By WLOX Staff
WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senator Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) Tuesday reported the successful conclusion of House-Senate conference negotiations on the FY2010 Homeland Security Appropriations Bill (HR.2892), a measure that includes resources for homeland security activities to be carried out in Mississippi.
Cochran, the ranking Republican on the Senate Appropriations Committee and a member of the Senate Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, served on the conference committee that Tuesday completed reconciling differences in House and Senate-passed versions of the legislation.
The bill now requires final approval from both houses of Congress before it can be sent to the White House.
"The FY2010 bill we will send to the President will direct resources to the Department of Homeland Security to continue the work of ensuring the safety of the American people," Cochran said. "The missions of the Department of Homeland Security must continually meet the evolving threats to our country, and I am pleased that there are programs in Mississippi that help meet those goals."
Cochran noted that the conference agreement provides $150 million for department-wide Data Center Development and Migration, a large portion of which will be spent to consolidate DHS-owned data and applications at the Stennis Space Center's National Center for Critical Information Processing and Storage.
Additionally, $38.8 million of these funds will be directed to data center upgrades at Stennis. For the U.S. Coast Guard, the conference committee affirmed its support for $281.4 million for procurement of the fourth National Security Cutter and endorsed the Senate's addition of $108.0 million for long-lead materials for the fifth National Security Cutter.
The conferees also agreed to Senate report language supporting the procurement of one National Security Cutter each year until all eight planned ships are procured. At Cochran's request, the measure continues to include report language encouraging the DHS Office of Infrastructure Protection to work with the University of Southern Mississippi's Center for Spectator Sports Security Management "to address the range of potential and actual threats and risks to the ongoing safety and security at venues with large crowds."
"Counterterrorism officials in September issued a bulletin stating that sports stadiums and other facilities that attract large crowds could be targets. This University of Southern Mississippi center is the nation's leader in training officials on how best to protect these sites and our citizens in attendance," Cochran said.
"Security officials in the NFL, Major League Baseball, professional racing and the NCAA all look to Hattiesburg when they need answers on how best to secure their facilities, and have asked Congress to ensure that the Homeland Security Department continues to support the university's efforts," he said.
Other items of interest to Mississippi in HR.2892 include:
- Southeast Region Research Initiative (SERRI) - $20.9 million for SERRI at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, for funding competitively awarded to Southeastern universities to conduct Homeland Security-related research to improve local and state disaster, anti-terrorism and emergency readiness. This program is particularly focused on the unique homeland security challenges faced by the Southeast United States. ( The University of Mississippi, Mississippi State University, University of Southern Mississippi, Jackson State University and Alcorn State University are all members of the SERRI university consortium .)
- Explosives Detection Systems (EDS) Procurement - No less than 28 percent of $778.3 million provided to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) for EDS procurement will be used at small and medium-sized airports. A similar provision in last year's Homeland Security Appropriations Act allowed TSA to deliver an EDS system to the Tunica Airport earlier this year.
- Federal Emergency Management Agency, State and Local Grants - $950 million for State Homeland Security Grants, $350 million for Port Security Grants, $810 million for Firefighter Assistance Grants and $340 million for Emergency Management Performance Grants. The state of Mississippi, local communities and fire departments receive grants through these programs.