The House recently reported an appropriations bill providing $1.0 billion in fiscal
year (FY) 2009 for R&D in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), a 5.8
percent or $57 million increase over 2008, but the increase is unlikely to be
finalized in time for the October 1 start of FY 2009. The Senate would provide
more, for a total of $1.1 billion. -
R&D on radiological and nuclear countermeasures in the Domestic Nuclear Detection
Office (DNDO) would continue to gain slightly with a $5 million or 1.8 percent
boost to $279 million in both the House and Senate bills, while chemical and biological
countermeasures in the Science and Technology Directorate would fall (down 3.7
percent to $200 million in both bills). -
University Programs funding would fall from $49 million in both 2007 and 2008
down to $44 million in the DHS request and the Senate appropriation, but the House
would provide $51 million for a slight $2 million increase, primarily to shore
up DHS funding for university centers. -
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 AppropriationsOn
September 18, the House Appropriations Committee finally reported its version
of the FY 2009 Homeland Security appropriations bill (HR 6947) providing funding
for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), nearly three months after the committee
originally approved it. In June, its Senate counterpart reported its own version
(S 3181). Although the October 1 start of FY 2009 is just days away, a final version
of the bill will not be enacted by then, meaning that DHS will begin FY 2009 under
a continuing resolution at 2008 funding levels. The CR could extend through March,
forcing DHS and other federal agencies to wait months before receiving a final
budget. Both the House and Senate bills contain $42 billion in 2009
discretionary spending, nearly $5 billion more than the current year and between
$2.3 and $2.5 billion more than the President’s request for these programs.
The House would allocate $1.0 billion for
the DHS R&D portfolio in FY 2009,
an increase of $57 million or 5.8 percent over 2008. The Senate would give even
more for a total of $1.1 billion, a 9.2 percent increase. Both bills are above
the DHS request, the House $16 million more (of which $15 million comes from earmarked
projects added to the request) while the Senate is $51 million more (of which
$30 million comes from earmarks (see Table)).
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. Both the House and
the Senate would go along with DNDO’s plan to increase its basic and applied research
portfolio slightly by 1.8 percent or $5 million to $279 million in 2009, within
a total budget of $544 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, the
largest increases for DNDO 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 large
$17 million increase from both bills, as requested, to $113 million.
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
In the Laboratory Facilities
appropriation ($152 million, up $48 million), construction of the National Biodefense
Analysis and Countermeasures Center (NBACC) would be finished in 2008 and the
FY 2009 request 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 the House
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. Currently, DHS performs foot-and-mouth disease research at its lab on
off the coast of Long Island in New
York, and there are concerns that moving the research
to site on the U.S.
mainland could make U.S.
livestock vulnerable to the disease from accidental release. Both the House and
the Senate would add to the request for ongoing construction activities at the
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Washington,
for a total of $15 million in the House bill. As DHS ramps up the operation and
construction of its own laboratories and as DHS moves many of its R&D staff
salaries to this account, this portfolio has become the fastest-growing part of
DHS R&D (see Figure 2). Funding
for University Programs would increase by $2 million to $51 million in the House
appropriation, instead of a cut to $44 million in the request and the Senate.
This program funds university-based Centers of Excellence that are multi-year
university consortia to perform R&D on homeland security-related topics, and
also fellowships to encourage U.S.
students to pursue scientific and technical degrees in areas of study related
to homeland security. 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. In order
to keep these centers fully funded, the House would add $4.5 million to the request
specifically for the centers.
Figure 2. (click on the image for
Innovation portfolio, to develop breakthrough technologies and highly innovative
approaches to homeland security problems, would increase 17 percent to $39 million
in the 2009 House plan instead of an even larger 36 percent requested increase.
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, unlike the
massive transfer of personnel and capabilities that happened in the rest of the
new department. 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
Figure 3. (click on the image for
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. In the 2007 appropriations
process, Congress criticized its lack of clear research goals, absence of detailed
budget information, mystifying accounting conventions,
and even an inability to spend past appropriations it had been given. The final
2007 appropriations bill rescinded $125 million in these unspent R&D funds
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.
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 programs have not gone away: the report accompanying the House 2009 appropriations
bill criticizes DNDO for not hiring any of the new staff it had planned to hire
in 2008 even though FY 2008 is almost over, thereby leaving staffing below 2007
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.
and Next Steps
chamber is likely to debate its version of the Homeland Security bill in the week
remaining before the start of FY 2009. The President has threatened to veto any
2009 appropriations bill that exceeds his request; since both the House and Senate
versions of the bill do so and since Congress is not inclined to do the heavy
lifting of negotiating a House-Senate compromise bill only to see it vetoed, DHS
may have to wait until the next presidential administration before it receives
a final 2009 budget.
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 22, 2008
AAAS R&D Budget and
1200 New York Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20005
R&D Web site: http://www.aaas.org/spp/rd