A recent efficiency review showed that the TSA's canine breeding program at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, TX, was appropriated $1.8 million dollars for FY 2012. It was determined that the program is important, but also that further investments would need to be made to take the breeding program to the next level.
In its official blog, TSA indicated that, as an example, it would take $4 million just to build the facilities necessary to continue the program. The program currently employs two full time federal employees, and has contracts with a local company for the up-keep of the kennels and for medical and health needs.
TSA says it decided to phase out the breeding program in an effort to best manage taxpayer dollars. However TSA plans to continue to train the dogs for explosive detection responsibilities. Only the breeding program will be discontinued.
TSA's lead blogger Bob Burns writes in the blog that the agency currently uses existing contracts like the one operated by the Department of Defense to purchase up to 80 percent of the canines used for the safety and security of the transportation domains we protect. That means that only 20 percent of the canines come from the breeding program in Lackland. Another 20 percent of the canines that are bred are purchased by other agencies and used in a variety of law enforcement or security functions.
While the breeding program is scheduled to cease all operations by mid-year 2013, TSA recognizes that canines are a vital part of its layers of security. So, Burns says the agency will be expanding its canine training operations at Lackland Air Force Base.