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FYI Number 131: September 28, 2004

Homeland Security Funding Bill Nearing Completion

As Congress looks toward adjournment in early to mid-October, one of the few funding bills that might be completed is the FY 2005 Department of Homeland Security Appropriations bill. (The Defense Department Appropriations Act has been signed into law.) The House of Representatives passed their version of this bill in June (see http://www.aip.org/fyi/2004/079.html). The Senate passed its counterpart bill earlier this month. Both versions recommend significant increases in the Science and Technology account. Congressional leaders hope to complete a final bill before adjournment.

The House bill recommends a 22.4%, or $194.9 million, increase in the "Science and Technology – Research, Development, Acquisition and Operations" budget to $1,063.7 million. The Senate bill provides for a 17.0%, or $147.9 million, increase to $1,016.7 million The Bush Administration requested $988.0 million. The current budget is $868.8 million.

The Senate bill, S. 2357, closely follows the House bill by breaking out the Science and Technology Directorate's account structure into 17 activities. It adds an additional activity called "Interoperability and Communications." Selections from Senate Report 108-280 accompanying the bill follow. Readers wishing to review the complete report language may do so at http://thomas.loc.gov/home/approp/app05.html

NUCLEAR AND RADIOLOGICAL COUNTERMEASURES: "The Committee provides $127,810,000 to rapidly develop and transition enhanced capability to deployed detectors and systems and to rapidly incorporate recent advances in prototype technologies into the near commercial assistance of radiological and nuclear detectors and systems for use in operational environments.

"Existing technologies being deployed by agencies at ports-of-entry, including the United States Coast Guard [USCG] and the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection, provide an effective nuclear countermeasure system. However, continued focused development can considerably extend these capabilities in order to develop technologies for application to specific locations, including those in the intermodal transportation system, in the maritime domain, at border ports-of-entry, and in the aviation industry. The Committee expects a significant expansion of the Countermeasures Test Bed being conducted with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in testing technologies to detect radiation/nuclear threats to include railway, general aviation facility monitoring, expanded roadways coverage, and an additional seaport.

"The Committee is aware of technology proposals developed with national laboratories to facilitate the inspection of containerized cargo for fissile materials as a part of the normal off-loading process at the Nation's seaports. The Committee understands this process would not increase normal cargo off-loading process time and would provide a detection capability not currently in place. The Committee encourages the Department to investigate the feasibility of such technology as a part of its efforts to secure our Nation's ports"

RAPID PROTOTYPING: "The Committee recommends $75,120,000 for research, development, testing, evaluation and timely transition of homeland security capabilities to Federal, State, and local operational end-users. The Committee expects the rapid prototyping program to continue to provide a mechanism for accelerated development of technologies relevant to homeland security by accelerating the time to develop and commercialize relevant technologies in order to provide the operational end-user the ability to prevent terrorist attacks, reduce the Nation's vulnerability, and minimize the damage and assistance in recovery if attacks occur."

STANDARDS: "The Committee provides $39,239,000 for development of consistent and verifiable standards in terms of basic functionality, task appropriateness and adequacy, interoperability, efficiency, and sustainability to improve the quality and usefulness of homeland security systems and technologies by actively engaging the Federal, State, and local first responder."

"The Committee expects standards development and implementation projects for biological, chemical, high explosives, nuclear and radiological, terrorist intent, cyber security, and critical infrastructure protection to develop guidelines as a collaborative effort among vulnerability analysts, tool developers, users, and standards experts."

UNIVERSITY PROGRAMS/HOMELAND SECURITY FELLOWSHIP PROGRAMS: "The Committee provides $69,048,000, an increase of $39,048,000 from the budget request, to fund existing and future Homeland Security Centers of excellence and to continue the university fellows program. The Committee encourages the Department to consider all colleges and universities that meet the requirements of 6 U.S.C. 188 in the selection of university-based centers, including historically black colleges and universities, tribal colleges, Hispanic-serving institutions, Native Hawaiian-serving institutions, and Alaskan Native-serving institutions." The House bill recommended $70.0 million.

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

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