The High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP) is a $290 million facility. At the workshop, Robert McCoy informed participants that the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) has been spending a total of $7.5 million per year to run HAARP, a number that includes operations and maintenance (O&M) and research dollars. The O&M alone is estimated to be $3 million and the fuel costs are very dependent on the number of hours the heater is operated. Participants were informed by a HAARP user that the cost of sustaining HAARP is probably between $4 million and $5 million. Even though the Department of Defense (DOD) classifies it as a 6.1 (Basic Research) facility, HAARP is funded by AFRL with 6.2 or 6.3 dollars.1 Options to lower costs and/or develop a pay-per-use approach to operations were also mentioned. Participants were also informed that the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) BRIOCHE program currently supports research at $3 million for 18 months and spends $1 million per year on HAARP operational costs.
The following is taken from individual comments made at the workshop:
• The cost of moving the Poker Flat Incoherent Scatter Radar (PFISR) to Gakona, Alaska, is estimated to be $700,000 to $1 million. This number is based on “ROM costing”—rough order of magnitude—by SRI.
• The National Science Foundation (NSF) has stated that they would help with moving costs provided that a large fraction of the move (greater than 60 percent) is paid for from other sources. DARPA was said to be considering contributing some $250,000 to the cost of the move.
• NSF also stated that they would pay the operating costs for PFISR at HAARP; however, this assumes that the facility is run at high power no more than about 2,000 hours per year. Power at HAARP is generated onsite and is thought to be cheaper than power at Poker Flat.
• The construction of a horizontal structure for a HAARP Advanced Modular Incoherent Scatter Radar (AMISR) at Gakona, Alaska, was costed by Marsh Creek at $200,000.
Colonel John Haynes stated that were no remediation costs associated with HAARP under the bill of sale. However, workshop participants also were informed of an environmental impact statement, recently signed-off by the Secretary of the Air Force, that states that at such time that the HAARP program is terminated, all structures are to be removed, gravel pads are to be flattened out, and the entire
1 As noted in Chapter 6, the code 6.2 refers to Applied Research, and 6.3 to Advanced Technology Development (6.3), from Koizumi (2005).
site is to be covered in dirt and re-grassed with the local vegetation. At the meeting, a cost number of $15 million was mentioned by one official as a good starting estimate for this remediation.
As noted above, one of the upgrades to HAARP mentioned at the meeting would allow operation as a high-frequency (HF) radar. Todd Pedersen stated that if the receiver array were set up like the new Long Wavelength Array (LWA) near the Very Large Array (VLA) in New Mexico, it would cost about $1 million, which would fit within the threshold for a DOD “Phase II” SBIR (Small Business Innovation Research) award.
The following are potential funding opportunities through NSF grants that some participants suggested could be used as possible avenues of support for the continuation of the HAARP program. Questions about what percentage of these grants can be used to support operating costs were not addressed at the workshop.
• The NSF Science and Technology Center (STC) program, now up to $5 million per year, supports integrated science, technology, education, knowledge transfer, and diversity. A workshop participant noted than an STC needs a strong and compelling science focus; for example, biophotonics, nanotechnology, space weather, or networked sensors.2
• The Engineering Research Center (ERC) program offers grants as large as $20 million or more and supports centers that promote a “culture in engineering research and education that integrates discovery with technological innovation to advance technology and produce graduates who will be creative U.S. innovators in a globally competitive economy…. [The centers are] comprised of a university program and a pre-college program. The university education mission of an ERC is to prepare students for effective practice in industry and to enhance their capacity for creative and innovative leadership throughout their careers. The pre-college education mission rests on long-term partnerships with K-12 institutions to expose teachers to engineering and deliver engineering concepts and experiences to their classrooms to stimulate student interest in engineering careers.”3
• The Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) program office supports infrastructure in EPSCoR jurisdiction states. Alaska is one, and Puerto Rico is another. These are large awards—more than a million dollars per year. EPSCoR also supports projects that are collaborations between two EPSCoR jurisdictions; for example, Alaska and Puerto Rico.
Koizumi, K. 2005. “R&D in the FY 2005 Department of Defense Budget.” Chapter 6 in AAAS Report XXX: Research and Development FY 2005. American Association for the Advancement of Science. Available at http://www.aaas.org/spp/rd/05pch6.htm.
3 National Science Foundation, Engineering Research Centers, available at http://www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=5502.