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FYI Number 81: June 26, 2003

House Passes FY 2004 Homeland Security Funding Bill

The House of Representatives has passed the FY 2004 Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Bill. This measure, H.R. 2555, was passed on June 24, and includes higher funding for the Science and Technology budget than that requested by the Bush Administration.

The current budget for Science and Technology - Research, Development, Acquisition, and Operations is $551.9 million. The Administration requested $803.4 million for FY 2004. The House approved $900.4 million, an increase of $348.4 million or 63.1%.

There is fairly extensive language regarding science and technology programs in the accompanying House appropriations committee report, H. Report 108-169. In addition to the selections below, the report contains language regarding Deployment of Radiation Detection Technologies, Interoperable Public Safety Communications, Coordination with Other Federal Agencies, Biological Countermeasures, Nuclear and Radiological Countermeasures, Chemical and High Explosives Countermeasures, Threat and Vulnerability - Testing and Assessment, Conventional Missions in Support of the Department, Standards/State and Local Program, Emerging Threats, and Critical Infrastructure Protection. The committee report, available at http://thomas.loc.gov/ details recommended funding levels for each of these programs. Selections from the committee's report follows:

"MISSION: The mission of Science and Technology is to develop and deploy cutting edge technologies and new capabilities to secure our homeland. The program will conduct, stimulate and enable research, development, test, evaluation, and timely transition of homeland security capabilities to federal, state, and local operational end-users. This includes investments in both evolutionary and revolutionary capabilities with high payoff potential, early deployment of off-the-shelf technologies to provide initial defense capability and near-term utilization of emerging technologies to counter today's terrorist threats, and development of new capabilities to thwart future and emerging threats."

"As part of the Science and Technology program, the Homeland Security Advanced Research Projects Agency (HSARPA) will have an essential role in engaging the private sector, the academic community, and others in innovative technology development, rapid prototyping, and prototype systems engineering and development of new homeland security technologies. A Homeland Security Institute will also be established for studies and analysis."

"SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY ACTIVITIES: The Department is directed to provide a report to the Committee by December 15, 2003, identifying all research, development, test and evaluation, and standards development work being performed by Departmental elements other than the Office of Science and Technology. The report should provide a brief description of the work being performed, the total estimated cost, the annual cost, the schedule for completion; and an explanation of why this work is not being funded in the Science and Technology program."

"PUBLIC SAFETY TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER CENTERS: The Committee is aware that a critical mission of the Office of Science and Technology is to identify, research, develop, test and evaluate, and facilitate the transfer of technologies to enhance the nation's security. To accomplish this, Science and Technology will establish a number of centers and institutes to provide these services. The Committee is also aware there are numerous organizations, agencies, universities, and others that have the capability to provide a variety of these services. The Committee encourages Science and Technology to work with a public safety institute with experience in establishing and working with public safety-oriented technology centers to serve as a `hub' for this network and to assist the Department in establishing the architecture and coordination of the Department's network of centers."

"RAPID PROTOTYPING PROGRAM/TECHNICAL SUPPORT WORKING GROUP: The Committee recommends $80,000,000, an increase of $50,000,000 over the budget request of $30,000,000, for the Rapid Prototyping Program. Working in partnership with the Technical Support Working Group, the Department will access the capabilities of private industry for rapid development and prototyping of technologies. The Committee strongly supports this effort and has provided an additional $50,000,000 to encourage and support innovative solutions to enhance homeland security and engage the private sector in rapid prototyping of homeland security technologies.

"The Committee has received numerous requests for funding homeland security research projects and technologies proposed by universities, national laboratories, not-for-profit institutions, and private companies. The Committee expects the Department to identify areas of importance for new homeland security products and technologies and issue competitive solicitations to provide additional opportunities for participation by a wide variety of interested participants.

"The Committee believes that distance learning technologies can be of great benefit to local first responders, especially rural communities that may otherwise have difficulties receiving important information and training. The Committee is aware that the department is already using distance learning technologies in its agency field offices and encourages the Department to use this important tool."

"UNIVERSITY PROGRAMS/FELLOWSHIP PROGRAMS: The Committee recommends $35,000,000, an increase of $25,000,000 over the budget request, for University Program/Fellowship Programs. The Committee has provided an additional $25,000,000 for university-based centers of excellence. There has been intense interest from universities with proposals to perform homeland security activities. This additional funding will allow the Department to evaluate and fund more university proposals in fiscal year 2004. In addition to this program, universities will also have access to specific project funding in each of the other program areas on a competitive basis.

"Not all funding for universities is included in this account. Funding for the National Domestic Preparedness Consortium and the Centers for Emergency Preparedness is provided in the Office for Domestic Preparedness. The Committee expects the Department to coordinate the university activities conducted by the Office for Domestic Preparedness with the university centers of excellence in the Science and Technology program. The Department should report to the Committee on how these university programs will be coordinated within the Department to prevent duplication, leverage existing academic resources, and provide maximum benefit to meet homeland security needs."

Richard M. Jones
Media and Government Relations Division
American Institute of Physics
fyi@aip.org
(301) 209-3095

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