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Department of Homeland Security: Congress supports livestock research laboratory construction in Kansas

by Glenn Hess
February 3, 2014 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 92, Issue 5

The fiscal 2014 omnibus appropriations law includes $1.2 billion for the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) main research arm, the Science & Technology Directorate (S&T). The amount is a $427 million increase over the 2013 postsequester funding level. The R&D appropriation is the largest DHS has received since fiscal 2009.

The omnibus law provides $404 million within S&T’s laboratory facilities account for the construction of the National Bio & Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF) in Manhattan, Kan., on Kansas State University’s campus. The allocation is more than 13 times as much as the $30.7 million the project received in 2013, signaling congressional support for this effort.

The new funding and previous federal expenditures combined with a $202 million commitment by the State of Kansas will cover about two-thirds of the facility’s estimated total cost of $1 billion. Congress will need to pass additional legislation to complete federal funding for the project, which is now expected to become operational in 2018.

Among other ongoing projects, the law designates $81 million for the implementation of standards aimed at preventing terrorists from gaining access to chemicals that can be converted into weapons of mass destruction. Funding for the six-year-old Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards, for which the White House had requested $85.8 million, is down from about $93 million it received in each of the past two years.

In addition, the omnibus legislation provides $285 million for the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office, $21 million below the 2013 postsequester amount. This includes $14 million for the purchase of portable radiation detectors for DHS personnel and $71 million for R&D of next-generation detection technologies.

The DHS appropriation also includes $85 million for the BioWatch program, which monitors the air in more than 30 large cities in an effort to detect pathogens that might signal a bioterrorist attack. The White House sought $91 million for BioWatch, which was already less than the $115 million the program received in 2013 post sequestration.



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