Order Code RL31914
CRS Report for Congress
Received through the CRS Web
Research and Development in the
Department of Homeland Security
Updated June 20, 2003
Analyst in Science and Technology
Resources, Science, and Industry Division
Congressional Research Service ˜ The Library of Congress
Research and Development in the Department of
The Department of Homeland Security incorporates a number of research and
development activities that were transferred from other agencies when the
department was established by the Homeland Security Act of 2002 (P.L. 107-296).
It also includes a number of new activities. The Department of Homeland Security
has requested a budget of approximately $1 billion for research and development in
FY2004, of which approximately $800 million would fund the Science and
Technology Directorate, with the remainder divided among R&D programs in
various other parts of the department, such as the Transportation Security
Administration and the Coast Guard. (Despite this substantial funding, the
department is by no means the only federal agency that conducts homeland securityrelated R&D.)
This report describes the research and development programs of the Department
of Homeland Security and discusses the issues that surround them. These issues
include matters specific to individual programs, such as their objectives, budgets, and
management and the status of their integration into the new department, as well as
general questions, such as the department’s model for organizing, funding, and
conducting its research and development activities and the challenges it faces for
internal and external research and development coordination. Key issues include:
the content and balance of the proposed R&D portfolio and the
transition process for incorporating existing R&D programs that
were transferred from other agencies;
the model for conducting R&D in the department, including the
balance between intramural and extramural funding, basic and
applied research, and centralized and decentralized organization of
the challenge of internal coordination of R&D programs within the
department, including coordination between the Science and
Technology Directorate and the R&D programs of other directorates;
the challenge of external coordination with other agencies, especially
the Department of Defense and Department of Health and Human
Services, which also conduct major homeland security-related R&D
the department’s relationship with the Department of Energy, at
whose national laboratories a significant portion of DHS’s R&D will
be conducted; and
the department’s relationship with the private sector, which funds
and conducts a majority of U.S. R&D and will be responsible for
manufacturing most of the technologies developed by DHS, but
whose connections with the department are not yet established.
This report will be updated as developments occur.
Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
Programs and Program-Specific Issues . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
R&D in the Directorate of Science and Technology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
Biological Countermeasures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
Radiological and Nuclear Countermeasures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
Threat and Vulnerability Testing and Assessments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
Chemical and High Explosives Countermeasures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
University Programs, Emerging Threats, and Rapid Prototyping . . . . . 8
Conventional Missions Program . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
Standards Program . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
Homeland Security Advanced Research Projects Agency . . . . . . . . . . . 9
Administrative and Advisory Structures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
R&D Programs in Other Directorates . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
Transportation Security Administration R&D . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
Coast Guard R&D . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
National Infrastructure Simulation and Analysis Center . . . . . . . . . . . 11
R&D in Other Transferred Agencies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
Related R&D Programs in Other Departments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
Crosscutting Issues . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
Models for Conducting and Funding R&D . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
Intramural versus Extramural . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
Basic versus Applied . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
Centralized versus Decentralized . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
Impact of Program Transfers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
Internal Coordination and Management . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
Coordination with Other Agencies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
Special Coordination Responsibilities of the Under Secretary . . . . . . 19
Relationship with the Department of Health and Human Services . . . 20
Relationship with the National Laboratories . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
Relationship with the Private Sector . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22
Congressional Oversight and Appropriations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23
Research and Development in the
Department of Homeland Security
The Homeland Security Act of 2002 (P.L. 107-296), which established the
Department of Homeland Security (DHS), provided for it to include certain research
and development activities. Research and development can contribute to many
aspects of homeland security, including tasks such as detection of potential threats,
protection of people and infrastructure, and effective response following an incident.
For example, even before the terrorist attacks in 2001, researchers were developing
explosives-detection equipment for airports, improving vaccines against potential
biological terror agents, and seeking better ways to protect emergency personnel
against chemical threats. Although some of these R&D activities take place in the
private sector, most of them of them are conducted or funded by federal agencies.
The Department of Homeland Security is responsible for many of these federal R&D
programs, although by no means all of them.
This report describes the R&D programs of the Department of Homeland
Security and discusses the issues that surround them. These issues include matters
specific to individual programs, such as their objectives, budgets, and management
and the status of their integration into the new department, as well as general
questions, such as the department’s model for organizing, funding, and conducting
its R&D activities and the challenges it faces for internal and external R&D
coordination. One key question is how the department will absorb the disparate R&D
activities that are being incorporated into it, both in its Directorate of Science and
Technology and in other directorates. Another issue is the department’s model for
conducting and funding R&D and how this model will provide for interaction with
other stakeholders: the private sector, other federal agencies, the Congress, and
For an overview of homeland security R&D conducted in other federal agencies,
including a more detailed discussion of interagency coordination, see CRS Report
RL31576, Federal Research and Development Organization, Policy, and Funding
for Counterterrorism, by Genevieve J. Knezo. For CRS products with more
information on other aspects of the Department of Homeland Security, see the CRS
web site under Current Legislative Issues: Homeland Security.
Programs and Program-Specific Issues
The Department of Homeland Security includes a Directorate of Science and
Technology, headed by an Under Secretary for Science and Technology. Among
other duties, the Under Secretary is responsible for “establishing and administering
the primary research and development activities of the Department.”1 R&D activities
are also conducted in other Directorates (and in certain elements of the department,
such as the Coast Guard, that are not part of any Directorate) although the Under
Secretary for Science and Technology is responsible for “coordinating and integrating
all research, development, demonstration, testing, and evaluation activities”
throughout the department.2 Dr. Charles McQueary, a former president of General
Dynamics Advanced Technology Systems, was confirmed as Under Secretary for
Science and Technology on March 19, 2003, and sworn in on April 9, 2003.3
The following sections of the report describe the department’s R&D programs,
both in the Directorate of Science and Technology and elsewhere, and discuss
program-specific issues such as objectives, budgets, management, and current status.
Table 1 summarizes the program elements and their requested FY2004 budgets.
R&D in the Directorate of Science and Technology
The Directorate of Science and Technology groups its R&D activities into
seven portfolios: Biological Countermeasures; Radiological and Nuclear
Countermeasures; Threat and Vulnerability Testing and Assessments; Chemical and
High Explosives Countermeasures; University Programs, Emerging Threats, and
Rapid Prototyping; Conventional Missions; and Standards.4 The total FY2004 budget
request for the directorate is $803 million.5 The descriptions below explain the
content of the portfolios and how they align with the previously existing activities
transferred to the Directorate from the Department of Energy (DOE), the Department
of Agriculture, and the Department of Defense, as well as with new activities.
Biological Countermeasures. The Biological Countermeasures portfolio,
with a requested FY2004 budget of $365 million, accounts for almost half of the
Directorate of Science and Technology. It includes four existing activities that were
transferred to the Directorate by the Homeland Security Act:
Homeland Security Act of 2002 (P.L. 107-296), Sec. 302.
Homeland Security Act of 2002 (P.L. 107-296), Sec. 302.
A brief biography of Dr. McQueary as available online at [www.dhs.gov/dhspublic/
display?theme=11&content=609]. For a more detailed profile, see “Charles E. McQueary,
an Aerospace Guy at the Top of Homeland Security Science,” CQ Homeland Security, April
Different sources use somewhat different groupings. The description used in this report is
based on the DHS Budget in Brief. DHS management organization does not necessarily
correspond directly to the portfolio description.
Department of Homeland Security Budget in Brief, FY2004, pp. 15-16. Online at
Elements Created by Homeland Security Act
Conventional Missions ($55m)
(~$35m from HSARPA for Coast Guard)
Homeland Security Institute
Notes: All transfers were effective March 1, 2003, except Plum Island effective June 1, 2003. Approximately $100m of other R&D activities exist in other
programs outside the Science and Technology Directorate.
Preexisting program within Coast Guard
University Programs, Emerging Threats,
and Rapid Prototyping ($62m)
U.S. Coast Guard RDT&E ($23m)
DOE Chemical & Biological National Security (part)
Preexisting program within TSA
DOE Advanced Scientific Computing (at LLNL)
Threat and Vulnerability Testing and
Transportation Security Admin. R&D ($75m)
DOE Proliferation Detection (nuclear smuggling)
DOE Nuclear Assessment
DOE Environmental Measurements Laboratory
“DOD” National Bio-Weapons Defense Analysis Center
DOE Chemical & Biological National Security (part)
DOE Life Sciences (microbial pathogens)
USDA Plum Island Animal Disease Center
Biological Countermeasures ($365m)
Elements Transferred from Other Agencies
Table 1. R&D Activities in the Department of Homeland Security
Program or Portfolio (FY04 Budget Request)
Science and Technology Directorate ($803m)
Hom. Sec. Advanced Research Projects Agency ($350m)
the biological component of the Chemical and Biological National
Security program, formerly at DOE, transferred to DHS on March 1,
activities related to genomic sequencing of microbial pathogens,
formerly part of the DOE Life Sciences program, transferred to DHS
on March 1, 2003;
the Plum Island Animal Disease Center, formerly part of the
Department of Agriculture, transferred to DHS on June 1, 2003; and
the National Bio-Weapons Defense Analysis Center, formerly part
of the Department of Defense, transferred to DHS on March 1, 2003.
The department’s FY2004 budget documents do not make clear whether the
Biological Countermeasures portfolio consists entirely of these activities, or whether
new activities are also included. In addition, the department has not yet announced
publicly whether the existing activities will remain distinct or be consolidated and
reorganized. Each activity is discussed in more detail below.
Chemical and Biological National Security. The Chemical and
Biological National Security program was formerly part of the Nonproliferation and
Verification Research and Development program of the National Nuclear Security
Administration (NNSA).7 As previously described by NNSA, the program’s mission
is to develop, demonstrate, and deliver technologies and systems that will improve
preparation for and response to chemical or biological attacks. Specific objectives
include detection equipment, modeling and simulation of attack effects, and
decontamination and restoration techniques. For example, the program provided
prototype biological detection equipment for the Salt Lake City Olympics and has
installed prototype chemical detection equipment in the Washington Metro subway
system.8 The FY2003 appropriation for the program was $68.6 million, down from
$85.2 million in FY2002.9
Microbial Pathogens. Activities related to genomic sequencing of microbial
pathogens were formerly part of the Life Sciences program of the Office of
Biological and Environmental Research in the DOE Office of Science. The largest
activity of the Life Sciences program is its role in the Human Genome Project. It also
conducts research on molecular and cellular biology, health effects of low-dose
The schedule of transfers, along with other information, is presented in the
Administration’s Department of Homeland Security Reorganization Plan, November 25,
2002. Online at [www.dhs.gov/interweb/assetlibrary/reorganization_plan.pdf], with budget
chart attachment online separately at [www.whitehouse.gov/omb/dhs/
NNSA is a semiautonomous DOE agency created in 2000 by the National Nuclear Security
Administration Act (Title XXXII of P.L. 106-65).
Department of Energy, FY2003 Congressional Budget Justification.
Note that the FY2003 funding for this program was provided to the Department of Energy,
since the transfer of the program to the Department of Homeland Security took effect nine
days after the 2003 Consolidated Appropriations Resolution (P.L. 108-7, H.Rept.108-10)
became law. Similarly, the other previously existing programs discussed in this report
received their FY2003 funding through the agencies from which they were transferred.
radiation, and other topics. Much of this work is relevant both to microbial pathogens
and to other organisms, so identifying which activities to transfer may not have been
straightforward. This situation may also create challenges for implementing the
transfer without disrupting the research being conducted. The Homeland Security Act
required the President to notify the appropriate congressional committees at least 60
days in advance of the transfer of any Life Sciences activities, including the reasoning
behind it and a description of its effect on DOE activities. That notification was
provided on December 31, 2002.10 In a hearing prior to passage of the Act, the
Director of the Office of Science identified the activities likely to be transferred as
the program’s work on high-speed DNA sequencing, development of gene sequence
comparison technologies, and computational tools for DNA sequence databases.11
FY2003 funding for the transferred activities is $20 million, representing about 10%
of the DOE Life Sciences program.12
Plum Island Animal Disease Center.13 The Plum Island Animal Disease
Center in Greenport, New York, near the tip of Long Island, conducts research and
diagnosis on animal disease agents, whether spread intentionally (as in terrorism) or
by accident (as in a conventional disease outbreak). During formulation of the
Homeland Security Act, two issues were prominent in the debate over whether the
Center should be part of the new department. One was the continuing need of the
Department of Agriculture for access to such expertise for purposes not related to
security. This resulted in a provision in the Act under which the Department of
Agriculture will continue to direct and have access to the Center despite its transfer
to DHS. Although DHS has assumed administration and management responsibilities
for the Center, the Department of Agriculture will continue its R&D and diagnostics
programs there, and research staff will remain employees of the Department of
Agriculture.14 The other issue was concern in the local community about security
procedures at the Center and the implications of upgrading its laboratories from
biosafety level 3 to biosafety level 4. The higher level would require more safety
controls but would also permit work on more dangerous diseases, possibly including
diseases with no known treatment. The Act requires the President to notify Congress
180 days before any change in the Center’s biosafety level. DHS has stated that it
“has no plans in the near or long term for a biosafety level 4 facility” at Plum
Island.15 Finally, the Center has been criticized locally for “being opaque about its
activities and not communicating well with local government and residents,”
although its new role in homeland security “seems to have fostered a more favorable
Notification Regarding the Transfer of Activities to the Department of Homeland Security,
House Document 108-17.
Raymond Orbach, Director of the DOE Office of Science, testimony before the House
Science Committee, June 27, 2002.
Department of Energy, FY2004 Congressional Budget Justification.
The website of the Plum Island Animal Disease Center is [www.ars.usda.gov/plum].
“Fact Sheet: Plum Island Animal Disease Center Transition,” Department of Homeland
Security press release, June 6, 2003, online at [www.dhs.gov/dhspublic/
attitude toward it.”16 DHS has stated that it considers public outreach to be “a critical
element of its management,” that it will work with the Department of Agriculture to
“enhance communications with the community,” and that it intend to create an
external advisory committee for the Center.17 For more information on the
relationship between DHS and the Department of Agriculture, see CRS Report
RL31466, Homeland Security Department: U.S. Department of Agriculture Issues,
by Jean M. Rawson.
National Bio-Weapons Defense Analysis Center. The Homeland
Security Act transferred the National Bio-Weapons Defense Analysis Center from
the Department of Defense to the Department of Homeland Security, but the center
was created by the same Act, so in practice it is a new organization.18 The center’s
mission, as stated in the Act, is to develop countermeasures to terrorist attacks with
weapons of mass destruction (not necessarily limited to biological weapons, despite
the Center’s name). The Administration’s reorganization plan for the Department of
Homeland Security indicated a budget for this center of $420 million in FY2003. The
center is not mentioned by name in the Department of Defense Appropriations Act
of 2003 (P.L. 107-248) or its accompanying congressional reports, and the
Administration has requested a reprogramming of part of the $420 million into other
R&D areas during FY2003, so it is difficult to determine the scope and nature of the
center’s activities.19 The department’s FY2004 budget materials refer to the center
as the National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center and state that it
will be located on the interagency biodefense campus at Fort Detrick, Maryland, and
managed for DHS by the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command.
Radiological and Nuclear Countermeasures. The requested FY2004
budget for the Radiological and Nuclear Countermeasures portfolio is $137 million.
This portfolio includes three existing activities that were transferred to the
Directorate by the Homeland Security Act:
activities related to nuclear smuggling, formerly part of the DOE
Proliferation Detection program, transferred to the Department of
Homeland Security on March 1, 2003;
the Nuclear Assessment program, formerly at DOE, transferred to
the Department of Homeland Security on March 1, 2003; and
the Environmental Measurements Laboratory, formerly at DOE,
transferred to the Department of Homeland Security on March 1,
Gwendolen Groocock, “Yea & Nay on Plum Forum,” The Suffolk Times, July 18, 2002.
Online at [www.timesreview.com/st07-18-02/stories/news2.htm].
“Fact Sheet: Plum Island Animal Disease Center Transition,” op. cit.
Homeland Security Act (P.L. 107-296), Secs. 303 and 1708.
For a more detailed account of the Center’s status as of December 2002, see David Clarke,
“Ghost Story: How Homeland Acquired a Pentagon Agency that Doesn’t Exist,” CQ
Homeland Security, December 2, 2002. Online at [homeland.cq.com/hs/
The proposed FY2004 budget for Radiological and Nuclear Countermeasures
includes these activities as well as a number of new initiatives. The department has
not yet announced publicly whether the existing activities will remain distinct or be
consolidated and reorganized. Each activity is discussed in more detail below.
Nuclear Smuggling. Nuclear smuggling R&D activities were formerly part
of the Proliferation Detection program in NNSA’s Nonproliferation and Verification
Research and Development program. The mission of the Proliferation Detection
program, before the transfer, was to develop and demonstrate detection technologies
and data analysis techniques that will inhibit nuclear materials diversion, identify and
characterize foreign nuclear weapon activities, counter nuclear smuggling, and verify
nuclear arms reduction. The program thus included elements related to both
homeland security and international nuclear nonproliferation, and in some elements
of the program, the overlap between these two aspects may have created difficulties
in identifying which program elements to transfer and which to keep at DOE. (In
DOE budget documents for FY2003, for example, elements of the Proliferation
Detection program were broken down by technology status — enabling technologies,
integrated systems, and demonstrations — rather than by objectives such as nuclear
smuggling or arms reduction.) The Homeland Security Act provided that the
President may designate activities of the Proliferation Detection program either for
full transfer or for joint operation by DHS and DOE. Although joint operation could
provide some flexibility in addressing the overlap issue, it could also increase
Nuclear Assessment. The Nuclear Assessment program was formerly part
of Assessment, Detection, and Cooperation within NNSA’s International Nuclear
Materials Protection and Cooperation activity. The Nuclear Assessment program has
three main elements: tracking and assessment of nuclear smuggling events,
assessment of communicated nuclear threats, and technical assistance and training
support. Its assessments are used by the Department of State, the Federal Bureau of
Investigation, the intelligence community, and others.
Environmental Measurements Laboratory.20 The Environmental
Measurements Laboratory is a government-owned, government-operated laboratory
in New York City with expertise in radiation measurement. It was formerly operated
by the Office of Science and Technology of the DOE Office of Environmental
Management. The laboratory’s annual budget is approximately $8 million.
Threat and Vulnerability Testing and Assessments. The FY2004 DHS
budget request for Threat and Vulnerability Testing and Assessments is $90 million.
The portfolio includes one existing activity that was transferred to the Directorate by
the Homeland Security Act:
computing research conducted at Lawrence Livermore National
Laboratory, formerly part of the Advanced Scientific Computing
Research program of the DOE Office of Science, transferred to the
Department of Homeland Security on March 1, 2003.
The website of the Environmental Measurements Laboratory is [www.eml.doe.gov].
The Livermore activities are devoted to research on large-scale computing
systems. Their funding for FY2003 is about $3 million, so they represent only a small
portion of the proposed Threat and Vulnerability Testing and Assessments portfolio.
Other proposed activities in this portfolio include research and development on the
threat of cyberterrorism. At a House Science Committee hearing on May 14, 2003,
Under Secretary McQueary stated in response to a question that the FY2004 budget
request for the Science and Technology Directorate includes $7 million for
Chemical and High Explosives Countermeasures. The FY2004 budget
request for Chemical and High Explosives Countermeasures is $65 million. The
portfolio includes an existing activity that was transferred to the Directorate by the
Homeland Security Act:
the chemical component of the Chemical and Biological National
Security program, described above under Biological
The portfolio also includes work on explosives detection and explosion
mitigation that is intended primarily to enhance the work of DHS’s Transportation
Security Administration (TSA). The department’s budget documents do not make
clear whether the explosives portion of this program consists of activities formerly
conducted by TSA, new activities, or a combination of the two. TSA’s own research
and development activities are discussed separately below.
University Programs, Emerging Threats, and Rapid Prototyping. The
DHS FY2004 budget request for University Programs, Emerging Threats, and Rapid
Prototyping is $62 million. This portfolio will include university centers and the
Homeland Security Institute, both mandated by the Homeland Security Act, as well
as a program of university fellowships and other activities.
University Centers. The Homeland Security Act provided for the
establishment of one or more university-based centers for homeland security R&D.
The size and scope of these centers are not yet determined. A separate appropriation
is authorized, but university centers could also be funded out of the Acceleration
Fund, discussed below. The Act specified 15 areas of expertise that would serve as
selection criteria, but it did not explicitly state that these areas should define the
scope of the work to be conducted. Some critics claimed that the criteria were fit to
a particular university, not to the research needs of the department. Supporters
disputed this and asserted that several universities could qualify for a center under the
criteria. An agreement that retained the mandate for centers but broadened the
wording of the criteria was implemented as Section 101 of Division L of the
Consolidated Appropriations Resolution, 2003 (P.L. 108-7). Initial proposals for a
few pilot centers are expected to be announced in Summer 2003.21
For more details on the status of DHS plans for university centers, see David Clarke,
“Door Creaks Open fo Universities Hoping to Host Homeland Research Centers,” CQ
Homeland Security Institute. The Homeland Security Institute will be a
federally funded research and development center (FFRDC) that conducts analysis
and planning (not laboratory R&D). This concept was initially proposed in a 2002
report by the National Research Council.22 That report described its concept for the
Institute as being similar to existing organizations that serve the Department of
Defense, such as RAND, MITRE, and the Institute for Defense Analyses. The budget
of the Homeland Security Institute is not yet known. A sunset provision in the
Homeland Security Act will terminate the Institute on January 24, 2006.23 Some have
expressed concern that this short time horizon may limit the Institute’s effectiveness.
For more discussion of the Institute and other possible DHS FFRDCs, see CRS
Report RS21542, Department of Homeland Security: Issues Concerning the
Establishment of Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDCs),
by Michael E. Davey.
Conventional Missions Program. The FY2004 budget request for
Conventional Missions is $55 million. This program will conduct research,
development, testing, evaluation, and systems development to support the
conventional missions of other units of the department. DHS budget documents do
not make clear whether this program is entirely new, or whether it includes activities
that were previously conducted by the conventional mission agencies which it now
Standards Program. The FY2004 budget request for Standards is $25
million. The program’s initial focus will be the development of standards for first
responder detection equipment and communications protocols. This program appears
to be a new activity in FY2004. Standards development is traditionally a function of
the National Institute of Standards and Technology, in the Department of Commerce,
and the DHS Standards program is expected to work closely with NIST. A
memorandum of understanding between NIST and the DHS Directorate of Science
and Technology was signed on May 22, 2003.24
Homeland Security Advanced Research Projects Agency. The
Homeland Security Advanced Research Projects Agency (HSARPA) is a new
organization created by the Homeland Security Act. It is expected to be modeled on
the long-standing Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).
HSARPA’s main responsibility will be to administer the Acceleration Fund for
Research and Development of Homeland Security Technologies, whose requested
Homeland Security, June 4, 2003.
National Research Council, Making the Nation Safer: The Role of Science and Technology
in Countering Terrorism (National Academy Press, Washington, D.C., 2002), p. 344.
Homeland Security Act (P.L. 107-296), Sec. 312(g).
“Memorandum of Understanding for Enhanced Coordination in Homeland Security
Measurement Science, Standards, and Validation Between the Directorate of Science and
Technology, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and the Technology Administration,
National Institute of Standards and Technology, U.S. Department of Commerce,” May 22,
2003, online at [www.dhs.gov/interweb/assetlibrary/S_T_MOU.doc].
FY2004 budget is $350 million, almost half the total requested budget for the
Directorate of Science and Technology.25 HSARPA is not a separate program,
however, but rather an organization that will manage R&D activities included in the
programs discussed above. Moreover, it will not have laboratories of its own or
conduct any R&D in-house. The Act directs HSARPA to “administer the Fund to
award competitive, merit-reviewed grants, cooperative agreements or contracts to
public or private entities, including businesses, federally funded research and
development centers, and universities.”26 This mode of operation, funding R&D by
others rather than conducting it in-house, is the same as the approach taken by
DARPA. In the Administration’s reorganization plan, the Director of HSARPA was
to be named as soon as possible after January 24, 2003; no nomination has yet been
Administrative and Advisory Structures. In addition to the above
programs, the Directorate of Science and Technology will include several
administrative and advisory structures established by the Homeland Security Act.
These include the Homeland Security Science and Technology Advisory Committee,
the Office of National Laboratories, and a technology information clearinghouse. In
the Administration’s reorganization plan, the advisory committee was to be
established on June 1, 2003.27
R&D Programs in Other Directorates
Several other organizations in the new department include an R&D component
in support of their specific missions. These R&D activities remain with their parent
organizations, such as the Transportation Security Administration, and have not
become part of the Directorate of Science and Technology. Thus R&D activities are
conducted in various parts of the Department of Homeland Security in addition to
those described in the preceding section. This section discusses these other R&D
programs. All the R&D programs discussed below were transferred to DHS on
March 1, 2003.
Transportation Security Administration R&D. The Transportation
Security Administration (TSA) was created in November 2001 by the Aviation and
Transportation Security Act (P.L. 107-71). The Homeland Security Act transferred
it to the DHS Directorate of Border and Transportation Security. TSA took over the
security-related R&D programs of the Federal Aviation Administration and has since
expanded those activities in both budget and scope. The major thrust of the TSA
R&D program up to now has been the development of technologies for detection of
explosives in airline passenger baggage. Also included are passenger screening
technologies, aircraft hardening, computer modeling of the security system, and other
topics. Responses to chemical, biological, and other unconventional threats are a
A minimum of 10% of the Fund is to be dedicated to R&D conducted by joint agreement
with the Coast Guard. The Coast Guard’s own research and development activities are
discussed separately below.
Homeland Security Act (P.L. 107-296), Sec. 307(b)(3).
Department of Homeland Security Reorganization Plan, p. 5.
recent addition to the program. TSA has a laboratory at the Federal Aviation
Administration William J. Hughes Technical Center in Atlantic City, New Jersey, but
most TSA R&D is conducted extramurally. The FY2004 TSA budget request
includes $75 million for R&D activities. This figure is significantly lower than in
FY2003 ($128 million) or FY2002 ($164 million). DHS budget documents do not
make clear whether the reduction represents a change in priorities, the conclusion of
one-time activities associated with the massive deployment of explosives-detection
technology in U.S. airports during 2002, or a partial transfer of R&D responsibilities
to the Science and Technology Directorate.
Although the Aviation and Transportation Security Act gave TSA the
responsibility for ensuring security in all modes of transportation, its main focus so
far has been on aviation. Its R&D organization has thus evolved mainly from an
organization formerly part of the FAA. Prior to the formation of the TSA, other
Department of Transportation organizations also conducted some security-related
R&D. For example, the Federal Transit Administration’s Office of Technology has
conducted R&D on topics such as detection of chemical agents in subway systems.
Some of these non-aviation activities may not have completed their moves to TSA
prior to its transfer to DHS. If some remain with the Department of Transportation,
that would raise issues of coordination between TSA and the Department of
Another possible issue for TSA R&D is the status of the TSA laboratory in
Atlantic City. Although this facility has its own building, it is located on the campus
of the Federal Aviation Administration’s Technical Center and has no other DHS
facilities nearby. There appear to be no plans to move the laboratory, which could be
disruptive to the work being done there. It remains to be seen how this situation will
affect efforts to integrate TSA R&D activities into DHS.
Coast Guard R&D. The United States Coast Guard is a distinct entity within
the department, not part of any Directorate. The Coast Guard’s R&D program, like
the Coast Guard as a whole, includes both security-related objectives, such as
nonlethal weapons and technologies for contraband detection, and other topics, such
as marine safety and navigation aids. The FY2004 Coast Guard budget request
includes $22 million for Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation. This
figure will be significantly augmented by the Homeland Security Act’s provision that
10% of the Acceleration Fund (see above in the discussion of HSARPA) shall
address Coast Guard needs. In the FY2004 budget request, this additional funding
(which would be managed by HSARPA, not the Coast Guard) would be
approximately $35 million.
National Infrastructure Simulation and Analysis Center. The
Directorate for Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection incorporates the
former Energy Security and Assurance program of the Department of Energy, whose
largest element is the National Infrastructure Simulation and Analysis Center
(NISAC). The Energy Security and Assurance program was formerly conducted by
the DOE Office of Emergency Operations and builds on activities previously
conducted by the Critical Infrastructure Protection program in the DOE Office of
Security. NISAC is a joint program of Sandia National Laboratories and Los Alamos
National Laboratory. It provides computer modeling, simulation, and analysis of the
nation’s infrastructures, with emphasis on interdependencies among infrastructures.
The purpose of this effort is to improve mitigation strategies, reconstruction
planning, and real-time crisis decision making. NISAC was created by the Critical
Infrastructures Protection Act of 2001 (Sec. 1016 of P.L. 107-56, the USA PATRIOT
Act) although both Sandia and Los Alamos had capabilities in infrastructure
simulation for several years before then.
R&D in Other Transferred Agencies. A number of other agencies that
have become part of DHS also conduct R&D. The U.S. Customs Service, which is
now part of the Directorate of Border and Transportation Security, conducted
approximately $5 million in R&D in FY2002 and has a central Research Laboratory
in Springfield, Virginia.28 The Immigration and Naturalization Service, whose
functions have been transferred to the Directorate of Border and Transportation
Security and the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigrations Services (which is not part
of a Directorate), conducted approximately $600,000 in R&D in FY2002.29 The
Secret Service, now an independent entity within the department, conducted $1.1
million in R&D in FY2002.30 In general, R&D conducted by these and other
transferred agencies is very applied, linked closely with specific agency missions, and
relatively modest in scale compared to the other R&D programs discussed in this
Related R&D Programs in Other Departments
Despite the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, the establishment
of substantial new R&D activities within it, and the incorporation into it of several
existing R&D programs from other agencies, the majority of federal R&D related to
homeland security remains elsewhere.31 Particularly large homeland security-related
R&D programs exist in the Department of Health and Human Services and in the
Department of Defense. The existence of these substantial programs outside DHS
highlights the importance of interagency coordination, which is discussed in the next
section. Although the programs of other agencies are outside the main scope of this
report, some highlights of HHS and DOD programs are listed below to indicate their
scope and nature.
Homeland security-related R&D activities in the Department of Health and
Human Services are focused primarily on biodefense and include programs at the
National Science Foundation, Division of Science Resources Statistics, Federal Funds for
Research and Development: Fiscal Years 2000, 2001, and 2002, NSF 02-321 (May 2002);
The Customs Service Research Laboratory is described at [www.customs.gov/location/labs/
National Science Foundation, Federal Funds for Research and Development.
National Science Foundation, Federal Funds for Research and Development.
Strictly speaking, some of this work is devoted to counterterrorism rather than homeland
security, in that some of it is directed against terrorist threats outside the United States. The
technologies developed are often relevant to both goals, however, and this report will use
the phrase “homeland security-related” to include both types of R&D without distinction.
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (of the National
Institutes of Health, NIH) — Basic and applied research to prevent,
diagnose, and treat infectious and immune-related illnesses. The lead
federal agency for bioterrorism countermeasures research.
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (of NIH) —
Research on the health impact of exposure to environmental agents.
National Institute of Mental Health (of NIH) — Research on the
prevention and treatment of mental illnesses resulting from exposure
to mass violence.
National Institute on Drug Abuse and National Institute on Alcohol
Abuse and Alcoholism (both of NIH) — Research on the impact of
terrorism on drug and alcohol abuse.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — Bioterrorism
preparedness and response activities, including research on vaccines,
bioagent diagnostics, and public health surveillance. The lead federal
public health agency.
Food and Drug Administration — Research that supports regulation
of the development and licensing of new vaccines, including safety
and efficacy studies for investigational drugs that might be used in
the event of a bioterrorist attack.
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality — Research on
strategies for improving the clinical preparedness of health care
providers and health care systems to respond to bioterrorism.
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry — Research on
the public health impact of exposure to toxic chemicals, including
information needed in the event of a terrorist attack on a chemical
Homeland security-related R&D activities in the Department of Defense have
a strong emphasis on biological and chemical terrorism and include research in the
following six categories:
Contamination avoidance — Research on detectors and monitors,
biological long line-source release and point detection, stand-off
detection and remote/early warning, nuclear/biological/chemical
reconnaissance, warning and reporting, and radiation detection. Also
DARPA programs on biosensors, pathogen genome sequencing, and
Modeling and simulation — Research on hazards analysis,
operational effects analysis, simulation-based acquisition systems,
and training simulation systems.
Individual protection equipment — Research on respiratory
equipment, ancillary mask equipment, battlefield protective suits,
protective accessories, and specialty suits.
Collective protection equipment — Research on tentage and
shelters, collective protection systems, and generic
nuclear/biological/chemical filters and collective protection filtration
Decontamination equipment — Research on decontamination of
personnel, combat equipment, vehicles, and aircraft.
Joint medical chemical, biological, and radiological defense research
— Research on pretreatment, therapeutics, and diagnostics.
Many of these activities are aimed primarily at military force protection, but
many also have civilian applications. For more information on these programs and
related issues, see CRS Report RL31615, Homeland Security: The Department of
Defense’s Role, by Steve Bowman.
For an overview of homeland security-related R&D in other federal agencies,
see CRS Report RS21270, Counterterrorism Research and Development: Funding,
Priority-setting, and Coordination, by Genevieve J. Knezo.
In addition to the program-specific issues identified in the first half of this
report, the R&D programs of the new department face a number of questions that cut
across program lines. These include the broad question of what models to use for
conducting and funding R&D, the impact on existing R&D programs of their transfer
into DHS, the challenge of internal R&D coordination and management, the
department’s relationships with other agencies that also conduct homeland security
R&D, its relationship with the national laboratories, its interaction with technology
firms in the private sector, and the structure for congressional oversight and funding
decisions. These issues are discussed in the remainder of this report.
Models for Conducting and Funding R&D
Although the debate over creating DHS did include various arguments against
the inclusion of individual R&D programs, there was little disagreement with the
idea that an R&D capability would be needed in some form.32 The question of the
form this R&D capability should take, however, remains unsettled, even after passage
of the Homeland Security Act. As details were released of the department’s FY2004
budget request, some aspects of the proposed R&D agenda became clearer, but major
questions remain: How should the department balance different approaches to
funding and conducting R&D? To what extent should it use in-house or other federal
laboratories; extramural laboratories funded through contracts, grants, or other
mechanisms; and intermediate approaches such as existing or newly created
Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDCs)? How should the
department balance a focus on bringing technologies to deployment in the near term
with the need for basic research that could lead to breakthrough technologies in the
long term? What determines whether a particular R&D activity should be conducted
in the Directorate of Science and Technology or in an R&D program within another
directorate or another agency? How should the department go about prioritizing its
R&D needs, and how should that prioritization determine its overall R&D strategy?
A report from the Brookings Institution did oppose including R&D functions in the initial
creation of the department, but it argued that the role of R&D was not yet sufficiently
thought out, not that R&D should be excluded permanently. See Ivo H. Daalder et al.,
Assessing the Department of Homeland Security (Brookings Institution, Washington, D.C.,
July 2002). Online at [www.brookings.org/dybdocroot/fp/ projects/homeland/assessdhs.pdf].
Intramural versus Extramural. The Homeland Security Act provides
explicitly for both intramural and extramural R&D activities. Indeed, the existing
programs that have become part of the department include government-owned,
government-operated laboratories such as the Environmental Measurements
Laboratory, a wide portfolio of extramural activities conducted under contract by
companies and universities, and intermediate models such as programs at the national
laboratories. For new programs, and as the existing programs evolve over time, the
department will be faced with choices about which of these models to use in which
Intramural laboratories may have advantages when the research to be conducted
is highly specific to the needs of DHS and has little relevance to other applications.
In such cases, the relevant expertise may simply not exist elsewhere, or if it does
exist, it may be scattered in multiple locations, and there may be advantages in
gathering it together in a special-purpose laboratory where a critical mass of experts
can be assembled. In the case of particularly sensitive or hazardous fields of research,
an intramural laboratory may also have security advantages, although in other
departments there are many successful examples of such work being conducted
extramurally. On the other hand, research quality could suffer if scientists at
intramural laboratories find it more difficult to interact with the rest of the scientific
community, if an intramural laboratory finds it more difficult to recruit highly
qualified staff, or if an intramural laboratory lacks the resources for state-of-the-art
equipment and facilities. Here too, however, there are many examples in other
departments of intramural laboratories whose research is first-rate.
There are also indirect consequences of having an intramural R&D capability.
In-house technical experts might be more immediately accessible to DHS policy
makers who need advice. This could help policy makers keep current on recent
advances in technology, understand the significance of advances and recognize how
they could be applied, identify areas where more R&D is needed or could contribute
to policy goals, and recognize when they need (or could benefit from) additional
scientific and technological help. In-house experts might also serve as a link that
facilitates access to the rest of the scientific community, and their assistance would
presumably make it easier for DHS to judge the quality and relevance of proposed
R&D activities, both for the department’s own internal planning and when ideas are
brought to it by others. On the other hand, there is typically some internal technical
expertise in other models too, and there are also clear advantages to obtaining advice
from independent, external sources.
Obtaining R&D extramurally may have advantages when the relevant expertise
is readily available in universities, industry, or elsewhere. Considerable in-house
scientific and technical expertise would still be required to manage extramural
programs effectively, but such programs could draw on the entire range of the R&D
community, in the United States and perhaps elsewhere. (Even some of the in-house
management could be quasi-external. For example, both DARPA and the National
Science Foundation make extensive use of outside experts hired as program
managers on short-term contracts, and some agencies contract the process of proposal
review to private firms or to independent organizations such as the National
Academy of Sciences.) New extramural programs could probably be established
more quickly than new intramural laboratories and with less administrative overhead.
An extramural model would also limit the risk of creating a federal laboratory that
competes inappropriately with existing expertise in the private sector.33 In the case
of HSARPA, which is modeled on DARPA in the Department of Defense, close
adherence to that example would result in a program entirely extramural to DHS,
although some of the R&D that DARPA contracts out is conducted by other federal
organizations, including some intramural government laboratories. (Even when
conducted by other federal organizations, work performed under contract to DARPA
is funded from DARPA’s own budget. A similar arrangement will presumably apply
to HSARPA and to DHS generally. Even though the Homeland Security Act gave
specific interagency coordination and collaboration responsibilities to the Under
Secretary for Science and Technology, coordination may be more effective when
accompanied by at least partial budgetary control.) Extramural programs may also be
easier to redirect toward new goals when program needs change. On the other hand,
the extramural approach gives up the potential intramural advantages noted above,
such as the development of a critical mass of researchers in a particular area of need
and the possibility of closer security control, and somewhat reduces the opportunity
for close contact between policy makers and technical experts.
Intermediate between these options are structures such as federally funded R&D
centers (FFRDCs), which are generally created to meet a particular government need
not readily met by the private sector, but which are operated by a university, a
company, or a nonprofit organization rather than directly by the government.34 The
DOE national laboratories, for example, which conduct a significant portion of the
S&T Directorate’s R&D portfolio, are operated by contractors and are considered
FFRDCs. The Homeland Security Act also gives the department explicit authority
to establish one or more new FFRDCs.35 This type of approach might make it
possible to combine positive features of the intramural and extramural models. For
example, security controls and controls on sensitive and proprietary information
might be easier to implement than under an extramural contractor, even though the
researchers would not be federal employees, yet management might have more
flexibility than in an intramural organization, even though it might be more directly
controlled by the department than a contractor’s management would be.
DHS will probably continue to use a combination of these models for its R&D
portfolio. Even among the existing R&D programs that it has absorbed from other
agencies, there are examples of all the structures described above. This diversity is
not unusual in other departments and may itself have advantages in flexibility .
For examples of this type of concern, see David Clarke, “Private Sector Wary of
Competition from Federal Research Centers,” CQ Homeland Security, January 8, 2003.
The National Science Foundation maintains a government-wide master list of FFRDCs
online at [www.nsf.gov/sbe/srs/nsf03308/start.htm] (updated January 2003). This list does
not yet include any FFRDCs operated on behalf of the Department of Homeland Security.
For more information on FFRDCs, see CRS Report RS21542, Department of Homeland
Security: Issues Concerning the Establishment of Federally Funded Research and
Development Centers (FFRDCs), by Michael E. Davey.
Homeland Security Act (P.L. 107-296), Sec. 305.
Basic versus Applied. The responsibilities of the Director of HSARPA
include basic and applied research, development, testing and evaluation, accelerated
prototyping, and deployment,36 but the Homeland Security Act gives little guidance
on the balance among these. As in most other agencies, R&D in the Department of
Homeland Security is expected to be driven primarily by the needs of the
department’s mission, rather than by the inherent interest of the science. DHS has
indicated that it intends to focus on relatively near-term, highly applied R&D.
Nevertheless, there are cases where quite basic research is clearly mission relevant.
This is certainly the case in other agencies. The Department of Defense, for example,
spent over $1.2 billion on basic research in FY2000.37 DARPA, the Defense
Department agency on which HSARPA is modeled, spent more than $52 million,
most of it performed at colleges and universities.38 At a later stage of the R&D
process, the intermediate steps between research and final product — sometimes
known as the “Valley of Death” for technology development — can be particularly
challenging.39 DHS may have a role in bridging that gap, much as DARPA
sometimes provides development funding if a small company has a unique
technology but would have trouble bringing it from the laboratory to the marketplace.
It remains to be seen how DHS will seek an effective balance among basic, applied,
and intermediate goals.
A related issue is the treatment of basic research with security sensitivity. This
issue has arisen repeatedly over the years and has generally been handled by
classification, with no limitations placed on unclassified basic research. The
Homeland Security Act provides that “to the greatest extent practicable, research
conducted or supported by the Department shall be unclassified.”40 Treatment of
research that is sensitive but unclassified is an issue of current debate. For more
information, see CRS Report RL31695, Balancing Scientific Publication and
National Security Concerns: Issues for Congress, by Dana A. Shea, and CRS Report
RL31845, “Sensitive But Unclassified” and Other Federal Security Controls on
Scientific and Technical Information: History and Current Controversy, by
Genevieve J. Knezo.
Centralized versus Decentralized. As noted previously in this report,
although the department has a Directorate of Science and Technology, a significant
portion of its R&D will be conducted in other directorates. This mixture of
centralized and decentralized R&D capabilities is not unusual among federal
agencies. In the Department of Energy, for example, the Office of Science accounts
Homeland Security Act (P.L. 107-296), Sec. 307(b)(3).
National Science Foundation, Federal Funds for Research and Development, Appendix
Table C-27. NSF defines research as basic if the objective of the sponsoring agency is “to
gain more complete knowledge of the fundamental aspects of phenomena and of observable
facts, without specific applications toward processes or products in mind.”
See, for example, Richard W. Marczewski, “Bridging the Virtual Valley of Death for
Technology R&D,” The Scientist, January 20, 1997. Online at [www.thescientist.com/yr1997/jan/opin_970120.html].
Homeland Security Act (P.L. 107-296), Sec. 306(a).
for less than half of R&D expenditures.41 This approach helps keep R&D programs
organizationally close to the ultimate users of their technologies, but it may reduce
the opportunity for synergies among programs. In industry, a similar mixture is often
found, with a centralized corporate laboratory devoted to R&D of broad relevance
and separate division laboratories that focus on the specific needs of individual
divisions. The structure of DHS could be interpreted in this way, with the Directorate
of Science and Technology providing a centralized “corporate” capability and the
R&D functions of the Transportation Security Administration, the Customs Service,
and so on providing more specialized “division” capabilities. Some observers,
however, might interpret this structure as simply an artifact of the department’s
creation from former elements of other agencies. As the department evolves over
time, it may have an opportunity to adjust the balance between centralized and
decentralized R&D and the allocation of programs to each category.
Impact of Program Transfers
What will be the direct impact on existing R&D programs of transferring them
to DHS from other agencies? Possible positive consequences include the potential
that closer contact with other homeland security-related activities will result in more
effective work and the potential that consolidation in DHS will help prevent
duplication of effort, improve the identification of gaps between programs, and
ensure that homeland security-related R&D is considered appropriately in budget and
policy debates. It is also possible that the transfers will provide an opportunity to take
a fresh look at priorities and strategies, making programs more focused and more
directly relevant to the department’s mission. On the other hand, there may be some
risk of disrupting ongoing R&D efforts that are successful in their current form,
particularly in the case of transferred activities that are closely integrated with other
activities that will not be transferred. As noted in the first half of this report, this
category includes the activities relating to nuclear smuggling and microbial
pathogens that were transferred from the Department of Energy. Both of these came
from existing programs that were structured in a way that made separation of the
transferred parts complex. Awareness of the risk of disrupting these programs is
apparent in the special provisions in the Homeland Security Act that give the
Administration added discretion in the details of their transfer. Finally, it is possible
that duplication could actually be increased at a later time if agencies that have lost
a transferred program ultimately conclude that they need to recreate it for their own
mission needs. This possibility is more likely in the case of programs that have a
strong component not directly related to homeland security, such as work on
conventional animal diseases at the Plum Island Animal Disease Center, and here
again, as noted in the program-specific section of this report, special provisions in the
Homeland Security Act demonstrate congressional awareness of the problem and an
attempt to forestall it. In such cases, however, concerns may remain about whether
DHS will deemphasize aspects of the transferred programs that are peripheral to its
mission but important to other agencies. In all likelihood, the full impact of program
transfers will not be apparent for some years.
See CRS Issue Brief IB10117, Federal Research and Development Funding: FY2004,
coordinated by Michael E. Davey.
Internal Coordination and Management
If it is to capitalize on the potential synergies arising from consolidation, the
department will need to ensure that its R&D activities become a coherent
interlocking program rather than a collection of disconnected parts. The history of
other government reorganizations suggests that this task will be challenging, for
components drawn from different sources often tend to stay identifiably separate even
after being in the same new department for many years. One aspect of the challenge
will be coordinating the R&D activities conducted by different directorates. The
Under Secretary for Science and Technology has the responsibility for “coordinating
and integrating all research, development, demonstration, testing, and evaluation
activities of the Department,”42 but this task may be difficult for R&D in the
Transportation Security Administration, the Customs Service, and other entities
outside the Directorate of Science and Technology, over which the Under Secretary
has limited authority.
Managing the transition process itself will be an issue for DHS, in the R&D
programs as it is in other parts of the department. The Homeland Security Act
became law on December 24, 2002, and most transfers of R&D programs (with some
exceptions noted in the first half of this report) took effect on March 1, 2003.
Although the Administration had already made substantial efforts at transition
planning before final passage of the Act, this was still a rapid schedule. Transitionrelated issues will likely remain after all the new structures are put in place, both for
existing programs that were transferred and for new programs that must be
established from the ground up. Maintaining flexibility will help DHS prepare for the
likelihood that programs will evolve over time and that unforeseen needs will arise.
Indeed, the potential benefits of program transfers will be difficult to achieve if the
programs do not evolve as a result of being transferred.
Coordination with Other Agencies
Although DHS will play a central role in the federal government’s R&D efforts
relating to homeland security, it will be only one — and not even the largest one —
of the federal agencies conducting and funding such work. This situation highlights
the importance of interagency coordination. There are several mechanisms in place
to address this challenge, including the Office of Science and Technology Policy and
Homeland Security Council, both in the Executive Office of the President, and the
interagency Technical Support Working Group. For more information on these
mechanisms and related issues, see CRS Report RL31576, Federal Research and
Development Organization, Policy, and Funding for Counterterrorism, by Genevieve
J. Knezo. The DHS Under Secretary for Science and Technology also has special
coordination responsibilities, and the department in general faces some specific
coordination challenges, particularly in its relationships with the Department of
Health and Human Services and the DOE system of national laboratories.
Special Coordination Responsibilities of the Under Secretary. Over
and above the clear need to ensure interagency coordination, the responsibilities
Homeland Security Act (P.L. 107-296), Sec. 302.
given to the Under Secretary for Science and Technology by the Homeland Security
developing, in consultation with other appropriate executive agencies, a national
policy and strategic plan for, identifying priorities, goals, objectives and policies
for, and coordinating the Federal Government’s civilian efforts to identify and
develop countermeasures to chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and other
emerging terrorist threats, including the development of comprehensive,
research-based definable goals for such efforts and development of annual
measurable objectives and specific targets to accomplish and evaluate the goals
for such efforts.43
This provision gives the Under Secretary unusual authority over the priorities and
policies of other agencies. Because the Under Secretary lacks direct budgetary or
management authority over those other agencies, however, it remains to be seen how
effectively he will be able to exercise this authority.
The Under Secretary is also responsible for “coordinating with other appropriate
executive agencies . . . [to] identify unmet needs.”44 In this, he will be assisted by the
Homeland Security Science and Technology Advisory Committee, whose only
legislatively specified task is to identify research needs.45 Other outside bodies may
also have useful input into this process. For example, prior to passage of the
Homeland Security Act, the National Academy of Sciences issued a report on the role
of science and technology in homeland security.46 That report included numerous
recommendations for research priorities, as well as a short list of seven “urgent
A particular challenge for coordination will be the fact that many homeland
security R&D activities in other agencies have dual application to other goals. For
example, many of the DOE researchers with expertise in nuclear incident response
are primarily engaged in R&D on nuclear weapons. If agency goals conflict in such
cases, that could make effective interagency coordination more difficult. On the other
hand, it is also possible that overlapping goals and interests might facilitate
interagency relationships if programs are seen as complementary rather than
Relationship with the Department of Health and Human Services.
Despite proposals to do so during its formulation, the Homeland Security Act did not
transfer the homeland security-related R&D activities of the Department of Health
and Human Services into the Department of Homeland Security. Instead, it declared
that “the Secretary of Health and Human Services shall set priorities, goals,
objectives, and policies and develop a coordinated strategy for such activities in
Homeland Security Act (P.L. 107-296), Sec. 302.
Ibid., Sec. 311(a).
National Research Council, Making the Nation Safer, op. cit.
collaboration with the Secretary of Homeland Security.”47 In addition, it gave the
DHS Under Secretary for Science and Technology the responsibility for
“collaborating with the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Attorney
General” with regard to the select agent list of bioagents and toxins.48 It remains to
be seen how this collaboration process will work and how effective it will be,
especially in the absence of any direct DHS role in the budget or management of
HHS programs. Coordination with HHS is particularly significant because
bioterrorism countermeasures makes up almost half the Science and Technology
Directorate R&D portfolio, even though HHS remains the largest federal funder of
Relationship with the National Laboratories. As already noted, many of
the existing R&D programs that were transferred into the department by the
Homeland Security Act were previously located in the Department of Energy. Most
of these activities are conducted primarily at the DOE national laboratories. These
laboratories are owned by DOE but operated by contractors, such as the University
of California and Lockheed Martin Corporation, and this status is not changed by the
creation of the DHS. (In particular, despite proposals made early in the formulation
of the Homeland Security Act, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in
Livermore, California, was not transferred from DOE to DHS.) In general, national
laboratory researchers are employees of the operating contractors, not of DOE. This
explains why the number of federal employees involved in these programs often
appears disproportionately small relative to their funding levels. In addition, the
laboratories have a substantial work-for-others program, under which they already
conduct R&D funded by other federal agencies, state agencies, and industry. (DHS
programs may be conducted under a direct contract with DHS, however, or through
various other arrangements, as well as via the work-for-others program.) Thus the
direct effect on researchers of transferring these programs out of DOE may be less
than with some of the other programs transferred from other departments.
The Homeland Security Act established an Office of National Laboratories in
the Directorate of Science and Technology to coordinate DHS utilization of the
national laboratories.49 Several of the laboratories have established their own
homeland security divisions to facilitate the relationship.50 The Homeland Security
Act also provided the option of designating a headquarters laboratory for the
department.51 The headquarters laboratory was initially expected to be one of the
DOE national laboratories. Livermore was initially the most discussed candidate. At
the urging of congressional supporters of other national laboratories (especially
Sandia National Laboratories, located primarily in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and
Los Alamos National Laboratory, located in Los Alamos, New Mexico) the
Homeland Security Act established a procedure for selecting a headquarters
Homeland Security Act (P.L. 107-296), Sec. 304.
Homeland Security Act (P.L. 107-296), Sec. 302(9).
Homeland Security Act (P.L. 107-296), Sec. 309(g).
See, for example, “Bomb Labs Ready for New Homeland Security Mission,” CQ
Homeland Security, January 3, 2003.
Homeland Security Act (P.L. 107-296), Sec. 308(c).
laboratory and required a report to Congress 30 days before any selection can be
implemented. Subsequent discussions proposed the option of a “virtual laboratory”
made up of parts of more than one national laboratory. Many observers now expect
that no headquarters laboratory will be designated.
Relationship with the Private Sector
Industry funds and conducts a large majority of U.S. R&D.52 The private sector
thus represents an important potential reservoir of R&D expertise. In some cases, a
private company may be the fastest source for development or acquisition of a new
technology. In most cases, a private company will manufacture products that are
successfully developed and deployed, wherever the R&D is conducted. The
Homeland Security Act specifically provided for HSARPA to operate, in part,
through arrangements with “private entities, including businesses.”53 The
department’s relationship with the private sector may present some issues similar to
those for its intragovernmental relationships with other federal agencies. Other issues
may be quite different. For example, some in the private sector have expressed
concerns that FFRDCs will “shut them out” of competition for DHS R&D funding.54
On the other hand, DHS has apparently been flooded with proposals from companies
seeking support for their technologies. On May 6, 2003, the DHS Private Sector
Liaison told an industry group that “you are both producer and consumer” of the
technologies the Science and Technology Directorate would like to see developed.”55
Note, however, that the Private Sector Liaison reports to the Secretary, not the Under
Secretary for Science and Technology.
The Under Secretary for Science and Technology has stated that R&D proposals
from the private sector should be sent either to the Technology Support Working
Group (TSWG) via its website [www.tswg.gov] or to the Directorate of Science and
Technology via email to [firstname.lastname@example.org]. Proposals received by either
mechanism will be reviewed by TSWG on the Directorate’s behalf, although ultimate
responsibility remains with the Directorate. TSWG is an interagency organization,
chaired by the Department of State and managed by the Department of Defense,
which predates the establishment of the Department of Homeland Security. TSWG’s
first Broad Area Announcement for selection of DHS R&D proposals opened on May
14, 2003, and closed on June 13, 2003.56
Industry funded 68.4% of U.S. R&D in 2000 and conducted 74.6%. See National Science
Foundation, Science and Engineering Indicators 2002, Appendix Tables 4-3 and 4-5, online
Homeland Security Act (P.L. 107-296), Sec. 307(b)(3).
See, for example, “Private Sector Wary of Competition from Federal Research Centers,”
CQ Homeland Security, January 8, 2003.
“Remarks by Al Martinez-Fonts to the Electronic Industries Alliance,” DHS press release,
May 6, 2003. Online at [www.dhs.gov/dhspublic/interapp/speech/speech_0111.xml].
Details of the Broad Area Announcement are still available from the TSWG BAA
Information Delivery System, online at [www.bids.tswg.gov].
Congressional Oversight and Appropriations
A final area of congressional interest for DHS R&D programs is their
relationship with the Congress itself. In early 2003, the House and Senate
Appropriations Committees were reorganized to create new Homeland Security
Subcommittees. On the authorizing side, the Senate Committee on Governmental
Affairs and the newly created House Select Committee on Homeland Security are
expected to take the lead for at least the duration of the 108th Congress. Several other
committees remain interested in DHS R&D programs, however.