FY 2013 Budget Requests Outline FCC, NIST, DHS Funding (2/13/12)
Monday, February 13, 2012 | Comments

President Barack Obama’s budget, submitted to Congress, outlines funding for the FCC, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), among other agencies.

The budget proposes fiscal-year (FY) 2013 funding for the FCC of $346.78 million. The requested FCC funding level would include continuing efforts to accelerate broadband deployment throughout the nation and implementing the FCC’s reforms to the Universal Service Fund (USF) programs. The money would also be used for improving the FCC’s information technology infrastructure and continuing to enhance the security of its systems, as well as investing in the FCC’s technical and engineering capabilities to detect interference issues. The funds would also be used to plan for interoperability needs and test new technologies, along with studying participation in the communications industry.

The FCC’s strategic plan is available here.

The President’s National Wireless Initiative included in the American Jobs Act a Wireless Innovation (WIN) fund administered through NIST to help develop cutting-edge technologies for public-safety users. Funding for the program would come from auctions of reallocated spectrum licenses.

NIST will use $300 million in WIN funds to work with industry and public-safety organizations on research and development of new standards, technologies and applications that advance public-safety communications. In FY 2013, this initiative will establish a competitive grants program designed to award between $70 million and $75 million per year from FY 2014 through FY 2016 for related research, development and demonstration projects.

The new NIST effort will build on and leverage critical synergies between the many different federal agencies involved in public-safety communications, as well public-safety practitioners and state and local agencies. It will also expand the work of the current Department of Commerce’s Public Safety Communications Research (PSCR) program.

PSCR would expand the 700 MHz public-safety broadband demonstration network, where public-safety practitioners can access state-of-the-art communications equipment, such as video, mapping and global positioning technologies for training and development of advanced public-safety-specific applications. The program would also help identify and incorporate public-safety requirements into national and international broadband standards for voice, data, image and video communications.

The DHS fiscal year (FY) 2013 budget request is $39.5 billion in net discretionary funding. Recognizing the current fiscal environment, the DHS net discretionary amount is 0.5 percent below the FY 2012 enacted level.

“The department’s FY 2013 budget request preserves core frontline priorities by cutting costs, sharing resources across components, and streamlining operations wherever possible,” said DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano.

The FY 2013 budget request redirects more than $850 million in base resources from administrative and mission support areas, including contracts, personnel (through attrition), information technology, travel, personnel moves, overtime, directed purchasing, professional services and vehicle management to frontline operations. DHS identified more than $3 billion in cost avoidances and reductions, and redeployed those funds to mission-critical initiatives across the department.

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