Friday, November 07, 2014

CSE budget up again


The Supplementary Estimates (B) for 2014-15, tabled earlier this week, indicate that CSE's budget authority for this fiscal year is being increased by $10.1 million, from $838.6 million to $848.7 million.

Most of the increase ($8.2 million) is attributed to "Funding for the Long-Term Accommodation Project", CSE's new headquarters. Have costs risen on the project? Or has something new been added to it? Who knows if we will ever be told.

The Public Accounts 2014, which cover fiscal year 2013-14, were also released recently. Volume II (PDF page 26) shows that CSE spent $444.3 million last year (total includes $606 thousand in respendable revenue). The amount spent was $25.1 million lower than the $468.8 million in budget authority that was granted to CSE during 2013-14 (see page 46).

CSE told the Globe and Mail (Bill Curry, "Security agencies fail to spend millions from budgets," Globe and Mail, 5 November 2014) that "the lower spending was partly because several small projects were delayed."

No details were provided, but the projects in question must have been IT security related, as page 423 of Volume II shows that the shortfall occurred almost entirely in the Information Technology Security side of the agency, which spent only $142.2 million of the $166.9 million allotted to it during the year. The SIGINT side managed to spend $302.1 million of the $302.9 million allotted to it.

The primary reason for the huge difference between CSE's 2014-15 budget of $848.7 million and last year's spending of $444.3 million is a $300-million one-time payment being made this year related to the construction of CSE's new headquarters. Even if that sum is ignored, however, the $548.7 million in additional spending authorized for the agency this year is significantly higher than 2013-14's $444.3 million actual spending or even its $468.8 million in spending authority.

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