U.S. Security Spending Since 9/11

May 27, 2011 

The National Priorities Project has just released its finding that the cost of U.S. security spending in the ten years since 9/11 totaled a mind-boggling $7.6 trillion!  Here’s what they find:

  • The United States has spent more than $7.6 trillion on defense and homeland security since the attacks of September 11, 2001.
  • Total homeland security spending since September 11, 2001 is $635.9 billion.

These figures break down as follows:

Total Spending 2001 Amount 2011 Amount % Increase
Pentagon Base Budget $6.2 trillion $290.5 billion $526.1 billion 43 percent
Nuclear Weapons $204.5 billion $12.4 billion $19.0 billion 21 percent
Iraq and Afghan Wars $1.26 trillion
Homeland Security $635.9 billion $16 billion $69.1 billion 301 percent

There’s more explanation on the website.


Homeland Security Hawai’i style: “above all, protect our visitors”

November 11, 2009 

The Asia Pacific Homeland Security Summit is taking place in Honolulu.   It is one of the venues through which the homeland security-military-industrial complex has tried to exploit emerging markets for military/intelligence/security technologies and services.   Ed Texeira, head of Hawai’i Civil Defense, was quoted in the news report as saying “We’ve never said Hawaii was really a safe place, but in Hawaii we are doing all we can with taxpayer investments and Homeland Security funding to shore up our capabilities to protect Hawaii and, above all, protect our visitors.”

Above all, protect our visitors?!   It figures.  The greatest attention and latest technological gadgetry have always gone to protecting visitors and the military “above all”, meaning above Native Hawaiians, the residents or the ‘aina (land).  But then again, we always knew that Hawai’i was a mohai (sacrifice) for empire.

New FBI headquarters planned in Kapolei to be largest in Asia-Pacific

June 4, 2009 

Saturday, May 30, 2009

FBI planning to build big new headquarters for Honolulu division

New headquarters on 10 acres will be among largest in Asia-Pacific

Advertiser Staff Writer

The U.S. Department of Justice is expanding its presence in the Islands by building a new headquarters for the FBI’s Honolulu division on 10 acres of land in Kalaeloa.

Once constructed, the building will represent one of the largest federal law enforcement complexes in the Asia-Pacific region. The FBI’s new headquarters will be half a mile from the nearly completed Hawai’i state judiciary building in Kapolei and will be home to 230 agents and support staff.

“The FBI’s role in protecting the United States, from national security threats along with conducting complex criminal investigations, has expanded dramatically since employees of FBI’s Honolulu division moved into the federal building on Ala Moana boulevard in the 1970s,” said FBI special agent Brandon Simpson. “To keep up with the new responsibilities and the increased workload of the FBI’s Honolulu division, it is imperative that a modern facility capable of accommodating our expanding personnel resources be built.”

Hunt Development Group, working through Ford Island Properties LLC, has signed a site option agreement with the U.S. General Services Administration to purchase 10 acres of land along Roosevelt Avenue in Kalaeloa.

GSA put out a request for proposals and wants to secure a deal that will allow a private developer to buy the land, design, build and maintain the building under a long-term lease agreement.

The construction will take 2 1/2 years. No cost estimate was immediately available.

Gene Gibson, public information officer for the GSA’s western region office in San Francisco, would not comment because the procurement process is confidential.

“This new building will provide the hundreds of agents, analysts, linguists, task force officers and other support employees working for the FBI the working space and technological equipment necessary to continue protecting our community from the dangers of this region,” Simpson said.

The FBI has spent the past 32 years in the Prince Jonah Kuhio Federal Building on Ala Moana. In addition to Hawai’i, the FBI here is responsible for federal law enforcement in Guam, Saipan and American Samoa.

Lawmakers representing the area where the complex is planned said the federal government’s investment is key to encouraging development and investment in the region. Commercial development has flourished in Kapolei and lawmakers hope once government offices move to nearby Kalaeloa, commercial developers will follow.

“The thing I’ve seen is that private sector follows government. The government needs to take the lead in these types of things,” said City Council Chairman Todd K. Apo. “It’s a big piece of the puzzle. It’s one of the ways that government plays an important role in growing a real city.”

Apo said any planning will have to take into account the ideas of the Hawaii Community Development Authority and the city’s ‘Ewa Development Plan.

State Rep. Sharon Har, D-40th (Royal Kunia, Makakilo, Kapolei) said Kalaeloa is the “segue” to West O’ahu and the mix of landowners in Kalaeloa has made it difficult to develop a clear strategy for building the area out.

The U.S. Coast Guard, Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, City and County of Honolulu, the state Department of Transportation and private landowners all have parcels within Kalaeloa.

“This is significant because we need some major entity to come into Kalaeloa and show their commitment to this area,” Har said. “With the FBI investing in Kalaeoa, it shows that they see West O’ahu as a place of continuing development and they believe Kalaeloa is the place for their operations to grow.”


The Militarization of the University of Hawai’i continues

November 16, 2008 

Homeland security center opens on campus

By: Kris DeRego

Posted: 10/16/08

As funding for higher education continues to fall, the University of Hawai’i hopes that a recently launched Department of Homeland Security research center will bolster the college’s bottom line.

The National Center for Island, Maritime and Extreme Environment Security, which officially opened on Oct. 7, is one of five “centers of excellence” created by DHS to study border security, explosives detection, port security and emergency management. UH Mānoa was one of 11 universities selected in February to host a portion of one of the research centers.

“Investments in long-term, basic research are vital for the future of homeland security,” said DHS Undersecretary for Science and Technology Jay M. Cohen, who was present at the institute’s opening ceremony. “These colleges and universities will provide scientific expertise, high-quality resources and independent thought, all of which are valuable to securing America.”

Under an agreement reached between the DHS and university officials, UH Mānoa is eligible to receive a grant of up to $2 million per year over the next four to six years, for a potential windfall of $12 million.

In partnership with scientists at the University of Alaska, the University of Puerto Rico and New Jersey’s National Center for Secure and Resilient Maritime Commerce and Coastal Environments, the homeland security center’s researchers will consider ways to safeguard infrastructure located in island and extreme environmental conditions against natural and man-made emergencies, according to research director Roy Wilkens.

“The basic scientific investigations that the National Center for Island, Maritime and Extreme Environment Security will be performing are a natural complement to existing earth science and engineering programs at UH Mānoa,” Wilkens said. “These studies will eventually provide critical data to first responders in times of emergency and enhance our general understanding of the ocean and atmospheric environment around the Hawaiian Islands, Puerto Rico and Alaska.”

Six faculty members from UH’s Department of Engineering and School of Ocean and Earth Science Technology will spearhead the center’s initial research, which Wilkens says will benefit both the university and the state.

“Our observational expertise will save lives and help protect the environment,” Wilkens said. “As for UH, without the prospect of involvement in high-level science, UH would lose its best and brightest, both students and faculty.”

Defense research expanding

Homeland security contracts were not the only lucrative defense-related grants given to UH researchers in recent weeks. On Sept. 24, two weeks before the opening of the homeland security research center, UH’s Applied Research Laboratory was awarded an $850,000 task order by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the Wai’anae Ordnance Reef Remedial Investigation Project.

Approved by the Naval Sea Systems Command, the order instructs scientists to examine the impact of seasonal variations in water quality and sediment composition upon the threat posed by discarded World War II munitions off the O’ahu’s Wai’anae Coast. The survey will be conducted over the course of a one-year period to rectify possible data gaps in a 2006 study performed by the Department of Defense and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

“It is important that we examine the impacts from the discarded military munitions at Ordnance Reef to determine the most appropriate course of action,” said U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye in a written release. “I have no doubt that the UH lab will undertake its tasks with professionalism and with environmental and cultural sensitivity.”

The study will involve both private and community partnerships, said UH Vice President for Research Jim Gaines, and could generate funding for similar projects in the future.

“The Army Corps of Engineers is committed to understanding the problems created by discarded munitions and potential impacts on the health of the people of Hawai’i,” Gaines said. “This project could lead to more clean-up operations of the discarded munitions by local businesses, which would have its own positive effect on the economy.”

Researchers for the Applied Research Laboratory, a Navy-sponsored science and technology laboratory, will complete additional sampling, biotic-substance testing and risk-assessment analysis as part of their review.

Critics unconvinced

While the National Center for Island, Maritime and Extreme Environment Security and Applied Research Laboratory enjoy broad support among university administrators, many members of the UH community remain opposed to the two research centers, arguing that prospective financial gains are outweighed by the threat posed to core educational values.

“The National Center for Island, Maritime and Extreme Environment Security and Applied Research Laboratory are increasing and intensifying the militarization of UH,” said Kyle Kajihiro, program director for the American Friends Service Committee. “This is part of a trend nationwide, in which universities are becoming agents of the military-industrial complex, instead of independent institutions dedicated to expanding and sharing knowledge.”

Michael D’Andrea, a professor of counselor education at UH Mānoa, agrees, noting that both the Mānoa Faculty Senate and the Associated Students of the University of Hawai’i passed resolutions condemning the expansion of military research on campus.

“This type of research not only undermines education at the university,” D’Andrea said, “but also the democratic principles that govern our society.”

Of particular concern to opponents of the research centers is the execution of classified weapons research at UH, which Kajihiro believes is being hidden from public purview.

“The ocean ordnance research task order is chum to lure the public into biting the Applied Research Laboratory hook,” Kajihiro said. “It masks the true purpose of the ARL, which is the development of weapons systems for missile defense, sensor integration, anti-submarine warfare, high energy lasers and other weapons technologies to be tested at the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kaua’i.”

University officials maintain that classified weapons research is not the primary focus of either project.

“Once we get involved in classified areas, the free exchange of knowledge and information is inhibited, exactly the opposite of our mission,” Wilkens said.

Activists like Kajihiro are unmoved by the university’s reassurances, however, citing contractual loopholes as reasons for continuing their challenge.

“Remember that the Applied Research Laboratory’s voluntary no-classified research clause only applies to the first three years of operation,” Kajihiro said. “Do not let these institutions become Trojan horses for the expansion of secret research at UH. Do not let these invasive species dig their roots deep into UH.”

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