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Making the Nation Safer: The Role of Science and Technology in Countering Terrorism
assurance of its consistent interpretation across the agencies need more work. Categories like “critical infrastructure protection” are not distinct from “counterterrorism,” so that the funding representation is not unique. Further refinement of the budgeting process at all stages, together with tighter coordination within the EOP, will help assure the coherence of agency programs and their conformity with Presidential priorities. OMB must also work with and support OSTP in coordinating agency activities and offering budget guidance.
Recommendation 12.5: OMB’s Annual Report to Congress on Combating Terrorism should include a description of progress toward achieving the goals of the S&T agenda for countering terrorism as well as actual budget appropriations in suitable activity categories and by agency. In addition, OMB should prepare and issue jointly with OSTP an annual budget crosscut describing how the present and proposed budgets reflect the S&T priorities for countering terrorism. A joint letter would be transmitted to Congress, with the budget proposed the following January.
Enhancing the Importance of S&T in the Homeland Security Council
The same Executive Order that created OHS also formed the Homeland Security Council (HSC), which is responsible for advising the President on homeland security and coordinating and executing the nation’s corresponding strategy. The members of the HSC are the President, the Vice President, the Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of Defense, the Attorney General, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, the Secretary of Transportation, the Director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, and the Director of the Office of Homeland Security.
This list does not include the Secretary of Energy and the Secretary of Commerce, who are only invited to “meetings pertaining to their responsibilities.” But the Department of Energy has responsibility for a $6 billion physical science and technology program. It is the steward of the national laboratory system within which much of the critical research and testing capability of the country resides. DOE, through the National Nuclear Security Administration, also has stewardship responsibility for the nation’s nuclear stockpile, which is critical to international control of nuclear weapons-grade material. The Department of Commerce, among its other responsibilities, is home for the National Institute of Science and Technology. NIST undertakes critical testing and standards-development activities that can enable the early deployment of technologies to counter terrorism for use by federal agencies, local first responders, and the private sector. Both the Department of Energy and the Department of Commerce clearly have critical roles to play in the defense of the homeland and in counterterrorism activities in general.