Just how important is inter-agency training in emergency situations? Very important, according to a statement from FBI Director Robert Mueller made May 16, 2013. Training builds relationships between public safety and law enforcement agencies and that training, Mueller states, is the reason that response to the Boston Bombings was so effective. However, the FBI is facing budget cuts from the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations that could negatively impact agencies' abilities to communicate to one another and respond effectively in emergency situations. The very training that helped promote such an effective response in the Boston Bombings attack is usually the first to get cut when the budget tightens.
"We live now, and will for the foreseeable future, in a time of acute and persistent threats to our national security, economy, and community safety from terrorists, foreign adversaries, criminals and violent gangs, and cyber attackers. The attacks in Boston are vivid examples of the threat. This Subcommittee understands these threats – and the consequences of failing to address them. I look forward to working with the Subcommittee to ensure that the FBI maintains the intelligence, investigative, and infrastructure capabilities and capacities needed to deal with these threats and crime problems within the current fiscal climate," said Mueller.
The FBI's budget has allowed the agency to create training programs designed to improve inter-agency communication with state and local authorities. In addition, the training initiatives have allowed local and state public safety and law enforcement departments to learn about proper emergency procedures and practice applicable solutions.
Mueller is not the only one who is in support of approving the budget of $8.4 billion the FBI submitted for approval for the 2014 fiscal year, which would cover the salaries of 34,787 permanent positions. U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), Chairwoman of the Commerce Justice, Science Subcommittee, has stated that the budget for the FBI should remain largely uncut and that sequester in Congress has already negatively impacted the FBI in 2013 by forcing the agency to operate $543 million below the fiscal year 2013 enacted budget level. She has stated that unless the sequester is ended, the FBI budget could be cut by at least $700 million in fiscal year 2014.
This could hurt the nation's security, as Mikulski pointed out, because without an appropriately funded budget, the FBI is left with few resources. Without the right budget and training programs a disastrous situation could develop.
"We expect a lot of the FBI. We count on the FBI to keep 316 million Americans safe from terrorism and violent crime, to dismantle organized crime and drug cartels, to combat gang violence and illegal drug and gun smuggling, and to catch child sexual predators and cyber criminals. But what should the FBI expect of us, the Congress?" Mikulski said. "Rather than providing the resources to face varied and growing threats, Congress has subjected the FBI to shutdown and showdown politics, uncertain funding, and now the sequester. Because of sequester, the FBI is operating at $543 million below the fiscal year 2013 enacted level, and unless we end sequester, the FBI will be cut by at least $700 million in fiscal year 2014."
Mikulski went on to say that the FBI is expecting the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations to provide them with the necessary funding to ensure that Americans are kept safe from terrorists and criminals. As Chairwoman of the Appropriations Committee, she stated that she would work to ensure that the budget would not be slashed – a situation that would decrease the agency's ability to keep the nation safe due to shutdowns and slowdowns.
Without the right budget, necessary training is often the first thing cut. Yet, training is one of the last things that should ever be impacted by a poorly funded budget.
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