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Homeland Defense and Security Big Winners
in Proposed Funding for Federal R&D
Homeland defense and security will take home the lion's share of the substantial increases that the U.S. Congress is proposing for the overall federal R&D budget, leaving other agencies with little or no new funding, according to a new report (www.aaas.org/spp/rd/sum81503.pdf) published 19 August by AAAS.
"In the past several years, several science agencies have managed to pull a rabbit out of a hat at the last minute. It's going to take a real magician to pull off that kind of trick this year," said Albert Teich, director of Science and Policy Programs for AAAS.
The U.S. House of Representatives proposal for FY 2004 provides nearly $126 billion for federal R&Dan increase of $8.4 billion over FY 2003but 99 percent of the increase would go to just three agencies: the Department of Defense (DoD), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). All other federal agencies would see their R&D funding remain flat or even decrease under the House plan.
The U.S. Senate still has to draft and approve several appropriations bills when it returns in September, but in general, the Senate is expected to closely follow the House proposal.
"With Republicans in control, they are mostly in agreement on how funds should be allocated, so there isn't much wiggle room," said Kei Koizumi, director of the AAAS R&D Budget and Policy Program.
Most notably, while the National Science Foundation would enjoy a 6.2 percent increase under the House proposal, the increase falls well short of Congress's five-year commitment to double the NSF budget between FY 2002 and FY 2007.
"Clearly, investment in federal R&D under the current plan is more lopsided than AAAS would like to see," Koizumi said.
Other key findings of AAAS's analysis of the FY 2004 appropriations bills include:
After five years of annual 15 percent increases, the National Institutes of Health budget growth would slow considerably. The House proposes a modest 2.7 percent increase in FY 2004; the Senate 3.8 percent.
The remaining non-defense-related agencies in the federal R&D portfolio would receive some modest increases offset by steep cuts in other areas. Agencies targeted for cuts include the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Department of Transportation, and the Department of Commerce.
Under the House plan, DoD would receive a record $66 billion for its R&D programs in FY 2004, a 12.3 percent increase over last year. Big winners include the missile defense program. Moreover, DHS would become one of the major funding sources of R&D in FY 2004, totaling $1.1 billionup nearly 60 percent from FY 2003.
More details on the House and Senate appropriations for FY 2004, including a breakdown of total R&D by agency, can be found on the AAAS R&D Web site at www.aaas.org/spp/rd.
19 August 2003