U.S. Response II: Homeland Security Department Set to Become Major Federal Research Funding Source

By Mike Nartker
Global Security Newswire
From the Tuesday, August 19, 2003 issue.

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Homeland Security Department is set to become one of the largest sources of federal research funding in fiscal 2004, according to a report released today by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (see GSN, July 28).

The report examines the funding allocated for research and development efforts at various U.S. agencies in the appropriations bills completed by the House of Representatives and Senate.  The organization found that most of the planned increases in funding would go toward three U.S. agencies most involved in homeland security efforts — the Defense Department, Homeland Security and the National Institutes of Health — leaving other agencies with little additional funding.

Kei Koizumi, director of the AAAS R&D Budget and Policy Program, called the planned funding levels “lopsided.”

“Clearly, investment in the federal R&D under the current plan is more lopsided than AAAS would like to see,” Koizumi said in a press release.

The House has allocated more than $125 billion in fiscal 2004 for federal research and development efforts, an $8.4 billion increase over current funding and $3.6 billion more than the Bush administration’s request, according to the report.  Of that $8.4 billion increase, however, 99 percent is set to go to the Pentagon, Homeland Security and the NIH, the report says.  While the Senate has not completed its work on all 13 appropriations bills, it has closely followed the House on those bills it has completed, the report says.

The House has allocated $1.1 billion to the Homeland Security Department in fiscal 2004, a 60 percent over current funding, according to the report. The House has allocated $890 million in fiscal 2004 and approximately $6 billion over the next 10 years for Project Bioshield, a Bush administration effort to encourage research into new vaccines and treatments against biological weapons agents.  The House has also provided $900 million in research funding for Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate, the report said. 

The Senate has allocated approximately $1 billion for Homeland Security research and development efforts in fiscal 2004, an increase of approximately 50 percent, the report said.  The largest difference between the House and the Senate is that the Senate has not provided funding for Project Bioshield, according to the report.

The Pentagon is set to receive $66 billion for research and development efforts in fiscal 2004, an increase of more than $7 billion over current funding, the report said.  Most of the additional funding will go toward Pentagon weapons development programs, such as missile-defense efforts, it said.  The Senate has allocated slightly less for Pentagon research and development and science and technology, the report said.

In its appropriations bills, the House has provided the NIH with a total budget of approximately $28 billion, an increase of approximately 3 percent over fiscal 2003, the report said.  This comes after five years of annual 15 percent budgetary increases, it said. The Senate has allocated more than $28 billion to the NIH in its appropriations bills, an increase of approximately 4 percent. 

Both the House and the Senate have fulfilled the Bush administration’s funding request of $4.3 billion for the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the lead NIH center for biological defense research, the report said, adding that this represents a 17 percent increase over fiscal 2003.  In contrast, most other NIH institutes would only receive increases between 2 and 4 percent, it said.

While most of the increased research funding allocated in fiscal 2004 is set to go toward homeland security-related efforts, all other domestic research and development projects will be left with relatively constant funding levels, the report said.  The House has allocated $55.4 billion for other research and development efforts, an increase of approximately 2 percent, which falls behind expected inflation, it said. Even though some U.S. agencies would receive research-funding increases, they would be balanced by cuts in other agencies, such as the Agriculture, Commerce and Transportation departments, according to the report.