Fiscal ’04 Security Requests Top $121 Million

Posted April 18, 2003 at 1:38pm

House and Senate officials, as well as Congressional support agencies, are seeking at least $121 million in fiscal 2004 to maintain and improve security measures on the Capitol campus.

According to testimony from officials appearing at appropriations hearings in both chambers during the past several weeks, agencies are seeking the funds for everything from additional law-enforcement officers to an alternate computer facility.

The Architect of the Capitol is seeking $61 million to purchase the Legislative Branch Alternate Computing Facility, which it currently rents. The facility is utilized by the House and Senate, along with Congressional support agencies.

Several offices are also requesting financing for projects related to the computing facility, including the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms and House Chief Administrative Officer, which have budgeted $5.3 million and $8.5 million, respectively, for the facility.

The Library of Congress is asking for $2.8 million for operations and maintenance for the facility; the Congressional Research Service already received $1.9 million through the supplemental spending bill to install servers at the facility; and the Congressional Budget Office also plans to use appropriations for the site.

“The alternative site will provide us with the functionality to resume service to Congress in the event that the Madison Building computer facilities are no longer available,” CRS Director Daniel Mulhollan testified at a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing in early April. CRS plans to duplicate the computer servers that support its e-mail, document storage and quantitative analysis systems.

Other security spending includes a $1 million request from House Sergeant-at-Arms Wilson Livingood’s office to replace 10,000 Quick2000 Escape Hoods, which would be used in a biological or chemical attack.

Those funds account for a majority of the $1.4 million increase — for a total of $6.5 million — sought by Livingood for fiscal 2004.

The Sergeant-at-Arms will also finance training in chemical and biological crisis management, emergency evacuation and management, and counterterrorism and threat reduction measures.

Across the Capitol, Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Bill Pickle is requesting $21 million for security measures, an increase of 39.5 percent, or $6 million, from the current fiscal year.

Those funds include financing for the computing facility, as well as $2.7 million for security upgrades to Senators’ state offices; $3.7 million for mail and package processing; $3.9 million for communication services; and $3.3 million for the Office of Security and Emergency Preparedness.

The Library of Congress is requesting $17.5 million for physical security measures, although that amount will likely be reduced since the Library received $5.5 million in the supplemental spending bill for the installation of a public address system.

The request includes $4.8 million to create 54 new full-time-equivalent positions within the Library’s police force and money for the computing facility.

“Enhanced security and new posts require more police to ensure that all building entrances are staffed at the standard level, that new and enhanced exterior posts are staffed, and that overtime is not excessive,” Librarian of Congress James Billington testified at an early-April hearing of the House Appropriations subcommittee on the legislative branch.

Another $2.1 million would be used to meet requirements of the “security enhancement implementation plan” approved by Congress in 1999. The plan requires the Library to combine its two police command centers, install an alarm system and improve communications among its police officers. Nearly half of the funds — $1 million — will go to new identification card readers and door alarms.

A total of $500,000 would be used to establish an emergency management office within the Library to coordinate emergency planning, training and operations. The office would include a medical emergency coordinator post.

The CAO’s office is asking for $5.3 million to pay recurring costs for emergency preparations in the House such as mobile communications, BlackBerry devices, alternate House chamber and office locations, and the House annunciator system, according to testimony submitted by Chief Administrative Officer Jay Eagen to the House Appropriations subcommittee.

The CAO’s office will also maintain funding for the Office of Emergency Planning, Preparedness and Operations at $6 million.

In addition to planning for use of the alternative computing facility, CBO plans to use a portion of its $33.6 million request, an increase of 6.6 percent from this year, to create duplicates of its Web site, Intranet and various databases at an off-site facility.

CBO also plans to purchase additional emergency-use computer hardware and wireless communications devices.

A portion of the Supreme Court’s proposed $56.9 million budget, a 15 percent hike from the current year, would pay for new security-related measures.

Thirteen additional police officers and additional police equipment and training would cost $675,000 and $136,000, respectively.

In addition to ongoing security upgrades planned in conjunction with the renovation of the Supreme Court, the Architect of the Capitol is seeking $195,000 to replace X-ray machines at public entrances to the court.