today in drafts
The Trump administration has proposed massive budget cuts to the Coast Guard, TSA, and FEMA in an attempt to route funds to its ambitious immigration crackdown, but some experts are saying the plan is misguided and will have "devastating" consequences in the fight for border security, Politico reports.
The proposal "is ignorant of what constitutes national security," said former Coast Guard commandant Adm. James Loy. "They simply don't understand the equation." Draft documents show the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is looking to cut 14 percent of the Coast Guard's budget and 11 percent from the TSA, "reductions that critics say would weaken safeguards against threats arriving by sea or air," Politico writes.
"As you harden the land border you open up the maritime border," said another retired Coast Guard commander, Stephen Flynn. "It makes no sense. You are going to have this balloon effect." Loy, who also worked as a TSA administrator after 9/11, added of the TSA cuts: "This is the amazing reality despite the fact that the bad guys have a love affair with commercial aviation as a target."
The Office of Management and Budget additionally wants to cut 11 percent of FEMA, which responds to natural disasters like hurricanes but also prepares responses to major terrorist attacks.
The Coast Guard intercepted over 6,000 illegal immigrants last year and is already stretched thin trying to protect ports of entry from terrorist attacks and illegal drug traffickers, critics say. "The OMB treats the Coast Guard like a lunch fund to fund their other priorities within the Department of Homeland Security," said Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.). "Congress funds [through appropriations], and we're not doing what they're doing. They're off in la-la-land. If they want to be irrelevant they're off to a good start."
Read the full report on the OMB's draft at Politico.