Bush seeks more R&D for defense, security

American Association for the Advancement of Science

Although federal research and development funds have remained flat or declined for most programs, money for weapons development and homeland security has increased, a trend that continues in the proposed fiscal 2005 budget.

The total proposed R&D funding next year is nearly $132 billion, about 4.7 percent more than this year's level, with a majority of the increase going to the Defense Department and Homeland Security Department.

In fact, DHS, although barely a year old, would have an R&D budget of $1.2 billion next year, $163 million more than this year's level. Although the amount is smaller than other departments' R&D funding, DHS gets a 16 percent hike, which is the most of any department.

"It's the big winner," said Kei Koizumi, director of the American Association for the Advancement of Science's R&D Budget and Policy Program, who presented an analysis of R&D spending in the fiscal 2005 budget at Defense Week's Contracting for Homeland Security II conference Feb. 10.

Nearly all of the funds of the R&D money would go to the Science and Technology directorate, but some would also go to the Transportation Security Administration. Most monies are earmarked for development, which means creating new technologies to put into the hands of first responders, he said. But the R&D budget proposal shows a shift toward a more balanced portfolio for DHS that includes more basic and applied research. That is the longer-term vision for the department, he said.

In fiscal 2004, DHS's R&D budget is about $1.05 billion, of which about $385 million is earmarked for chemical, radiological, biological and nuclear countermeasures research such as detection equipment and sensors; $154 million for TSA R&D; $100 million for other Science and Technology programs; $93 million for threat and vulnerability assessments; $87 million for bio facilities; $75 million for rapid prototyping; $70 million for university programs; $60 million for antimissile devices; and $21 million for other R&D programs.

Overall, spending on homeland security programs across government is a proposed $47 billion, of which $4.2 billion would go to R&D. Most of that money would be heavily oriented toward biodefense, but R&D on other technologies would also increase, he said.

"The majority of homeland security R&D investments will actively remain outside the Department of Homeland Security," Koizumi said. "In the past few years, there has been a dramatic expansion of investments in this area, which, of course, would continue in FY 2005."

For example, the National Institutes of Health would be the largest funding source for homeland security R&D with $1.7 billion proposed for biodefense. DOD also funds homeland security R&D in several areas, including biodefense and chemical detection.

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