been documented in a variety of reports9 and is discussed further in the section on universities in Chapter 13.

A second problem with the current level of effort is its focus. Programs are tied to the existing missions of the agencies, as is appropriate. This means that while some of the R&D may be applicable to the technologies for homeland security, the present federal effort does not add up to the research and development program that is needed. In robotics, for example, NSF has long had a relatively small program conducted at several universities and focused on fundamental research. NASA has funded robotics R&D that supports its missions in space. DOD has invested heavily, through the individual armed services and DARPA, in unmanned aircraft for sensing and surveillance. Historically, DOE’s efforts in robotics have been associated with nuclear materials handling, although recently the agency’s laboratories have initiated some substantial programs that may contribute to improved homeland security in many ways. Private-sector investments in robotics follow a similar pattern—for example, the automotive companies are investing in robotic R&D that will support their production and assembly lines, and energy and water providers are developing robots useful for monitoring fuels pipelines and aqueducts. The work under way is productive and important new technologies are being developed, but even added together, these public and private investments will not produce robots that can be adapted and deployed for many purposes in homeland security—such as surveillance, detection, and postdisaster monitoring and recovery.

The same pattern—R&D investments that are significant but not directly focused on homeland security needs—exists in the other areas of crosscutting technologies and techniques discussed in this report. Each agency has molded its programs in the context of its own objectives.

The third problem with present R&D efforts in these fields is that the programs are directed to issues largely in the domain or purview of the federal government—defense, space, and nuclear security and stockpile maintenance being prototypical examples. The crosscutting R&D efforts that will serve home-


Data on and analysis of the federal budget for science and technology are available from a number of sources, including National Research Council, Board on Science, Technology, and Economic Policy, 2001, Trends in Federal Support of Research and Graduate Education, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C.; Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy, National Research Council, 2001, Observations on the President’s Fiscal Year 2002 Federal Science and Technology Budget, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C.; American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2001, AAAS Report XXVI: Research and Development FY 2002, American Association for the Advancement of Science, Washington, D.C.; American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2002, Congressional Action on Research and Development in the FY 2002 Budget, presentation materials from the Alliance for Science and Technology Research in America (ASTRA), Washington, D.C., available online at <>; and National Science Board, National Science Foundation, 2002, Science and Engineering Indicators—2002, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C.

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement