If theÂ Iraq supplemental billÂ (HR1591) becomes law, Congress will have added $400 million to theÂ DNDO bank for purchasing radiation portal monitorsÂ to be placed at weak points along the borders.Â This is in addition to the FY08 request in which DNDO’s overall budget is ~$500mil.Â
In the meantime, DHS moves forward with another outlay to accelerate the researchÂ side of the equation.Â Balancing the immediate needs for deployable technology and long-term needs for more effective nuclear defense capabilities is a difficult objective.Â Observers usually prefer that investments show a near-term payoff ($400mil for more RPMs that show up on the border within months), but the real payoff in which game-changing capabilities reduce the likelihood of an attack while supporting the other nuclear non-proliferation imperatives takes years.
This is today’s press release from DHS:
DHS AWARDS $8.8 MILLION FOR EXPLORATORY RESEARCH IN ADVANCED NUCLEAR DETECTION TECHNOLOGY
WASHINGTON â€“ The U.S. Department of Homeland Securityâ€™s (DHS) Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO) announced ten contract awards today totaling $8.8 million to nine companies that will perform exploratory research in advanced nuclear detection technology.Â The Exploratory Research Program is designed to transform nuclear detection technology by funding aggressive research and development that is unconstrained by pre-existing user expectations and initial technical risks.
The nine companies selected are: Alliant Techsystems Incorporated, Mission Research Division; Canberra; EIC Laboratories, Incorporated; General Electric Global Research Center (two awards); Physical Optics Corporation; Radiation Monitoring Devices, Incorporated; Rapiscan Systems Corporation; Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC); and Westinghouse Electric Company.
Each contract consists of multiple phases, including an advanced technology demonstration, before potentially transitioning to a systems development and acquisition program.Â Successful technologies will be deployed to provide port-of-entry (POE) and non-POE radiological and nuclear detection capability.
Earlier this year, DHS announced the award of Exploratory Research Cooperative Agreements with Academia totaling approximately $3.1 million to make significant advances in basic nuclear detection technology.Â Seven universities were awarded cooperative agreements: California Institute of Technology, Florida Institute of Technology, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, State University of New York at Stony Brook, University of Michigan, University of Nebraska at Lincoln, and Washington University.Â