Congress has finalized an appropriations bill providing $1.1 billion in fiscal
year (FY) 2009 for R&D in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), a 9.4
percent or $93 million increase over 2008. -
R&D on radiological and nuclear countermeasures in the Domestic Nuclear Detection
Office (DNDO) would fall slightly with a $5 million or 1.9 percent cut to $269
million, and chemical and biological countermeasures R&D in the Science and
Technology Directorate would also fall (down 3.7 percent to $200 million). But
there would be large increases for R&D to support other DHS missions such
as explosives, technology transitions, border and maritime security, and protecting
infrastructure, and a dramatic 56 percent increase for DHS laboratory facilities
to $162 million. -
University Programs funding would gain slightly by $1 million to $50 million.
In addition, DHS will receive $2.2 billion in already-appropriated funds for Project
Bioshield on October 1, to procure promising biodefense countermeasures from the
private sector for the national stockpile. DHS R&D in FY 2009 House-Senate Conference
September 24, the House of Representatives debated and approved a massive FY 2009
continuing resolution (CR) funding federal government programs through March 6
but also containing $23 billion in disaster relief spending and three full FY
2009 appropriations bills, including a final Homeland Security appropriations
bill with funding for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). If the Senate
and the President agree, as expected, to the CR then DHS will get a final FY 2009
budget next week. Just last week, the House Appropriations Committee reported
a House version of the bill, but before the House could even debate it the bill
was replaced by the new CR version, which represents a compromise between the
House and Senate versions of the bill even though there was no formal House-Senate
conference. (For details of DHS R&D in the House bill, see the September
22 AAAS R&D Funding Update; for details of the Senate bill, see the July
1 R&D Funding Update; for details of the President’s request for DHS R&D,
see the Feb. 20 R&D Funding Update or Chapter
11 in AAAS Report XXXIII: R&D FY 2009.)Congress has settled on $1.1 billion for the
DHS R&D portfolio in FY 2009,
an increase of $93 million or 9.4 percent over 2008, well above earlier House
or Senate appropriations as well as the request (see Table).
The final congressional appropriation is $52 million more than the DHS request,
although $45 million of the congressional add is from earmarks (congressionally
designated, performer-specific projects). Excluding the 2009 earmarks as well
as $82 million in 2008 earmarks, there
is a 14.3 percent increase for the core (non-earmarked) DHS R&D portfolio.
Radiological and nuclear
countermeasures R&D in the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO) continues
to be the largest part of the DHS R&D portfolio in 2009 (see Figure 1).
DNDO was carved out of the S&T Directorate in 2006 and is now a stand-alone
entity devoted to radiological and nuclear countermeasures. Congress trims DNDO’s
plan to increase its basic and applied research portfolio and instead cuts funding
by 1.9 percent or $5 million to $269 million in 2009, within a total DNDO budget
of $514 million. (The difference between the two totals is procurement of nuclear
detection devices for U.S.
ports of entry, management costs, and operations support costs.) In 2009, DNDO
budget increases would go to the procurement side instead of the research side. But within the research portfolio the Transformational
Research and Development program, tending toward the basic research end with a
focus on transformative breakthroughs, would receive a $7 million increase to
The chemical and biological
countermeasures portfolio, which remains in the S&T directorate, would receive
$200 million, down 3.7 percent from the current year
to remain the second-largest part of the DHS R&D portfolio (see Figure 1).
Although this portfolio has been larger in previous years (see Figure 2), in 2007
DHS spun off non-R&D programs such as the BioWatch surveillance system to
other DHS units, leaving behind only purely R&D programs.
Figure 1. (click on the image for
The Laboratory Facilities
appropriation is the fastest-growing part of the DHS R&D portfolio, climbing
56 percent or $58 million to $162 million (see Figure 2 and Table).
Part of the increase is because DHS is moving its R&D staff salaries to this
account in FY 2009, but there will also be increased funding for construction
of DHS laboratory facilities. Construction of the National Biodefense Analysis
and Countermeasures Center (NBACC) would be finished in 2008 and the FY 2009 appropriation
of $33 million, double this year’s funding, would be used to start operations.
NBACC will be part of a biodefense complex of DHS, NIH, and DOD facilities at
Fort Detrick, Maryland.
There would also be $36 million, more than triple 2008 funding, for detailed design
of the National Bio and Agrodefense Facility (NBAF), working toward the beginning
of construction in 2010 after a site selection later this year. But Congress attaches
conditions to the NBAF appropriation: before DHS can spend the money, it must
do a risk analysis of doing foot-and-mouth disease research on the U.S.
mainland and have the Government Accountability Office (GAO) review it. Currently,
DHS performs foot-and-mouth disease research at its lab on Plum
Island, off the coast of Long
Island in New York,
and there are concerns that moving the research to a site on the U.S.
mainland could make U.S.
livestock vulnerable to the disease. Congress also adds to the request for ongoing
construction activities at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Washington,
for a total of $25 million. Separately, the Infrastructure and Geophysical appropriation
appears to climb $11 million to $76 million, double the request, but only because
of two large earmarked projects. Funding
for University Programs would inch up to $50 million in 2009, $37 million of which
would fund university-based Centers of Excellence, multi-year university consortia
to perform R&D on homeland security-related topics. There are now seven DHS
Centers of Excellence, one funded jointly with EPA and another with the Lawrence
Livermore National Laboratory, and up to six more could
be awarded soon. The account also funds fellowships to encourage U.S.
students to pursue scientific and technical degrees in areas of study related
to homeland security, and other university-related programs such as DHS agreements
with minority-serving institutions.
Innovation portfolio, to develop breakthrough technologies and highly innovative
approaches to homeland security problems, would remain flat at $33 million, well
below the $45 million request because of congressional concerns over how the S&T
directorate selects and manages projects in this account, and frustration at S&T
delays in reporting how 2008 funds are being spent. DHS
R&D, after a rapid ramp-up phase, grew too rapidly and is now in retrenchment
and reorganization. As shown in Figure 3, DHS began life with only a few R&D
laboratories and programs that it inherited from USDA, DOE, and DOD. From a transfer
of less than $300 million of programs in 2002, DHS expanded rapidly after its
foundation in FY 2003 (see Figure 3), adding portfolios on long-neglected technology
areas, establishing relationships with existing national laboratories and federal
laboratories, and setting up new structures for funding external R&D. But
the S&T directorate struggled to ramp up its capabilities, staffing, and spending,
prompting Congress to slash its funding dramatically in 2007 and impose numerous
restrictions and demands. Congress rescinded $125 million in unspent R&D
funds in 2007 and made program cuts in most areas. Although the 2007 and 2008
R&D totals were well below appropriations of previous years, DHS is still
working through its backlog of unspent funds. So while DHS’ appropriations history
in Figure 3 is uneven, the actual outflow of money will be smoother as appropriations
get stretched out into outlays over several years.
Figure 2. (click on the image for
Figure 3. (click on the image for
new DNDO also appears to have problems in ramping up its operations. In the 2008
omnibus bill, appropriators expressed concern that DNDO has been unable to hire
staff quickly enough to keep up with the rapid growth in its budget, and criticized
DNDO for providing too little detail on how it plans to spend its appropriations.
These problems have not gone away: the report accompanying the final 2009 bill
criticizes DNDO for not being able to hire key staff in 2008, thereby leaving
staffing below 2007 levels.Although
it is not technically an R&D program, DHS received $5.6 billion over 10 years
in three advance appropriations for Project Bioshield, a program to procure promising
biodefense countermeasures from the private sector for the national stockpile.
The last installment of $2.2 billion becomes available at the beginning of FY
2009. Although Bioshield started in DHS and its funding remains there, the operations
and management of the program have migrated to the Department of Health and Human
Services (HHS), which has set up an office to evaluate and select countermeasures
eligible to receive Bioshield funding. Outlook
and Next StepsThe
House quickly approved the continuing resolution (CR) containing the Homeland
Security bill on September 24 with little debate. If the Senate and the President
agree to the CR in the next few days, then DHS will be one of the few federal
agencies to begin FY 2009 with a final 2009 budget, along with the Departments
of Defense (DOD) and Veterans Affairs (VA).
analysis is one of a series of AAAS R&D Funding Updates on FY 2009 congressional
appropriations. The complete series of AAAS R&D Funding Updates, including
continually updated analyses of R&D in FY 2009 appropriations, is available
on the AAAS R&D web site (http://www.aaas.org/spp/rd)
in the "FY 2009 R&D" or the "What's
- September 25, 2008
AAAS R&D Budget and
1200 New York Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20005
R&D Web site: http://www.aaas.org/spp/rd