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House Considers Rep. Clarke’s Bill H.R. 4842, Homeland Security Science and Technology Authorization Act of 2010

Today, the House of Representatives passed Rep. Yvette D. Clarke’s bill, H.R. 4842, Homeland Security Science and Technology Authorization Act of 2010 by voice vote. H.R. 4842 authorizes important management functions and programs within the Department of Homeland Security Science &Technology (S&T) Directorate. She released the following statement on the House Floor:

“Thank you for yielding Chairman, Thompson. There are hundreds of thousands of Americans who work day in and day out to protect our communities and our nation. They perform a wide range of services for the country – responding to emergencies, screening bags and cargo, watching our borders. They are outstanding public servants, and we thank them for their service.

“We know that without them, we are less secure. They know that without science and technology, they can’t accomplish their mission. So today we consider H.R. 4842 – to acknowledge the importance of science and technology research, development, testing, and evaluation to ensuring the safety and security of the American people and our nation.

“H.R. 4842, the ‘Homeland Security Science and Technology Authorization Act of 2010’ reauthorizes the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) and Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO) through fiscal year 2012.

“Since 2003, S&T has been responsible for developing technologies to address homeland security capability gaps, as identified by DHS and its operational components – most notably Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). DNDO was established in 2006 to develop detection technologies for nuclear and radiological devices—a high-consequence terrorist threat.

“This bipartisan legislation reauthorizes the activities of S&T and DNDO and puts these two DHS components on a path to greater effectiveness and efficiency by requiring strategic plans, benchmarking, and accountability systems.
“This legislation also authorizes critical management functions and programs within S&T, including the Securing the Cities program. The Securing the Cities program provides for a unified strategy for defending against radiological and nuclear threats which is important to New York City and other high risk terrorist threat urban areas.

“For nearly a year, Mr. Lungren and I worked with our colleagues on the committee to craft this bipartisan authorization bill which would ensure that the Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate has the right tools available to be successful. Success in this context means delivering products into the hands of our first responders, law enforcement officials, or critical infrastructure owners to help them achieve their mission and make America more secure.

“In conducting our review, we’ve examined the Homeland Security Act and the Department’s use of the authorities the Congress has vested in it. We have also received insight and information from DHS leadership, stakeholders, the R&D community, private sector leaders, and independent analysts.

“I believe that by reaching out to key stakeholders, we developed a very good bill that will authorize important management functions and programs within S&T Directorate, while emphasizing efficiency and cost savings.

“Within this legislation, we:

•Institutionalize the process by which research and development is identified, prioritized, and funded within DHS;

•Emphasize the importance of strategic planning, and require DHS S&T to do so every two years;

•Establish training programs for developing technology requirements at DHS;

•Authorize an Office of Testing and Evaluation, designed to prevent problems that occurred in major acquisition programs like SBInet—the infamous ‘virtual fence’; which will help curb wasteful spending in the department.

•Create an Office of Public/Private Partnerships and establish within S&T a streamlined review process for unsolicited proposals;

•Authorize twice the current amount of funding for cybersecurity R&D;

•Explore alternatives for A-S-P technologies for detecting nuclear and radiological materials; and

•Affirm the Committee’s support for University Programs and small businesses.

“I look forward to discussing these and other matters with my colleagues today. I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to vote in favor of the bill and yield back the remainder of my time.