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Homeland Security R&D Big Winner in Senate Proposal
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is heading toward the legislative home stretch, with the drafting of a Senate plan to provide the new agency with $1.0 billion. The Senate action would give the DHS R&D portfolio "a staggering 49.6 percent or $332 million increase over FY 2003," according a AAAS R&D Funding Update.
"Both the House and Senate appropriations would be well above the President's request of $907 million announced in February," the AAAS report says.
But the report also points out that the Senate plan falls short of the $1.1 billion proposed by the House last month. And the Senate did not fund Project Bioshield, which would have given the government funds to purchase Biodefense countermeasures. The program, on which the House proposed spending $5.6 billion over 10 years, was introduced by the President in his 2003 State of the Union Address. Under the House plan, the program 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 report notes that the Department of Homeland Security was created only four months ago, incorporating two dozen federal agencies and 180,000 employees.
"DHS programs had previously been funded in nine different appropriations bills, but for the FY 2004 appropriations process both the House and the Senate consolidated DHS programs into a single Homeland Security appropriations bill."
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, and $866 million in the Senate plan (an increase of 66.2 percent).
"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, which would total $28.5 billion with the R&D funding, 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 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.
16 July 2003