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AAAS Urges Single Official
to Direct Anti-Terror R&D
AAAS today urged U.S. policymakers to appoint a single officialsuch as an undersecretaryto coordinate all counterterrorism research and development (R&D).
By ensuring one-stop accountability for counterterrorism research, such an appointment would help speed advances planned by the proposed Department of Homeland Security, and coordinate scientific investigations across all relevant agencies, said AAAS CEO Alan I. Leshner. By comparison, under the Administration's current proposal, R&D officers would report to four undersecretaries, with no overall coordination.
Fighting terrorism "calls for a well-orchestrated and coordinated endeavor among the 26 agencies that currently contribute to our nation's research and development enterprise," Leshner wrote, in a July 8 letter to Rep. Richard K. Armey (R-Texas), Majority Leader of the U.S. House of Representatives. Leshner's letter to Armey was copied to Rep. Sherwood L. Boehlert (R-New York) and Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-California), Minority Whip for the U.S. House of Representatives.
This week, the House Science Committee is expected to begin marking up a bill to establish lines of authority and funding coordination for R&D in the proposed Department of Homeland Security.
Most recently, Congressional testimony by Leshner advised against a "taking turns" approach to federal R&D funding, and called for greater balance in the national scientific budget. "Our continued national security and improving quality of life depend on a uniformly healthy and rapidly growing science and technology enterprise," Leshner told a Senate subcommittee on May 22. (See http://www.aaas.org/news/releases/2002/0522leshnerIntro.shtml.)
AAAS also recently released a report, Science and Technology in a Vulnerable World, concluding that the nation is ill-prepared for a terrorist assault on its information systems, and lacks the public health structure necessary to address a major bioterrorist attack. (See http://www.aaas.org/news/releases/2002/0624terrorismIntro.shtml.)
8 July 2002[an error occurred while processing this directive]
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