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Sheila J.
Democrat TX 18

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  • DHS Science and Technology Reform and Improvement Act of 2015

    by Representative Sheila Jackson Lee

    Posted on 2015-12-10

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    JACKSON LEE. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

    I rise to support H.R. 3578, the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Reform and Improvement Act of 2015.

    First, I want to say to the gentleman from Texas, thank you so very much for your leadership. Again, we have a great opportunity working together, along with your ranking member, Mr. Richmond, and the chairman of the full committee, Mr. McCaul, and, as well, Mr. Thompson. I believe we are continuously building blocks of security for the American people.

    Research and development is a key component of the Department of Homeland Security's mission to make America more secure and better able to prevent, respond to, and recover from natural disasters and terrorist acts.

    In the constantly evolving threat landscape, technology-based force multipliers are essential for managing our borders, safeguarding cyberspace, and making sure we are resilient in the face of disasters.

    H.R. 3578 will improve the way the Science and Technology Directorate serves its customers within the Department in the first responder community in three ways.

    Before I say that, let me indicate to the chairman, we understand that we are looking at generational gaps. Terrorists are young. People who wish to undermine the landscape of cybersecurity can use, if I might say, these young minds, these technocrats, to do things that we may have never heard of, so our system must be resilient.

    First, this bill requires S&T to engage in strategic planning and priority-setting exercises that will assist Congress in measuring the management effectiveness and utility of the research and technologies it funds. This kind of self-assessment will make S&T a more effective partner to its customers and will help make its program more efficient.

    Second, H.R. 3578 directs S&T to evaluate its university programs and collaborative agreements and assess its efforts to broaden outreach to diverse institutions, which may have a unique expertise to add to S&T's ongoing work.

    Given the current fiscal challenges, it is critical that we maximize the way we leverage the capabilities of knowledge-rich universities, and this provision will help S&T do just that. In fact, I believe that the universities are our richest source of talent, and not only for the researchers and the professors, but certainly the students who are young, who are there to do good, of whom we can utilize both their talents, their approach, and their intellect.

    Finally, the bill encourages carefully targeted venture capital investments in the homeland security enterprise that can accelerate product development and add mission critical capabilities quickly and efficiently.

    These targeted investments will help put better technologies into the hands of DHS boots-on-the-ground State and local first responders soon.

    Mr. Speaker, H.R. 3578 codifies existing practices at S&T that are working and will make S&T a stronger, more reliable partner in the homeland security mission.

    I encourage my colleagues to support this important bipartisan legislation, and, as well, I continue to look forward to working with this subcommittee, among others, to begin to look at the cyber space and the cybersecurity infrastructure.

    I reserve the balance of my time.

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