No More Helos for Homeland Defense
As first presented to the public, the Bush Administration appeared ready, willing and able to open the homeland defense purse strings to allow first responders–police, EMS and firefighters–to purchase and operate a fleet of new law enforcement and parapublic mission-configured rotorcraft. Manufacturers, ever on the hunt for fresh sales, rubbed their palms together in anticipation of multi-ship orders fattening their heretofore anorexic order books. Imagine their surprise when the first homeland defense budget–four months delayed because of mid-term elections and Iraq-related uncertainty–contains less than half the appropriation for first responders than had been previously indicated by the Administration. In contrast to the apparent cooling toward use of new aviation assets for anti-terrorism patrol, the homeland defense package earmarked for IT (information technology) amounted to $7 billion more than the amount put forward in the previous year.