Saturday, November 05, 2016

CSE budget gets $22 million boost

The Supplementary Estimates (B) for fiscal year 2016-2017, which were tabled in parliament on November 3rd, show that the Communications Security Establishment budget for the current fiscal year is now projected to be $605,638,893, up from the originally projected $583,624,818.

Most of the increase comes from a $15,006,672 carry-over of unspent funds from CSE's 2015-16 budget. An additional $1,100,000 was provided for the Long-Term Accommodation Project, CSE's new headquarters, and $5,907,403 came from the Department of National Defence for "support to military operations". Presumably the latter has something to do with CSE support to the current Canadian operation in Iraq, although it might also apply to other operations.

As I noted in this earlier post, CSE's budget has been growing more or less continuously since 9/11. The agency's projected 2001-02 budget was $100.2 million, or about $135 million in today's dollars. (Much more was actually spent that year, but the boost from the projected level was the result of post-9/11 increases.)

The projected 2016-17 budget is thus six times larger than the pre-9/11 budget—4.5 times larger after accounting for inflation.

We also now have the final numbers on CSE's spending in 2015-16, thanks to the recent release of the Public Accounts of Canada, 2015-16 (see Volume II, pages 15.7 and 15.8): $619,548,058. That's quite a jump from the original $538,201,730 projected in the Main Estimates for 2015-16.

But large in-year increases have taken place in CSE's budget every year for the past five years, so while this was the largest of those jumps, it was by no means unique.

Update 11 November 2016:

Ian MacLeod, "Spies in new glass houses: Ottawa’s electronic espionage agency budget blows past CSIS, tops $600 million," Ottawa Citizen, 11 November 2016.


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