Homeland Security:

Title III of the Homeland Security Act of 2002

GAO-02-927T: Published: Jul 9, 2002. Publicly Released: Jul 9, 2002.

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Title III of the proposed Department of Homeland Security legislation would task the new department with developing national policy and coordinating the federal government's research and development efforts for responding to chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear threats. It would also transfer to the new department responsibility for certain research and development programs and other activities, including those of the Department of Energy (DOE). If properly implemented, this proposed legislation could lead to a more efficient, effective and coordinated research effort that would provide technology to protect our people, borders, and critical infrastructure. However, the proposed legislation does not specify that a critical role of the new department will be to establish collaborative relationships with programs at all levels of government and to develop a strategic plan for research and development to implement the national policy it is charged with developing. In addition, the proposed legislation is not clear on the role of the new department in setting standards for the performance and interoperability of new technologies so that users can be confident that the technologies they are purchasing will perform as intended. Some of the proposed transfers of activities from DOE to the new department are appropriate, such as the DOE's nuclear threat assessment program and the Environmental Measurements Laboratory. However, the transfer of some DOE research and development activities may complicate research now being done to accomplish multiple purposes.

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