The Department of Homeland Security’s contract spending continued to decline during the first year of sequestration and fell to its lowest level ever, according to a new independent analysis of government contract data.
Compared to its much larger sister agency, the Defense Department, the fiscal 2013 decline in contract obligations by DHS was relatively modest, the latest annual review of Homeland Security spending by the Center for Strategic and International Studies found. While DoD’s contract dollars shrunk by 16 percent between 2012 and 2013, the decline in DHS was just 3 percent.
There are a couple of reasons for that, according to the authors. For one, DHS already had undergone a 12 percent reduction in dollars on contracts the year before, prior to the triggering of the automatic budget caps.
Also, the 2013 numbers got a boost from the sort of big-ticket purchase DHS only makes every few years: $500 million for the USCGC Munro, one of the large, high tech national security cutters the Coast Guard is building. Without that single contract, DHS spending would have dropped by 5.5 percent.
“What you also see is that the sequestration’s impact is not evenly distributed across the DHS components. In fact, it’s quite varied,” said David Berteau, the director of the national security program on industry and resources at CSIS.
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