DIVVYING UP THE WORK | January 26, 2004 Issue - Vol. 82 Issue 4 | Chemical & Engineering News
Volume 82 Issue 4 | p. 14 | News of The Week
Issue Date: January 26, 2004


DOE national labs are assigned homeland security responsibilities
Department: Government & Policy, Science & Technology | Collection: Homeland Security

An internal memo from Maureen I. McCarthy, director of the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Research & Development (ORD), to the directors of eight Department of Energy national laboratories spells out how those labs will be used to support DHS's science and technology mission.

Shortly after DHS was organized, it was assumed that one DOE national lab, possibly Lawrence Livermore, would serve as the lead DHS national lab. This raised much consternation among the other national labs, which McCarthy has tried to assuage in her Dec. 17, 2003, memo.

To avoid "organizational conflicts of interest and inappropriate use of inside government information in responding to competitive solicitations open to the private sector," McCarthy has set up separate intramural and extramural programs and has assigned national labs to each.

For fiscal 2004, intramural programs will receive $120 million and are to be managed by McCarthy's ORD. These programs "are inherently the responsibility of the federal government," McCarthy says. They will include biological and radiological/nuclear countermeasures and threat and vulnerability testing and assessment, and will be undertaken by Lawrence Livermore, Los Alamos, Oak Ridge, Pacific Northwest, and Sandia National Labs. These labs have strong national security capabilities and are experienced in conducting classified research.

McCarthy says that eventually most of DHS's science and technology programs "will be extramural" and open to the private sector. Extramural programs will include rapid prototyping; chemical, radiological, and nuclear countermeasures; and cyber security. They will be managed by DHS's Homeland Security Advanced Research Projects Agency and Systems Engineering & Development.

In addition to industry, universities, and private research institutions, three other DOE national labs--Argonne, Brookhaven, and Idaho National Environmental & Engineering--and DOE contractor Bechtel Nevada will bid on extramural programs, which will be funded at $213 million in fiscal 2004. These labs "have strong capabilities to partner with the private sector," McCarthy explains.

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