Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

February 16, 2006

DHS S&T budget discussed on the Hill

Filed under: Budgets and Spending,Congress and HLS,Technology for HLS — by Christian Beckner on February 16, 2006

DHS Undersecretary for Science and Technology (S&T) Charles McQueary spoke yesterday at a House Science Committee hearing on the S&T budget request for FY 2007. His prepared statement for the committee reveals a lot of additional information about the budget request in comparison with the documents released by DHS and OMB last week. The statement describes a number of S&T activities that have received little or no public attention until now. For example:

Completed and provided the FY 2006 Bioterrorism Risk Analysis to the Administration. This risk assessment, mandated by Homeland Security Presidential Directive (HSPD)-10, is targeted to inform national plans and priorities for biodefense investments and will be a helpful tool to guide DHS policymakers regarding the Department’s efforts to anticipate, prevent and respond to acts of bioterrorism.

This risk assessment has never before been mentioned publicly, as far as I can tell. Also:

Established the National Science and Technology Threat Awareness and Reachback (NSSTAR) system to provide real time, technical analysis and support to the homeland security community for anticipating, preventing, and responding to chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and high explosive (CBRNE) threats.

As of posting there are zero Google hits for this program.

Brought the Interagency Modeling and Atmospheric Analysis Center (IMAAC) to full operational capability. IMAAC integrates the Nation’s best modeling capabilities to provide accurate information to predict the movement and spread of the contaminate cloud in the event of a major disaster or terrorist attack, thereby saving lives and assisting with timely response decisions. This effort is in support of Federal, State, and local response organizations through the Homeland Security Operations Center (HSOC), serving as the dissemination point for the Department.

The IMAAC has been discussed publicly before; for example, see this DHS presentation from May 2005. But it’s receive very little attention for what seems like a very important capability for homeland security. Finally:

The S&T Directorate works in close cooperation and collaboration through a Cargo Security Integrated Planning Process Team (IPPT) process. The IPPT is co-chaired by S&T and the DHS Policy Office, and has representatives from within the Department as well as the Departments of State, Commerce, Defense, Transportation and Energy. Through this IPPT, DHS actively ensures coordination with existing government programs and leverages those relationships to foster a cohesive program strategy and avoid the duplication of effort.

Again, there are no prior hits for this Integrated Planning Process Team on the Internet.

I could go on, and pick a dozen other examples from the document of activities that until now have received little to no public scrutiny. Hopefully DHS S&T will disclose additional information in the months ahead and/or journalists will look into them.

For more information, a webcast of the hearing is archived here.

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