Promoting our national defense and ensuring our homeland security are two of the most important functions of our federal government. The global security environment continues to grow increasingly complex and unpredictable, and I remain committed to providing our military, intelligence, and homeland security personnel with the support they need to do their difficult jobs.
While I served as Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee from 2011-2016, our committee prioritized funding for essential readiness programs to ensure our nation is always prepared for any threats. As we fight to promote our interests across the globe, we must also remain ever vigilant in guarding against both foreign and domestic threats to our homeland. When the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was first created in 2003, I was proud to serve as the first Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security – and these issues have remained very important to me since that time.
I have always worked hard to give DHS what it needs to accomplish its mission of protecting our nation, while also pushing for necessary changes to adapt to the security issues we face both now and in the future. I have worked to replace the U.S. Coast Guard’s aging ships and aircraft, while also beefing up security at our airports by adding more efficient and accurate screening equipment, increasing scanning of cargo containers at our ports, prioritizing funding for improved cybersecurity, and supporting programs to halt the flow of illegal immigrants and drug-traffickers across our borders.
Border security remains one of the most challenging national security issues for our country. Drug-related violence at our southwest border has been steadily increasing, and our border remains vulnerable to terrorists crossing with nefarious purposes. This necessitates an even greater sustained and comprehensive federal response.
In particular, we need to stop the flow of illegal immigration. Experts believe that nearly 12 million illegal immigrants are currently residing in the United States. I have long believed that respect for our immigration laws is critical to maintaining our economic and domestic security. Further, illegal immigration undermines the rule of law, depresses wages and opportunities for our working families, and is linked to crime and drug trafficking. For those reasons, I have consistently opposed amnesty for illegal immigrants and, instead, supported legislation that seeks to end the practice by establishing physical barriers, incorporating state-of the art surveillance technology, expanding our border patrol efforts, and increasing penalties for alien smuggling.
While I was Appropriations Committee Chairman, U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) received a record amount of funding which has allowed for the highest operational force in the agency’s history. We also increased coverage of fencing and barriers along the border to over 650 miles and funded critical surveillance assets along the southern border. The combination of these accomplishments means there are more boots on the ground and more tools at our disposal to keep our borders protected and our country safe.
I am extremely proud of the work that has been done to promote our national defense and homeland security – but more dedicated work remains. Failure here is not an option.
The National Institute for Hometown Security (NIHS) is a private, non-profit 501(c)3 corporation which was organized in 2004. The NIHS was developed with the specific mission to discover, develop and deploy solutions that protect and preserve the critical infrastructure of the nation’s communities. The organization pursues infrastructure protection research projects that are aligned with the needs and requirements of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
I wanted to organize the higher education institutions of Kentucky to more effectively compete for research funds and projects aimed at improving homeland security. As a result, the Kentucky Homeland Security University Consortium was formed. The member institutions collaborate on research and development projects, share scholarly resources, and cooperatively pursue solutions to specific homeland security challenges. The NIHS is the administrative manager for the Consortium and manages contracts for research projects which are awarded to Consortium members.
To learn more about the NIHS and successful developments, click on the NIHS logo.
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