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In Vying for Federal Funds, DOD Big Winner; NIH Slows Down
The U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Committee approved legislation on 26 June that would boost R&D funding for the Department of Defense (DOD) to $66 billion, a record jump of 12.3 percent over FY 2003, according to a AAAS R&D Funding Update.
"The big winners in DOD would be the missile defense program and other development programs," the report noted. "Funding for missile defense development would jump 18 percent to $8.1 billion in FY 2204…funding for other big development projects would also climb, particularly a $4.2 billion development appropriation for the Joint Strike Fighter (up 24 percent)."
The House plan would also provide modest increases to basic and applied research programs, reversing cuts that the Pentagon had proposed. Basic research would receive $1.4 billion, an increase of 0.9 percent, and applied research would be granted $4.4 billion, an increase of 2.2 percent. Large increases for technology development would help raise the total proposed for "Science and Technology"to $12.3 billion, an increase of 9.7 percent.
The House appropriations committee also approved a proposal by DOD to transfer many basic research programs, traditionally funded through to Office of the Secretary of Defense, to the three servicesthe Army, Navy and Air Force.
The FY 2004 Defense appropriations bill provides almost the entire budget for the department. The AAAS report noted that the full bill may be debated and approved as early as 9 July.
Funding for NIH
The nation's largest non-defense research funding agency, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) was the subject of action in both the House and Senate before the July 4 recess. Over the last five years, the NIH has received annual increases of 15 percent in its budget, part of a successful effort to double funding for the agency. A AAAS Funding Update, issued 1 July, notes that according to proposals in both the House and Senate, "growth in the National Institutes of Health budget would slow sharply…"
"NIH R&D, which makes up 97 percent of the NIH budget, would total $27.3 billion in the Senate bill (up 3.8 percent) and $27 billion in the House," notes the AAAS report. "With the prospect of record budget deficits for the benefits for Medicare, Congress and President Bush are struggling to restrain growth in domestic spending…, leaving little room for either chamber to boost NIH funding further."
The U.S. House of Representatives also approved legislation on 24 June that would make the Department of Homeland Security one of the major funding sources of R&D in FY 2004. The proposed budget of $1.1 billion is an increase of nearly 60 percent over funding for similar programs in FY 2003, and nearly four times the FY 2002 budget, according to a AAAS R&D Funding Update issued 27 June.
The House would also provide $890 million in FY 2004, and a total of $5.6 billion over the next 10 years for the program known as "Project Bioshield," an initiative that would encourage "private-sector R&D investments in Biodefense vaccines, therapeutics and other countermeasures by providing a guaranteed government market for future products."
"The House appropriations would be well above the President's request of $907 million announced in February," the AAAS report says. "The House would add $51 million to the request for transportation security R&D, and would add $97 million to the request for R&D in the Directorate for Science and Technology…"
The report notes that nearly all the funding for R&D will target the DHS Directorate for Science and Technology, which would receive $900 million (an increase of 72.8 percent) under the House bill, including a $50 million increase for activities to develop new anti-terrorism technologies, a $25 million boost for university research and fellowship programs, and $60 million in new funds to develop antimissile devices for commercial aircraft.
"One reason for the enormous increase in funding, far larger than 1.9 percent increase for the overall DHS budget, is that unlike the other directorates, S&T will have to build many of its capabilities from scratch," the AAAS report says. "…the Directorate will have to create brand-new R&D capabilities in several areas to address knowledge gaps in homeland security."
The DHS budget illustrates a key difference between the new agency and most other federal agencies that fund R&D. DHS will be responsible not only for research, but for the engineering work and deployment of new technologies, in partnership with staff at state and local security agencies nationwide.
"Thus, (the DHS) R&D portfolio will at least initially be heavily skewed toward development," the AAAS report notes. "In this way, the DHS portfolio will be very similar to DOD's portfolio, which is also heavily oriented toward development...."
The House would also provide $890 million in FY 2004, and a total of $5.6 billion over the next 10 years for the program known as "Project Bioshield," an initiative proposed by President Bush that would encourage "private-sector R&D investments in Biodefense vaccines, therapeutics and other countermeasures by providing a guaranteed government market for future products."
The AAAS R&D Budget and Policy Program sponsors studies and colloquia on funding and policy issues affecting research and development (R&D). The Program aims to provide timely, objective, and accurate information on federal R&D support.
7 July 2003