Homeland Security Research and Development Funding and Activities in Federal Agencies: A Preliminary Inventory

According to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), federal agency funding for homeland security research and development (R&D) was requested at $3.6 billion for FY2005, a 5.4% increase over the enacted FY2004 level, and about 63% more than enacted for FY2003, and about double the resources used in FY2002. The Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) R&D programs constitute about one-third of total federal homeland security R&D funding. Other agencies which have substantial homeland security R&D budgets, listed in descending funding order, include the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Defense, the Department of Justice, the National Science Foundation, the Department of Agriculture, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Commerce, the Department of Energy, and the Department of Transportation. The sum of $3.6 billion is a large amount and, arguably, the fastest growing component of the federal R&D budget. DHS has statutory responsibilities, mandated by the Homeland Security Act, P.L. 107-296 , to coordinate federal homeland security R&D throughout the government. According to DHS's Under Secretary for Science and Technology, homeland security R&D will be coordinated by fall 2004. Coordination and subsequent congressional oversight, depend, in part, on the quality of information about federal homeland security R&D. The little information that is available does not permit identification of the components of homeland security R&D funding nor systematic comparisons among agencies. This makes it difficult to answer questions about priority-setting and coordination. R&D seems to appear most prominently in two categories of funding OMB uses to identify types of homeland security budget accounts: the two homeland security missions of "defending against catastrophic threats,"and of "protecting critical infrastructures and key assets." However, the R&D components of these categories have not been clearly identified. It is not possible to compare across agencies to determine the actual funding for homeland security R&D in functional areas, such as countering bioterrorism, border security, information security, threat mitigation, and so forth; or for fields of science, such as chemistry, environmental science or psychology. Clearer and more consistent information about homeland security R&D might assist in eliminating unnecessary duplication, filling in gaps, identifying future R&D personnel needs, and improving the capability of different types of R&D performers. OMB has responsibility to gather homeland security R&D data and federal agencies also publish information tailored to their needs. Section 889 of P.L. 107-296 requires OMB to report on homeland security funding and to consult at least annually with Congress to identify which activities constitute homeland security activities for budgeting purposes. There are many obstacles to obtaining consistent information and several options to improve these data. These are addressed in a companion CRS Report RL32482(pdf) , Federal Homeland Security Research and Development Funding: Issues of Data Quality, by Genevieve J. Knezo. This report will not be updated.