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Homeland Security doles out research money

Homeland Security officials said Wednesday they are continuing to build technological capabilities to protect the country. Undersecretary for Science and Technology Charles McQueary told attendees at the 2005 Homeland and Global Security Summit that many systems have been procured — including sensors — but they still do not produce information in a timely manner. McQueary has about $1 billion to grant to homeland defense research in fiscal 2005 through the Homeland Security Advanced Research Projects Agency. Nearly 40 percent of that money, about $400 million, is being spent on biodefenses. So far, the agency has awarded 200 contracts out of 7,000 proposals. “We’ve had an enormous response,” McQueary said. One particularly tough area is interoperable communications for first responders in steel-framed buildings, like the World Trade Center, which was destroyed by the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. “It’s a hard problem,” he said. Another troublesome area is protecting against shoulder-fired missiles: “We don’t have a solution for it tomorrow,” he said. Full Story

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