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Making the Nation Safer: The Role of Science and Technology in Countering Terrorism
institute will be in the leveraging of expertise and results across the institute and in synergies from interactions between people working on different tasks or on the same tasks for different areas of vulnerability. Thus the responsibilities proposed for the institute should not be assigned to different organizations.
Recommendation 12.3: The administration and Congress should develop a transitional plan that allows the Homeland Security Institute described in Recommendation 12.2 to be created as quickly as possible.
The organization responsible for determining the administration’s national counterterrorism strategy will be the primary customer of the Homeland Security Institute; currently this is OHS. The technical nature of the institute’s responsibilities and outputs implies that OHS should rely heavily on OSTP for help in finding staff for the institute and assigning its tasks. However, to take full advantage of the institute, OHS will need some in-house technical and analytic expertise. In the longer term, if the new Department of Homeland Security is formed, the committee would expect that the institute would report to the department’s Undersecretary for Technology.
The Role of OSTP in the S&T Strategy for Homeland Security
OSTP is the only unit in the EOP with the capability to digest the S&T needs for counterterrorism and to interact with the science and technology community within and outside the federal government. Thus, OSTP has a critical role to play in support of OHS. As discussed above, OSTP will provide OHS with access to existing science and engineering expertise within the EOP and will help OHS staff and utilize the Homeland Security Institute. Mechanisms for cooperation between the OHS and OSTP are being developed; for example, a senior OSTP staff member is serving on the OHS staff and a memorandum of understanding is in place defining a cooperative relationship between OHS and OSTP. OSTP is clearly willing to provide OHS with as much assistance as possible; the present director has given homeland security a top priority in the work of OSTP, and he has asked the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) to give these issues priority attention as well.
More remains to be done, however, to ensure that OSTP is able to play its critical role in supporting OHS’s work. For example, OSTP needs to be able to tap the expertise of all relevant agencies—including those represented on the Homeland Security Council and other agencies responsible for science and technology research and development—to develop research priorities.
Recommendation 12.4: The Director of OSTP should lead an interagency process to develop the S&T research priorities for counterterrorism. These priorities should be responsive to and aligned with the overall counterterrorism agenda developed by OHS, and budget guidance should be pro-