work with the federal agencies (through the National Science and Technology Council and the Homeland Security Council), and tap into the expert advice available from the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, from the federal S&T agencies, and from the S&T communities at large. OMB would support execution of the strategy, subject to the President’s direction and the many trade-offs that must be made with the rest of the federal government’s activities. This system is already in place to some extent, but for it to function most efficiently, OHS needs access to new analytical capabilities, OSTP should be strengthened, and closer linkages could be developed between all three offices.
Development of a strategy for harnessing science and technology to counter terrorism was not listed as one of OHS’s major responsibilities in the Executive Order16 creating OHS, notwithstanding the highly technical nature of much of the work. This Executive Order also fails to document a formal role for OSTP in homeland security, and the director of OSTP was not explicitly named as a participant in OHS activities. However, despite the absence of S&T and OSTP in the Executive Order, the importance of science and technology and the need for close collaboration between OHS and OSTP is evident to all parties; it is already being addressed to a certain extent through voluntary collaboration between Governor Tom Ridge, the director of OHS, and John Marburger, the director of OSTP.
As Congress and the administration move forward on a potential new Department of Homeland Security, they have a chance to create a structure and a culture in the new department that will allow science and technology to be used efficiently in counterterrorism programs.
Recommendation 12.1: An Undersecretary for Technology will be needed in the proposed new Department of Homeland Security to provide a focal point for guiding key research and technology development programs across the department, and most importantly, engaging commitments from the major science, engineering, and medical science agencies that will remain outside the proposed new department.
In addition, this undersecretary could work closely with OSTP, perhaps through the National Science and Technology Council, on coordinating those multiagency projects and their linkages to related programs devoted primarily to other high-priority national objectives. This undersecretary would have responsibility not only for homeland security-related technology, but also for all technical elements of the agencies that are located in the department. (For example, if