs throughout the country. The Southwest Border also poses significant challenges for enforcing the nation's laws against illegal immigration, including human smuggling. In addition, the threat of terrorism looms large wherever criminals regularly exploit gaps in homeland security. Given the magnitude of the threat, it is imperative that the Department add resources to better disrupt the organizations responsible for the movement of illicit drugs, proceeds, and weapons across the Southwest Border and to bring their leaders to justice. To address this ever-growing threat, the Department proposes $100.0 million in new resources to create the Southwest Border Enforcement Initiative to strategically focus the Department's law enforcement and prosecutorial efforts on the U.S. Southwest Border to combat violent crime, gun smuggling, illicit drug trafficking, and illegal immigration. Specific increases include: Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) -- Firearms Industry Regulation: $948,000 to enhance ATF's ability to inspect and investigate the firearms industry to strengthen oversight in the region and implement a focused inspection program to identify purchasers, traffickers and non-compliant licensees that may be sources of illegally trafficked firearms used by violent criminals. Criminal Division -- Reducing Gang Violence: $289,000 to work in tandem with the DOJ Gang Targeting, Enforcement, and Coordination Center's enforcement efforts to combat ever-increasing gang threats facing the nation along the Southwest Border. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) -- Foreign-deployed Advisory and Support Team (FAST) Expansion: $7.0 million to establish two additional teams to assist DEA's host nation counterparts in Central America, South America, and the Caribbean, where drugs flowing to the United States are produced or transited. These teams will provide the expertise, equipment, and personnel to augment DEA country offices targeting the most significant violators, Priority Organization Targets and Consolidated Priority Organization Targets (CPOTs). -- Strategic Drug Flow Enforcement Operations: $2.0 million to conduct an additional Operational All Inclusive (OAI) deployment each year in the western hemisphere. OAI is DEA's primary large-scale and successful Drug Flow Attack enforcement operation in the source, transit, and arrival zones. This operational funding provides for travel, aviation support, intelligence collection, and host nation support. -- Tactical Aircraft Section: $8.9 million to purchase, operate, and maintain one new Bell 412 twin-engine helicopter to support interdiction operations in the transit zone, including FAST deployments, and address air, maritime, and land drug trafficking threats. -- Southwest Border Staffing: $2.6 million and 16 positions to prevent the flow of drugs across the Southwest Border. Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) -- Information Technology: $10 million for EOIR, including $8.3 million for a Digital Audio Recording System to be provided to immigration courts nationwide to improve the audio quality in the immigration courts; and $1.7 million for the Immigration Review Information Exchange System, through which EOIR will share mission-critical information with other federal agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security and the DOJ's Civil Division. Interagency Crime and Drug Enforcement (ICDE) -- Vehicle Identification Initiative: $2.8 million to support communications costs associated with the Vehicle Identification Initiative, an effort to gather valuable law enforcement intelligence regarding Mexico-based Consolidated Priority Organization Targets and affiliated "Gatekeeper" organizations involved in bulk cash smuggling. Also included is $500,000 to provide sufficient IT infrastructure for the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) Fusion Center to process and develop the data collected. -- Fugitive Apprehension Initiative: $1.7 million and six Deputy U.S. Marshals to increase USMS's capability to apprehend OCDETF fugitives both domestically and in foreign countries, particularly those fugitives linked to South America and Mexico-based drug trafficking organizations. -- Drug Prosecution: $5.1 million to support prosecution activities against significant drug trafficking organizations and money laundering organizations responsible for transporting, importing, manufacturing or distributing drugs and smuggling illicit proceeds across the U.S./Mexico Border. Office of the Federal Detention Trustee (OFDT) -- Detainee Housing and Transportation: $37.6 million to accommodate an anticipated increase in the number of detainees housed in non-federal facilities. These resources will be utilized to fund the costs associated with prisoner detention, care and transportation of detainees along the Southwest Border. U.S. Attorneys -- Southwest Border Prosecution: $8.4 million and 83 positions (50 attorneys) to support additional prosecutorial efforts along the Southwest Border. Additional Assistant U.S. Attorneys and paralegals are needed to respond to cross-border criminal activities and the increases in immigration cases resulting from the substantial increases in Border Patrol agents and the U.S. Government's overall effort to gain operational control of the border. U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) -- Prisoner Security and Transportation: $12.7 million and 73 positions (52 Deputy U.S. Marshals) to manage the increasing workload along the Southwest Border. As the number of illegal immigrants entering America has risen, the USMS has experienced substantial prisoner and fugitive workload growth along the Southwest Border. This funding will allow the USMS to meet its responsibilities for protecting and securing federal detainees before, during, and after their judicial proceedings. SUPPORTING ESSENTIAL FEDERAL DETENTION AND INCARCERATION PROGRAMS As a result of successful law enforcement policies targeting terrorism, violent crime, and drug crimes, the number of criminal suspects appearing in federal court continues to grow as does the number of individuals ordered detained and ultimately incarcerated. The FY 2009 President's Budget request provides significant resources needed to increase capacity for the detention and incarceration of those accused or convicted of violent crimes. During FY 2007, the nation's federal prison population rose approximately 4 percent to 200,020, and it is projected to exceed over 213,000 by the end of FY 2009. The request provides $67.1 million in additional resources for the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) to manage this growth, including funds for additional contract beds. The FY 2009 request addresses BOP's responsibility to protect society by confining offenders in the controlled environments of prisons and community-based facilities that are safe, humane, cost-efficient, and appropriately secure, and that provide work and other self-improvement opportunities to assist offenders in becoming law-abiding citizens. Specific increases include: Bureau of Prisons (BOP) -- Contract Confinement: $50 million to add prisoner space (4,000 beds) in contract facilities to house low-security inmates for six months in FY 2009. Using contract beds for the confinement of low-security inmates provides a flexible approach to manage this population. -- Institution Population Adjustment: $17.1 million for costs of the increasing inmate population above the number of newly activating beds. Resources will enable the BOP to meet the marginal costs of providing security, food, medical care, clothing, utilities, unit management, education, records and maintenance associated with the population increase. STATE AND LOCAL ASSISTANCE The Department's portion of the President's FY 2009 budget contains over $1 billion in discretionary grant assistance to state, local and tribal governments. The budget request also eliminates all earmarks from state and local grant programs; the FY 2008 Department of Justice appropriations act included over 1,500 earmarks totaling over $675 million. Included in the FY 2009 budget request is funding for the creation of four new, competitive grant programs. These programs will provide states, localities and tribes with considerable flexibility to address the most pressing problems facing communities today: violent crime, domestic violence, and crimes against children. The four grant categories and their amounts are: -- Violent Crime Reduction Partnership Initiatives: $200 million to help communities suffering from high rates of violent crime to address this problem by forming and developing effective multi-jurisdictional law enforcement partnerships between local, state, tribal and federal law enforcement agencies. -- Byrne Public Safety and Protection (Byrne) Program: $200 million to assist state, local, and tribal governments with their highest-priority concerns, such as violent and drug-related crime and presidential priorities, such as DNA backlog reduction and offender re-entry programs. -- Child Safety and Juvenile Justice Program: $185 million to consolidate existing juvenile justice and exploited children programs, and to assist state, local and tribal governments in addressing multiple child safety and juvenile justice needs: reduce incidents of child exploitation and abuse, including those facilitated by the use of computers and the Internet. -- Violence Against Women Grants Program: $280 million to consolidate all the Violence Against Women programs into one new flexible, competitive grant program, creating a new structure that can help state, local and tribal governments address multiple domestic violence needs.
SOURCE U.S. Department of Justice