The FY 2005 Department of Homeland Security Appropriations bill is now on the House floor. Under this bill, H.R. 4567, funding for "Research, Development, Acquisition and Operations," the major component of the Science and Technology Directorate, would increase 22.4% or $194.9 million to $1,063.7 million. The Administration requested $988.0 million.
House Appropriations Committee Report 108-541 accompanies this bill, and has considerable language about the different budget activities within the Directorate. Readers needing further information on the committee's policy recommendations and funding levels should review the report at http://thomas.loc.gov for language on the Directorate's 17 activities, which were established by the committee as a new account structure. These activities are: biological countermeasures; nuclear and radiological countermeasures; chemical countermeasures; high explosives countermeasures; threat and vulnerability, testing and assessment; critical infrastructure protection; conventional missions in support of DHS; rapid prototyping program; standards; emerging threats; university programs/homeland security fellowship programs; consolidated transferred accounts; National Biodefense Analysis & Countermeasures Center; counter MANPADS; Safety Act; and cyber security.
The following sections are drawn from the recommendations for the different S&T activities that pertain to interests of the physics community:
S&T [DIRECTORATE], MANAGEMENT AND ADMINISTRATION: "The Committee believes S&T should move expeditiously to develop a policy regarding the use of national laboratories, and directs S&T to report to the Committee on this policy by October 1, 2004."
BIOLOGICAL COUNTERMEASURES: "The Committee believes science and technology are integral to addressing the public health aspects of homeland security and urges the directorate to pursue research in next generation x-ray nanotechnology and in the development of antidotes to emerging chemical and bioterrorist threats."
NUCLEAR AND RADIOLOGICAL COUNTERMEASURES: "The Committee understands that S&T is currently testing equipment that can identify radioactivity in vehicles and cargo. The Committee agrees that equipment that is able to identify radioactivity in vehicles and cargo while producing a low rate of false alarms is critical to our border and port security operations and encourages S&T to continue field testing such equipment. The Committee encourages S&T to continue to support work on advanced designs for both neutron and gamma detectors that can identify radiation sources that may be part of improvised nuclear devices or radiation dispersal devices.
"The Committee is pleased with the depth and breadth of the nuclear and radiological countermeasures portfolio, leveraging new approaches from pre-existing work realized in the national laboratories and the private sector. While the Committee is aware of individual projects such as the NY/NJ radiation detection testbed, and the secondary "reach back" support for employing radiation detection in the field, it is appropriate at this time to articulate these activities in a comprehensive strategic plan. The Committee directs Science and Technology to provide a report by February 1, 2005, on the nuclear and radiological countermeasures portfolio, the long-term vision of the program, the threat being addressed, the projects and activities underway, annual and life-cycle costs of these projects, and the homeland security applications for the technology that is being developed."
RAPID PROTOTYPING PROGRAM: "The Committee receives 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 S&T 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."
UNIVERSITY PROGRAMS/FELLOWSHIP PROGRAMS (Full text): "The Committee recommends $70,000,000 for University Programs/Fellowship Programs, $40,000,000 above the President's request of $30,000,000. The Committee has provided an additional $40,000,000 for university-based centers of excellence.
"Through the Homeland Security Centers of Excellence (HS-Centers) S&T is encouraging universities to become centers of multi-disciplinary research. In fiscal year 2004, S&T awarded three HS-Centers in the areas of: Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events, Foreign Animal and Zoonotic Disease Defense, and Post-Harvest Food Protection and Defense. The future of homeland security science is also being advanced by the development of the next generation of scientists in the Scholars and Fellows Program. There continues to be intense interest from universities with proposals to perform homeland security activities. This additional funding will allow S&T to evaluate and support additional university proposals in fiscal year 2005."