Government Security Spending Expected to Fall Under Obama, Says Security Analyst

By Matthew Harwood

The financial crisis, the likely U.S. military draw down in Iraq, and other factors will spur cuts in government security spending under President-elect Barack Obama, predicts security expert and ASIS International member John Honovich.

Many experts believe the security industry benefited from a post-9-11 spending bubble that has already burst, Honovich told British Web site

“Various theories are already developing,” explained Honovich. “One is that the security bubble is now burst. With the election of Obama, US demand for security products will drop significantly as subsidies for security technology are reduced and global tensions eased.

“In turn, this would place significant pressure on businesses to justify the real [r]eturn on [i]nvestment of security technology and eventually contribute to dwindling industrial growth.”

Many U.S. homeland security projects will drift into limbo during the presidential transition, according to one security forecast cited in the article. If this does occur, U.S. spending on security in 2009 will contract 10 to 20 percent from the current year, the forecast states.

Honovich expects demand for U.S. security products and services will drop domestically as well as internationally, due to planned U.S. troop withdrawals from Iraq, an expected abatement of anti-U.S. hostility abroad in the wake of Obama's election, and new  domestic priorities such as the economy and critical infrastructure.

Honovich recommends companies cut waste that has accumulated during the flush years since 9-11. The glut of federal funding led to too many "highly questionable security and defence projects," he says, citing the failed pilot project to build a virtual fence along the U.S.-Mexican border, dubbed Project 28. Such programs left many Americans questioning the value of security technologies, according to Hanovich. 

“Tangible Returns on Investment have to be highlighted," he said. "The security industry has had it ‘easy’ for years selling into the fear of terrorism and the easy money of [g]overnment funding. As this tightens, everyone needs to make sure that their products and services truly solve day-to-day criminal and operational problems.”

For more on President-elect Barack Obama's homeland security priorities and policies—which concentrate heavily on preventing nuclear terrorism and bioterrorism attacks and protecting U.S. cyber infrastructure—see his homeland security issue brief here.


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