oversight

Department of Homeland Security: Oversight and Coordination of Research and Development Should Be Strengthened

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 2012-09-12.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

                 United States Government Accountability Office

GAO              Report to Congressional Requesters




September 2012
                 DEPARTMENT OF
                 HOMELAND
                 SECURITY
                 Oversight and
                 Coordination of
                 Research and
                 Development Should
                 Be Strengthened




GAO-12-837
                                              September 2012

                                              DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY
                                              Oversight And Coordination of Research and
                                              Development Should Be Strengthened
Highlights of GAO-12-837, a report to
congressional requesters




Why GAO Did This Study                        What GAO Found
Conducting R&D on technologies for            The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) does not know the total amount its
detecting, preventing, and mitigating         components invest in research and development (R&D) and does not have
terrorist threats is vital to enhancing       policies and guidance for defining R&D and overseeing R&D resources across
the security of the nation. Since its         the department. According to DHS, its Science & Technology Directorate (S&T),
creation, DHS has spent billions of           Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO), and U. S. Coast Guard are the only
dollars researching and developing            components that conduct R&D and, according to GAO’s analysis, these are the
technologies used to support its              only components that report budget authority, obligations, or outlays for R&D
missions including securing the border,       activities to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) as part of the budget
detecting nuclear devices, and
                                              process. However, GAO identified an additional $255 million in R&D obligations
screening airline passengers and
                                              by other DHS components. For example, S&T reported receiving $50 million in
baggage for explosives, among others.
Within DHS, S&T conducts R&D and is
                                              reimbursements from other DHS components to conduct R&D. Further, 10
the component responsible for                 components obligated $55 million for R&D contracts to third parties and $151
coordinating R&D across the                   million to Department of Energy (DOE) national laboratories for R&D-related
department, but other components,             projects, but these were not reported as R&D to OMB. According to DHS, it is
such as the Coast Guard and DNDO,             difficult to identify all R&D investments across the department because DHS
also conduct R&D to support their             does not have a department wide policy defining R&D or guidance directing
respective missions. GAO was asked            components how to report all R&D spending and activities. As a result, it is
to identify (1) how much DHS invests          difficult for DHS to oversee components’ R&D efforts and align them with agency
in R&D and the extent to which DHS            wide R&D goals and priorities. Developing specific policies and guidance could
has policies and guidance for defining        assist DHS components in better understanding how to report R&D activities,
R&D and overseeing R&D resources              and better position DHS to determine how much the agency invests in R&D to
and efforts across the department, and        effectively oversee these investments.
(2) the extent to which R&D is
coordinated within DHS to prevent             S&T has taken some steps to coordinate R&D efforts across DHS, but the
overlap, fragmentation, or unnecessary        department's R&D efforts are fragmented and overlapping, which increases the
duplication. GAO reviewed information         risk of unnecessary duplication. R&D at DHS is inherently fragmented because
on DHS R&D budgets, contracts, and            S&T, the Coast Guard, and DNDO were each given R&D responsibilities in law,
DHS spending on R&D at DOE                    and other DHS components may pursue and conduct their own R&D efforts as
national laboratories for fiscal years        long as those activities are coordinated through S&T. S&T uses various
2010 through 2012. GAO also                   mechanisms to coordinate its R&D efforts including component liaisons,
reviewed DHS R&D plans and project            component R&D agreements, joint R&D strategies, and integrated R&D product
documentation, and interviewed DHS            teams composed of S&T and component officials. However, GAO identified 35
headquarters and component officials.         instances of overlap among contracts that DHS components awarded for R&D
                                              projects. For example, S&T and the Transportation Security Administration both
What GAO Recommends
                                              awarded overlapping contracts to different vendors to develop advanced
GAO recommends that DHS develop               algorithms to detect the same type of explosive. While GAO did not identify
policies and guidance for defining,           instances of unnecessary duplication among these contracts, DHS has not
reporting and coordinating R&D                developed a policy defining who is responsible for coordinating R&D and what
activities across the department; and         processes should be used to coordinate it, and does not have mechanisms to
that DHS establish a mechanism to             track all R&D activities at DHS that could help prevent overlap, fragmentation, or
track R&D projects. DHS concurred             unnecessary duplication. For example, S&T did not track homeland security-
with GAO’s recommendations.                   related R&D activities that DHS components contracted through DOE national
                                              laboratories from fiscal year 2010 through 2013; thus, it could not provide
                                              information on those contracts. Developing a policy defining the roles and
                                              responsibilities for coordinating R&D, and establishing coordination processes
View GAO-12-837. For more information,        and a mechanism to track all R&D projects could help DHS mitigate existing
contact David C.Maurer at (202) 512-9627 or   fragmentation and overlap, and reduce the risk of unnecessary duplication.
maurerd@gao.gov.

                                                                                      United States Government Accountability Office
Contents


Letter                                                                                   1
               Background                                                                6
               DHS Does Not Know Its Total Investment in R&D, and Policies and
                 Guidance Could Help Define and Oversee R&D Efforts                    10
               S&T Coordinates Some R&D at DHS, but DHS R&D Is Fragmented
                 and Overlapping, Increasing the Risk of Unnecessary
                 Duplication                                                           18
               Conclusions                                                             29
               Recommendations for Executive Action                                    30
               Agency Comments and Our Evaluation                                      30

Appendix I     Objectives, Scope, and Methodology                                       32



Appendix II    Federal Government Definitions of Research and Development               36



Appendix III   Department of Homeland Security Research and Development
               Obligations, Fiscal Year 2011                                            37



Appendix IV    Role of Research and Development in Supporting the Department of
               Homeland Security Acquisition Life Cycle                                 38



Appendix V     Comments from the Department of Homeland Security                        39



Appendix VI    GAO Contact and Staff Acknowledgments                                    42



Figures
               Figure 1: DHS R&D Budget Authority and Outlays, Fiscal Years
                        2010 through 2013                                              12
               Figure 2: DHS R&D Obligations, Fiscal Year 2011                         14




               Page i                               GAO-12-837 DHS Research and Development
Figure 3: Avenues for Components to Engage in Department of
         Homeland Security’s (DHS) Research and Development
         (R&D) Activities                                             26


Abbreviations

ASOA         Acquisition Support and Operations Analysis
ATD          Advanced Technology Development
CBP          U.S. Customs and Border Protection
CFO          Chief Financial Officer
C-TPAT       Customs Trade Partners Against Terrorism
DHS          Department of Homeland Security
DNDO         Domestic Nuclear Detection Office
DOD          Department of Defense
DOE          Department of Energy
FAR          Federal Acquisitions Regulation
FEMA         Federal Emergency Management Agency
FFAS         Federal Financial Accounting Standards
FMR          Financial Management Regulation
FPDS-NG      Federal Procurement Data System Next Generation
FRG          First Responder Group
HSARPA       Homeland Security Advanced Research Projects Agency
ICE          U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
IED          Improvised Explosive Device
IPT          Integrated Product Team
NAPA         National Academy of Public Administration
NASA         National Aeronautical and Space Administration
NPPD         National Protection and Programs Directorate
NSF          National Science Foundation
OHA          Office of Health Affairs
OMB          Office of Management and Budget
ONL          Office of National Laboratories
OSTP         Office of Science and Technology Policy
PARM         Program Accountability and Risk Management
R&D          research and development
RDT&E        Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation
S&T          Science and Technology Directorate
SDD          System Development and Demonstration
STICs        Science and Technology Investment Councils
STORE        Science and Technology Operational Research and
             Enhancement
TSA          Transportation Security Administration
TTA          technology transition agreements
USCIS        U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services



Page ii                            GAO-12-837 DHS Research and Development
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Page iii                                       GAO-12-837 DHS Research and Development
United States Government Accountability Office
Washington, DC 20548




                                   September 12, 2012

                                   The Honorable Joseph I. Lieberman
                                   Chairman
                                   The Honorable Susan Collins
                                   Ranking Member
                                   Committee on Homeland Security
                                       and Governmental Affairs
                                   United States Senate

                                   The Honorable Daniel Akaka
                                   Chairman
                                   Subcommittee on Oversight of Government
                                       Management, the Federal Workforce,
                                       and the District of Columbia
                                   Committee on Homeland Security
                                       and Governmental Affairs
                                   United States Senate

                                   Conducting research and development (R&D) on technologies for
                                   detecting, preventing, and mitigating terrorist threats is vital to enhancing
                                   the security of the nation. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
                                   conducts research, development, testing, and evaluation of new
                                   technologies that are intended to strengthen the United States’ ability to
                                   prevent and respond to nuclear, biological, explosive, and other types of
                                   attacks within the United States. The department’s Science and
                                   Technology (S&T) Directorate conducts research, development,
                                   demonstration, testing, and evaluation activities and also has
                                   responsibility for coordinating and integrating all such activities of the
                                   department, as provided by the Homeland Security Act of 2002. 1
                                   Although S&T conducts R&D and has responsibility for coordinating R&D,
                                   other DHS components, including the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office
                                   (DNDO) and the U. S. Coast Guard, conduct R&D in support of their
                                   respective missions.




                                   1
                                    Pub. L. No. 107-296, § 302,116 Stat. 2135, 2163-64 (codified as amended at 6 U.S.C. §
                                   182).




                                   Page 1                                       GAO-12-837 DHS Research and Development
Since it began operations in 2003, DHS, through both S&T and other
components, has spent billions of dollars researching and developing
technologies used to support a wide range of missions, including securing
the border, detecting nuclear devices, and screening airline passengers
and baggage for explosives, among others. In May 2004, we reported
that DHS had not completed a strategic plan to identify priorities, goals,
objectives, and policies for the R&D of homeland security technologies,
and gaps remained in its efforts to coordinate with other federal agencies
that conduct homeland security R&D. 2 We recommended that DHS
complete a strategic R&D plan and ensure that the plan was integrated
with homeland security R&D conducted by other federal agencies. DHS
agreed with our recommendation but has not yet implemented it. In June
2009, the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA) reported on
S&T’s structure, processes, and the execution of its cross-government
leadership role. 3 NAPA reported that although S&T was charged by
statute to provide a leading role in guiding homeland-security related
research, S&T has no authority over other federal agencies that conduct
homeland-security related research, and was in a relatively weak position
to carry out its leadership role. NAPA further reported that the
weaknesses in S&T’s strategic planning increased the risk for duplication
of efforts and recommended, among other things, that S&T follow the
Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and GAO guidance in
formulating a strategic plan to guide its work. In July 2012, S&T provided
a draft strategy that identifies the roles and responsibilities for
coordinating homeland security science and technology related functions
across the U.S. government to the White House’s Office of Science &
Technology Policy for review, but the White House had not yet approved
that draft. 4

In November 2011, we reported that while S&T developed a 5-year R&D
plan in 2008 to guide its efforts and was finalizing a new strategic plan to
align its own R&D investments and goals, DHS had not yet completed a



2
 GAO, Homeland Security: DHS Needs a Strategy to Use DOE’s Laboratories for
Research on Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical Detection and Response Technologies,
GAO-04-653 (Washington, D.C.: May 24, 2004).
3
 National Academy of Public Administration, Department of Homeland Security Science
and Technology Directorate: Developing Technology to Protect America (Washington
D.C.: June 2009).
4
We did not review this draft strategy as part of our work on DHS R&D efforts.




Page 2                                       GAO-12-837 DHS Research and Development
strategic plan to align all R&D efforts across the department, as we
previously recommended in 2004. 5 We also reported that S&T had
undertaken a series of efforts related to its organizational structure and
underwent a new strategic planning process, developed new strategic
goals, and conducted a reorganization intended to better achieve its
strategic goals as a result of the NAPA study. We also reported that these
efforts had only recently been initiated, so it was too early to assess their
effectiveness. 6

Not having a department-wide strategy for managing R&D has raised
questions about the extent to which R&D investments and efforts are
being overseen and coordinated effectively across DHS. As a result, you
requested that we conduct a review to determine how DHS oversees
R&D resources and coordinates R&D efforts across the department.
Specifically, this report addresses the following two questions:

1. How much does DHS invest in R&D and to what extent does it have
   policies and guidance for defining R&D and overseeing R&D
   resources and efforts across the department?

2. To what extent is R&D coordinated within DHS to prevent overlap,
   fragmentation, and unnecessary duplication across the department? 7

To determine how much DHS invests in R&D and the extent to which it
has policies and guidance for defining R&D and overseeing R&D
resources, we reviewed DHS’s budget and congressional budget
justifications to identify R&D investments reported from fiscal years 2011
through 2013. To identify DHS’s reported R&D budget authority, we
analyzed R&D budget authority included in budget submissions to OMB




5
 GAO, DHS Research and Development: Science and Technology Directorate’s Test and
Evaluation and Reorganization Efforts, GAO-12-239T, (Washington, D.C.: Nov. 17, 2011).
6
 We did not assess the effectiveness of S&T’s strategic planning process or
reorganization as part of this review.
7
 Fragmentation occurs when more than one federal agency (or more than one
organization within an agency) is involved in the same broad area of national interest.
Overlap occurs when programs have similar goals, devise similar strategies and activities
to achieve those goals, or target similar users. Duplication occurs when two or more
agencies or programs are engaged in the same activities or provide the same services to
the same beneficiaries.




Page 3                                        GAO-12-837 DHS Research and Development
from fiscal years 2010 through 2013. 8 We also analyzed S&T, DNDO,
and Coast Guard budgets to identify budget authority for R&D activities in
non-R&D budget accounts. Further, we analyzed data from the Federal
Procurement Data System Next Generation (FPDS-NG) to identify DHS
R&D-related contracts for fiscal years 2007 through 2011. We also
obtained data from the Department of Energy’s (DOE) national
laboratories from fiscal years 2010 through 2012 to identify how much
DHS components obligated for R&D-related work at the national
laboratories. We assessed the reliability of the data we used by
reconciling it with published data, and interviewing officials responsible for
overseeing the relevant data systems about, among other things,
applicable quality control procedures to maintain the integrity of the data.
We determined that these data were sufficiently reliable for the purposes
of this report. Further, we interviewed S&T, Coast Guard, and DNDO
budget officials to determine what portions of their budgets would
appropriately capture total R&D activities, as well as DHS budget officials
to discuss R&D spending, how DHS oversees R&D funding, and DHS’s
policies and guidance related to defining, overseeing, and coordinating
R&D efforts. We also interviewed other DHS component officials to
discuss the extent to which components conducted R&D, captured R&D
activities in their budgets, and coordinated with S&T. We compared DHS
efforts to develop policies and guidance with GAO’s Standards for
Internal Control in the Federal Government. 9

To determine the extent to which R&D is coordinated within DHS to
prevent overlap, fragmentation, and unnecessary duplication, we
reviewed data on about 15,000 federal procurement contract actions
coded as R&D in FPDS-NG made by DHS components from fiscal years
2007 through 2011 to identify contracts that were overlapping or
duplicative of other contracts issued by different components. 10 We
selected 50 R&D contracts that appeared to contain overlap and
interviewed the officials of the six components that issued them to discuss
the nature of those contracts. We could not determine the full extent of


8
 Budget authority is authority provided by federal law to enter into financial obligations that
will result in immediate or future outlays involving federal government funds.
9
 GAO, Standards for Internal Control in the Federal Government, GAO/AIMD-00-21.3.1
(Washington, D.C.: Nov. 1999).
10
  This was the total number of DHS contract actions taken from fiscal years 2007 through
2011.




Page 4                                           GAO-12-837 DHS Research and Development
duplication or overlap occurring in the department, because, among other
things, the FPDS-NG data system captures only a portion of the total
R&D activities occurring at DHS. We also used our past work on
fragmentation, overlap, and duplication across the federal government, 11
Standards for Internal Control in the Federal Government, 12 and our prior
work related to federal collaboration to assess DHS’s coordination of R&D
across the department. 13 We also interviewed S&T leadership, technical
division directors, and DHS component officials to discuss S&T and
DHS’s R&D coordination processes. More details on our scope and
methodology can be found in appendix I.

We conducted this performance audit from September 2011 through
September 2012 in accordance with generally accepted government
auditing standards. Those standards require that we plan and perform the
audit to obtain sufficient, appropriate evidence to provide a reasonable
basis for our findings and conclusions based on our audit objectives. We
believe that the evidence obtained provides a reasonable basis for our
findings and conclusions based on our audit objectives.




11
   GAO, 2012 Annual Report: Opportunities to Reduce Duplication, Overlap and
Fragmentation, Achieve Savings, and Enhance Revenue, GAO-12-342SP (Washington,
D.C.: Feb. 28, 2012); Follow-up on 2011 Report: Status of Actions Taken to Reduce
Duplication, Overlap, and Fragmentation, Save Tax Dollars, and Enhance Revenue,
GAO-12-453SP (Washington, D.C.: Feb. 28, 2012); Employment for People with
Disabilities: Little Is Known about the Effectiveness of Fragmented and Overlapping
Programs, GAO-12-677 (Washington, D.C.: June 29, 2012); and Justice Grant Programs:
DOJ Should Do More to Reduce the Risk of Unnecessary Duplication and Enhance
Program Assessment, GAO-12-517 (Washington, D.C.: July 12, 2012).
12
 GAO/AIMD-00-21.3.1.
13
  GAO, Results-Oriented Government: Practices That Can Help Enhance and Sustain
Collaboration among Federal Agencies, GAO-06-15 (Washington, D.C.: Oct. 21, 2005);
Cybersecurity: Key Challenges Need to Be Addressed to Improve Research and
Development, GAO-10-466 (Washington, D.C.: June 3, 2010) and Homeland Security:
DHS Needs a Strategy to Use DOE’s Laboratories for Research on Nuclear, Biological,
and Chemical Detection and Response Technologies, GAO-04-653 (Washington, D.C.:
May 24, 2004).




Page 5                                      GAO-12-837 DHS Research and Development
Background
Definition of R&D in the   OMB requires agencies to submit data on R&D programs as part of their
Federal Government         annual budget submissions. Specifically, agencies are to provide data on
                           investments for basic research, applied research, development, R&D
                           facilities construction, and major equipment for R&D. OMB provides one
                           definition of R&D that all federal agencies are to use to prepare budget
                           estimates (see app. II for a list of federal R&D definitions). According to
                           OMB, R&D activities comprise creative work undertaken on a systematic
                           basis in order to increase the stock of knowledge, including knowledge of
                           man, culture, and society, and the use of this stock of knowledge to
                           devise new applications. 14 R&D is further broken down into the following
                           three stages, as defined by OMB. 15

                           •    Basic research is a systematic study directed toward a fuller
                                knowledge or understanding of the fundamental aspects of
                                phenomena and of observable facts without specific applications
                                towards processes or products in mind.

                           •    Applied research is a systematic study to gain knowledge or
                                understanding to determine the means by which a recognized and
                                specific need may be met.


                           •    Development is a systematic application of knowledge or
                                understanding, directed toward the production of useful materials,
                                devices, and systems or methods, including design, development, and
                                improvement of prototypes and new processes to meet specific
                                requirements.




                           14
                             OMB Circular No. A-11 Section 84.4. This definition includes administrative expenses
                           for R&D, but excludes physical assets for R&D (such as R&D equipment and facilities),
                           routine testing, quality control mapping, collection of general-purpose statistics,
                           experimental production, routine monitoring and evaluation of an operational program and
                           the training of scientific and technical personnel.
                           15
                             OMB Circular No. A-11 Section 84 Character Classification (Schedule C) (2011). OMB
                           has used these or similar categories in its collection of R&D data since 1949 (OMB, Fiscal
                           Year 2013 Analytical Perspectives, 2013 Budget of the U.S. Government, pg. 368).




                           Page 6                                        GAO-12-837 DHS Research and Development
DHS R&D Investment   There are several mechanisms by which agencies such as DHS are
                     required to report their investments in R&D, and investments can be
                     described in the following ways:

                     •    Budget authority is the legal authorization to obligate funds.

                     •    Obligations are binding agreements for the government to make a
                          payment (outlay) for goods and services ordered or received.

                     •    Outlays are payments to liquidate obligations and represent the
                          amount actually expended.

                     For R&D activities, OMB directs agencies to submit information on budget
                     authority and outlays for each year. Because the executive branch and
                     Congress generally make budget decisions in terms of budget authority,
                     budget authority can provide insight into relative priorities within the
                     annual budget process and changes in budget policies. 16 Agencies report
                     obligation data to OMB by object classification. Object classes are
                     categories that present obligations for items or services purchased
                     according to their initial purpose. For R&D-related obligations, OMB has a
                     separate category for R&D contracts (object class 25.5). OMB also
                     includes some advisory and assistance services for R&D in a separate
                     object class category (object class 25.1). 17

                     DHS is one of nine federal agencies that reported a total of $5 billion in
                     budget authority in fiscal year 2011 for homeland security R&D. 18
                     According to DHS, S&T, DNDO, and the Coast Guard are the three
                     components that conduct R&D within the department, with S&T by far



                     16
                       GAO, Budget Account Structure: A Descriptive Overview, GAO/AIMD-95-179
                     (Washington, D.C.: Sept 18, 1995).
                     17
                       GAO has reported in the past that using object class data is not reliable because the
                     categories are not mutually exclusive. GAO, Budget Object Classification: Origins and
                     Recent Trends, GAO/AIMD-94-147 (Washington, D.C.: Sept 13, 1994). Although OMB
                     defines a separate category for R&D contracts (25.5), there is some overlap with the
                     Advisory Services category (25.1). OMB object class 25.1 for advisory and assistance
                     services is not exclusive to R&D and can be used for other types of services.
                     18
                      The other agencies conducting homeland security R&D included the Departments of
                     Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Energy, and Health and Human Services; the National
                     Aeronautical and Space Administration; the Environmental Protection Agency; and the
                     National Science Foundation.




                     Page 7                                        GAO-12-837 DHS Research and Development
                          being the largest R&D entity. DHS reported $512 million in budget
                          authority and $752 million in outlays for R&D in fiscal year 2011. 19


R&D Roles and             The Homeland Security Act of 2002 established S&T within DHS and
Responsibilities at DHS   provided it with responsibility for, among other things:

                          •    conducting basic and applied research, development, demonstration,
                               and testing and evaluation activities relevant to any or all elements of
                               DHS;

                          •    establishing and administering the primary R&D activities of the
                               department, including the long-term research and development needs
                               and capabilities for all elements of the department; and

                          •    coordinating and integrating all research, development,
                               demonstration, testing, and evaluation activities of the department. 20

                          S&T has six technical divisions responsible for managing S&T’s R&D
                          portfolio and coordinating with other DHS components to identify R&D
                          priorities and needs. 21 As of September 2012, S&T had approximately 79
                          active R&D projects. Most of S&T’s R&D portfolio consists of applied and
                          development R&D projects for its DHS customers. It also conducts other
                          projects for additional customers, including other federal agencies, first
                          responders, and industry, among others.




                          19
                             Because outlays are payments to liquidate obligations, they may not occur in the same
                          fiscal year as the budget authority under which the obligation was made. As a result,
                          outlays generally do not equal budget authority in any given fiscal year. In addition, for the
                          purpose of this report, we do not include outlays or budget authority for R&D facilities.
                          20
                            Pub. L. No. 107-296, § 302, 116 Stat. 2135, 2163-64 (codified as amended at 6 U.S.C.
                          § 182).
                          21
                            These divisions are the Borders and Maritime Division, Chemical/Biological Defense
                          Division, Cyber Security Division, Explosives Division, Human Factors/ Behavioral
                          Sciences Division, and the Infrastructure Protection and Disaster Management Division.
                          In addition, S&T’s First Responder Group (FRG) identifies, validates, and facilitates the
                          fulfillment of first responder requirements through the use of existing and emerging
                          technologies, knowledge products, and the development of technical standards, according
                          to S&T FRG officials.




                          Page 8                                          GAO-12-837 DHS Research and Development
                          In addition to S&T, DNDO and the Coast Guard conduct R&D activities. 22
                          After its establishment in 2005, DNDO assumed responsibility from S&T
                          for certain nuclear and radiological R&D activities. DNDO is the primary
                          federal organization responsible for developing, acquiring, and supporting
                          the deployment of an enhanced domestic system to detect and report on
                          attempts to import, possess, store, transport, develop, or use an
                          unauthorized nuclear explosive device, fissile material, or radiological
                          material in the United States. 23 As of August 2012, DNDO officials
                          estimated that they have 30 R&D projects and plan to obligate $75.9
                          million for R&D in fiscal year 2012. According to Coast Guard officials, the
                          Coast Guard R&D Center conducts R&D projects to support the Coast
                          Guard’s priorities, primarily focusing on maritime safety-related projects.
                          As of August 2012, Coast Guard officials estimated that they have 60-70
                          applied research projects and have spent about $30 million on R&D in
                          fiscal year 2012 so far.


Our Work on               In 2010, Congress directed us to identify programs, agencies, offices, and
Fragmentation, Overlap,   initiatives with duplicative goals and activities within departments and
and Duplication           government-wide and report annually to Congress. 24 In March 2011 and
                          February 2012, we issued our first two annual reports to Congress in
                          response to this requirement. 25 The annual reports describe areas in
                          which we found evidence of fragmentation, overlap, or duplication among
                          federal programs. Using the framework established in our prior work on
                          addressing fragmentation, overlap, and duplication, we use the following
                          definitions for the purpose of assessing DHS’s R&D efforts:




                          22
                            DNDO was established by National Security Presidential Directive 43 - Homeland
                          Security Presidential Directive 14 and the Security and Accountability for Every Port Act of
                          2006 (SAFE Port Act). Pub. L. No. 109-347, § 501(a), 120 Stat. 1884, 1932 (codified at 6
                          U.S.C. § 591). When the Homeland Security Act of 2002 transferred Coast Guard to the
                          newly established DHS, it provided that the Coast Guard is to be maintained as a distinct
                          entity within the department and that the authorities, functions, and capabilities of the
                          Coast Guard to perform its missions are to be maintained intact. Pub. L. No. 107-296, §
                          888, 116 Stat. 2135, 2249 (codified at 6 U.S.C. § 468).
                          23
                           Pub. L. No. 109-347, § 501(a), 120 Stat. 1884, 1932 (2006) (codified at 6 U.S.C. § 592).
                          24
                           Pub. L. No. 111-139, § 21, 124 Stat. 29 (2010), 31 U.S.C. § 712 Note.
                          25
                            See GAO, Opportunities to Reduce Potential Duplication in Government Programs,
                          Save Tax Dollars, and Enhance Revenue, GAO-11-318SP (Washington, D.C.: March 1,
                          2011) and GAO-12-342SP.




                          Page 9                                         GAO-12-837 DHS Research and Development
                               •   Fragmentation occurs when more than one federal agency (or more
                                   than one organization within an agency) is involved in the same broad
                                   area of national interest.

                               •   Overlap occurs when multiple programs have similar goals, engage in
                                   similar activities or strategies to achieve those goals, or target similar
                                   beneficiaries. Overlap may result from statutory or other limitations
                                   beyond the agency’s control.

                               •   Duplication occurs when two or more agencies or programs are
                                   engaging in the same activities or providing the same services to the
                                   same beneficiaries.



DHS Does Not Know
Its Total Investment in
R&D, and Policies and
Guidance Could Help
Define and Oversee
R&D Efforts
DHS Does Not Know Its          DHS does not know how much all of its components invest in R&D,
Total Investment in R&D        making it difficult to oversee R&D efforts across the department.
                               According to DHS budget officials, S&T, DNDO, and the Coast Guard are
                               the only components that conduct R&D and, according to our analysis,
                               they are the only components that report budget authority, obligations, or
                               outlays for R&D activities to OMB as part of the budget process.
                               However, we identified an additional $255 million in R&D obligations by
                               other DHS components. Further, we found that DNDO did not report
                               certain R&D budget data to OMB, and R&D budget accounts include a
                               mix of R&D and non-R&D spending, further complicating DHS’s ability to
                               identify its total investment in R&D.

R&D Obligations Not Reported   Our analysis of the data that DHS submitted to OMB found that DHS’s
as R&D                         R&D obligations were underreported because other DHS components
                               obligated money for R&D contracts that were not reported to OMB as
                               R&D. Specifically, for fiscal year 2011, our analysis identified $255 million
                               in obligations for R&D that DHS did not report as R&D contracts in the
                               object classification tables. These obligations included DHS components



                               Page 10                                 GAO-12-837 DHS Research and Development
                         providing S&T with funding to conduct R&D on their behalf and
                         components obligating funds through contracts directly to industry,
                         universities, or with DOE’s national laboratories for R&D. Specifically:

                         •     S&T reported receiving $50 million in reimbursements from other DHS
                               components, such as U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the
                               Secret Service, the Office of Health Affairs, Customs and Border
                               Protection (CBP), and the Transportation Security Administration
                               (TSA) to conduct R&D projects. 26 These obligations were not
                               identified as R&D in these components’ budgets.

                         •     Our analysis identified 10 components, including CBP, TSA, U.S.
                               Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and the Federal
                               Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), that obligated
                               approximately $55 million for R&D contracts that were not reported as
                               R&D. 27

                         •     Our analysis identified that DHS components, outside of S&T, DNDO,
                               and the Coast Guard, obligated $151 million to DOE national
                               laboratories for R&D-related projects (44 percent of total DHS
                               spending at the national laboratories in fiscal year 2011). 28 For
                               example, the National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD)
                               obligated $83 million to DOE national laboratories in fiscal year 2011
                               (see app. III for R&D obligations by component).


R&D Outlays and Budget   Our analysis of the data that DHS submitted to OMB also showed that
Authority                DHS’s R&D budget authority and outlays were underreported because
                         DNDO did not properly report its R&D budget authority and outlays to
                         OMB for fiscal years 2010 through 2013. Specifically, for fiscal years
                         2010 through 2013, DHS underreported its total R&D budget authority by
                         at least $293 million and outlays for R&D by at least $282 million because
                         DNDO did not accurately report the data. 29 In fiscal year 2011, S&T and


                         26
                             This figure excludes reimbursements from DNDO and the Coast Guard to S&T.
                         27
                           We analyzed and identified DHS R&D contracts in FPDS-NG categorized as basic
                         research, applied research and exploratory development, and advanced development.
                         28
                             DHS provided data on obligations to DOE national laboratories.
                         29
                           DNDO budget officials told us that they accounted for their R&D spending in the object
                         class codes of Schedule O of MAX A-11, but did not enter it into Schedule C of MAX.
                         OMB reports the R&D budget authority and outlays from Schedule C.




                         Page 11                                        GAO-12-837 DHS Research and Development
                                       the Coast Guard reported $512 million in R&D budget authority and $752
                                       million in outlays, but DNDO did not report $56 million in R&D budget
                                       authority or $80 million in outlays. 30 DNDO officials gave us the data for
                                       the missing years as depicted in figure 1 along with S&T and Coast
                                       Guard data.

Figure 1: DHS R&D Budget Authority and Outlays, Fiscal Years 2010 through 2013




                                       Notes:

                                       Figures do not include spending on R&D facilities.

                                       Outlays are actual expenditure of funds and may occur many years after the funds were authorized
                                       and obligated.

                                       DNDO budget officials told us that they are aware of the omission and
                                       confirmed that the OMB submission will be corrected in fiscal year 2013.
                                       DHS budget officials agreed that DHS underreported its R&D spending



                                       30
                                         DNDO’s R&D budget authority for fiscal year 2011 does not include the funding for the
                                       DNDO Transformational and Applied Research (TAR) Programs because the TAR
                                       program had been proposed to be transferred to S&T, but the Department has since
                                       reexamined that position and TAR has remained in DNDO, as reflected in the fiscal year
                                       2012 and 2013 budgets.




                                       Page 12                                              GAO-12-837 DHS Research and Development
and when asked, could not provide a reason why the omission was not
flagged by DHS review.

In addition, within S&T, the Coast Guard, and DNDO, it is difficult to
identify all R&D funding because their R&D budget accounts fund both
R&D and non-R&D investments. For fiscal year 2011, we estimated that
78 percent of S&T’s Research, Development, Acquisition, & Operations
account, 51 percent of DNDO’s “Research, Development, & Operations”
account, and 43 percent of the Coast Guard’s R&D budget account fund
R&D activities. Figure 2 provides the various S&T, DNDO, and Coast
Guard budget accounts and budget activities and what percentage of
each account was obligated for R&D in fiscal year 2011.




Page 13                              GAO-12-837 DHS Research and Development
Figure 2: DHS R&D Obligations, Fiscal Year 2011




                                        Notes:

                                        Percentages might not be exact due to rounding.

                                        For budget activities that officials told us were solely for R&D, such as S&T’s Research, Development
                                        and Innovation and University Programs and DNDO’s Transformational R&D, we counted the total




                                        Page 14                                             GAO-12-837 DHS Research and Development
                            obligations from the activity as R&D obligations. For budget activities with both R&D and non-R&D
                            obligations, we analyzed object classification tables, specifically object class 25.5 R&D contracts, to
                            identify obligations for R&D from each budget activity.

                            A portion of Coast Guard’s obligations for research, development, test, and evaluation (RDT&E) is
                            made for personnel compensation and benefits. Obligations for this purpose are identified in the
                            object classification tables in the budget justification. For FY2011, Coast Guard obligated $11.4
                            million for personnel compensation and benefits. Subtracting this from total obligations for the RDT&E
                            budget account gives us the total obligations for Coast Guard mission R&D activities, $9 million.

                            DHS’s budget director recognized that spending in areas that cut across
                            the department, like R&D, are difficult to manage and told us that DHS
                            does not have oversight of R&D across the department. DHS is taking
                            some steps to address this, including identifying R&D as a budget line in
                            DHS’s proposed unified account structure, which was submitted to
                            Congress in the fiscal year 2013 budget for approval.

                            In 2007, we reported that appropriators rely on budget exhibits to inform
                            the decision to authorize and appropriate funds for many programs; thus,
                            accurate classifications of program and projects by budget activity are
                            needed for decision makers to readily understand how projects are
                            progressing and how money is being spent. 31 Specifically regarding R&D,
                            we reported that decision makers use the Department of Defense’s
                            (DOD) budget reports, which detail a project’s stage of development, to
                            assess how much is being invested in fundamental science and
                            technology and to determine the future capabilities of U.S. military forces.


Policies and Guidance for   DHS does not have a departmentwide policy defining R&D or guidance
Defining and Reporting      directing components how to report R&D activities. As a result, it is
R&D Could Improve           difficult to identify the department’s total investment in R&D, which limits
                            DHS’s ability to oversee components’ R&D efforts and align them with
Oversight                   agencywide R&D goals and priorities. DHS officials told us that DHS uses
                            OMB’s definition of R&D, but the definition is broad and its application
                            may not be uniform across components, and thus, R&D investments may
                            not always be identified as R&D. For example, DHS officials told us that
                            test and evaluation is generally not considered R&D because the purpose
                            is to test how an existing technology fits into an operational environment.
                            However, S&T’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO) told us that S&T reports
                            test and evaluation activities as part of its R&D budget authority.


                            31
                              GAO, Defense Acquisitions: DOD’s Research and Development Budget Requests to
                            Congress Do Not Provide Consistent, Complete, and Clear Information. GAO-07-1058
                            (Washington, D.C.: Sept. 5, 2007).




                            Page 15                                               GAO-12-837 DHS Research and Development
Further, DHS officials told us that there is no distinct line between capital
investments and the R&D for technology development. For example,
NPPD officials told us they consider its cybersecurity system to be a
capital investment, and not R&D, but they consider R&D of new
technologies as an important aspect of this system. The variation in R&D
definitions may contribute to the unreliability of the reporting mechanisms
for R&D investments in budget development and execution, as discussed
above. Standards for Internal Control in the Federal Government state
that policies and mechanisms are needed to enforce management’s
directives, such as the process of adhering to requirements for budget
development and execution and to ensure the reliability of those and
other reports for internal and external use. 32 Additionally, we previously
reported that agencies can enhance and sustain their collaborative efforts
by defining and articulating a common outcome and establishing
compatible policies, procedures, and other means to operate across
agency boundaries. 33 Such definitions could help DHS better identify its
R&D investment.

Other agencies that have conducted R&D longer than DHS, like DOD and
the National Aeronautical and Space Administration (NASA), have
recognized the need to develop policies to better define what efforts
constitute R&D and manage their R&D activities. For example, DOD’s
Financial Management Regulation defines seven stages of technological
maturity for R&D activities and links them to the budget process to
increase transparency and oversight of R&D throughout the department. 34
Similarly, NASA has a directive that outlines its “cohesive management
process” for its R&D activities, which illustrates program and project life
cycles and defines the roles and responsibilities of key management
personnel. 35 DHS officials stated that the Chief Financial Officer’s (CFO)
office has oversight of R&D across the department through monthly
reports submitted by components. For example, S&T provides monthly
reports on R&D obligations to the CFO that detail obligations by individual



32
 GAO/AIMD-00-21.3.1.
33
 GAO, Results-Oriented Government: Practices That Can Help Enhance and Sustain
Collaboration among Federal Agencies, GAO-06-15 (Washington, D.C.: Oct. 21, 2005).
34
 DOD FMR, DoD 7000.14-R, Volume 2B, Chapter 5.
35
 NASA Procedural Requirements: NASA Research and Technology Program and Project
Management Requirements. NPR 7120.8 (Effective Date February, 05, 2008).




Page 16                                    GAO-12-837 DHS Research and Development
appropriation accounts for R&D activities. However, those reports include
R&D that is reported as R&D obligations in the budget process and do not
provide financial details for the R&D investments made by components
other than S&T, DNDO, and the Coast Guard, as described earlier in this
report.

The challenges DHS faces in managing its R&D efforts are similar to the
challenges the department has faced in managing its acquisitions. In
September 2008, we reported that DHS had not integrated the acquisition
function across the department and did not have adequate oversight of all
of its acquisition programs. 36 DHS officials agreed with our findings and
the agency has taken steps to implement policies and guidance to ensure
that components follow consistent acquisition practices and that a
process exists to oversee acquisition programs, as outlined in Acquisition
Management Directive 102-01 (AMD 102-01). 37 Officials at DHS’s
Program Accountability and Risk Management office (PARM) agreed the
department has not developed policies or guidance on how components
should define and oversee R&D investments and efforts. They stated that
they are in the process of updating AMD 102-01 to include additional
sections pertaining to nonacquisition investments and that such R&D
policy and guidance could be incorporated into such updates in the future.
(See App. IV for an illustration of how R&D supports all four phases of
DHS’s Acquisition Life Cycle as defined by AMD 102-01). Such an update
could establish policy and guidance for defining R&D consistently across
the department and outline the processes and procedures for overseeing
R&D, which would provide more oversight into the R&D investments
across the department.




36
 GAO, Department of Homeland Security: Progress and Continuing Concerns with
Acquisition Management, GAO-08-1164T, (Washington, D.C.: Sept. 17, 2008), and
Department of Homeland Security: Assessments of Selected Complex Acquisitions,
GAO-10-588SP (Washington, D.C.: June 30, 2010).
37
  AMD 102 defines policy and provides guidance for managing and tracking DHS’s
acquisition programs.




Page 17                                    GAO-12-837 DHS Research and Development
                         S&T has coordinated R&D efforts across DHS to some extent, but the
S&T Coordinates          department’s R&D efforts are fragmented and overlapping, which
Some R&D at DHS,         increases the risk of unnecessary duplication. We identified 35 instances
                         of overlap among contracts that DHS components awarded for R&D
but DHS R&D Is           projects, but did not identify instances of duplication among these
Fragmented and           contracts. Additionally, DHS has not developed a policy defining who is
Overlapping,             responsible for coordinating R&D and what processes should be used to
                         coordinate it, and S&T does not have mechanisms to track all R&D
Increasing the Risk of   activities at DHS. Developing a policy defining the roles and
Unnecessary              responsibilities for coordinating R&D, and establishing coordination
                         processes and a mechanism to track all R&D projects could help DHS
Duplication              mitigate existing fragmentation and overlap, and reduce the risk of
                         unnecessary duplication.


S&T Has Taken Some       The Homeland Security Act of 2002, among other things, requires that
Actions to Coordinate    S&T coordinate and integrate all research, development, demonstration,
R&D across DHS           testing, and evaluation activities within DHS and establish and administer
                         the primary R&D activities of the department. 38 To carry out these
                         responsibilities, S&T developed coordination practices that fall into four
                         general categories: (1) S&T component liaisons, (2) R&D agreements
                         between component heads and S&T, (3) joint R&D strategies between
                         S&T and components, and (4) various R&D coordination teams made up
                         of S&T and component project managers.

S&T Component Liaisons   S&T officials stated that one of the primary ways that S&T mitigates the
                         risk of overlap and duplication is through component liaisons staffed at
                         S&T and S&T officials staffed at component agencies. Component
                         liaisons became a primary coordination mechanism under the former
                         Under Secretary who requested a Coast Guard official to work at S&T as
                         a deputy division director. According to S&T officials, these component
                         liaisons have been integral to S&T’s coordination efforts. As of July 2012,
                         S&T had eight liaisons from TSA, CBP, ICE, NPPD, the Secret Service,
                         and the Coast Guard. In addition, S&T had seven employees detailed to
                         other components, including CBP, the Secret Service, DHS’s Office of
                         Policy, DHS’s Tactical Communications Program Office, DNDO, and
                         TSA, as well as two liaisons at FEMA and DHS’s Office of the Chief
                         Financial Officer. According to S&T, liaisons help S&T maintain



                         38
                          6 U.S.C. § 182.




                         Page 18                                GAO-12-837 DHS Research and Development
                           communication with components on R&D needs and related activities.
                           For example, CBP requested an S&T liaison to provide technical
                           expertise to its acquisition division. However, S&T does not have liaisons
                           with every component.

Component R&D Agreements   S&T signed agreements with two components—CBP and the Secret
                           Service—to help coordinate R&D activities. Under those agreements,
                           S&T is working with the components on high-level “Apex projects” that
                           are intended to solve components’ strategic operational problems within 2
                           years. For example, S&T and the Secret Service have an Apex project
                           called the Science and Technology Operational Research and
                           Enhancement project that was initiated in June 2010 to provide
                           technology solutions for the Secret Service to define, establish, and
                           document the near- and long-term R&D strategy for the protection of
                           national leaders, visiting heads of state and government, designated
                           sites, and national special security events. S&T officials stated that the
                           Apex project required development and testing of about seven
                           technologies which the Secret Service plans to incorporate into its
                           operations. As of July 2012, S&T officials reported that all seven
                           technologies were in the developmental stage and will undergo testing in
                           late 2012. For the CBP Apex project, S&T is overseeing the development
                           and evaluation of new technology and infrastructure to help CBP create
                           Secure Transit Corridors. 39 S&T officials stated that, as of July 2012, the
                           project was on track to be completed in 1 year. S&T officials stated that it
                           can accommodate only three or four Apex projects at any given time
                           because of the time and resources required, but that it anticipates starting
                           future Apex projects with FEMA and ICE. As a result, these high-level
                           partnerships are not intended to address all customer needs at DHS.

                           Further, S&T provided us with three memorandums of agreement it
                           entered into with DHS components as a means to coordinate R&D efforts.
                           Specifically, S&T has agreements with CBP to develop a rapid response


                           39
                              The Secure Transit Corridors will allow Customs Trade Partners Against Terrorism (C-
                           TPAT) Tier III members with supply chain routes originating in Mexico or Canada. The C-
                           TPAT is part of CBP’s approach for overseeing the security of containerized cargo and the
                           flow of international goods by developing a voluntary antiterrorism partnership with
                           importers; customs brokers; air, sea, and land carriers; and other logistics service
                           providers such as freight consolidators and nonvessel common carriers. Tier III members
                           receive certain program benefits, such as expedited release of cargo in U.S. ports, upon
                           validation that members demonstrate sustained commitment to maintaining security
                           measures and supply chain security practices.




                           Page 19                                       GAO-12-837 DHS Research and Development
                           prototype, the Coast Guard to develop a test bed, and TSA to coordinate
                           the transition of the Transportation Security Laboratory from TSA to S&T
                           which, was completed in 2006. S&T is also currently working with TSA on
                           an Aviation Security agreement that is to result in S&T supporting TSA in
                           various areas (as outlined in the agreement) and providing technology to
                           address capability gaps. S&T plans to initiate similar partnerships first
                           with CBP, then with ICE and FEMA.

                           S&T also works with DHS components to ensure that it meets their R&D
                           needs by signing technology transition agreements (TTA) to ensure that
                           components use the technologies S&T develops. S&T has 42 TTAs with
                           DHS components. For example, TSA agreed to integrate automated
                           intent detection technologies to better detect unknown threats before they
                           enter the country into its behavior detection-screening program once S&T
                           successfully demonstrated that the technologies met performance
                           requirements. Additionally, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service
                           (USCIS) agreed to deploy rapid DNA-based screening technologies to
                           determine kinship to use in the refugee and asylum eligibility
                           determination process upon S&T demonstrating that the technology
                           meets certain performance criteria. According to S&T officials, none of
                           these TTAs has yet resulted in a technology being transitioned from S&T
                           to a component.

Component R&D Strategies   In March 2011, S&T and TSA issued a joint R&D strategy for aviation
                           security that identifies TSA’s R&D priorities. That plan was a result of an
                           internal planning process that prioritized capability gaps and focused on
                           the work between TSA and S&T’s Explosives and Human
                           Factors/Behavioral Sciences Divisions. According to TSA officials, the
                           joint R&D strategic plan does not represent a TSA-wide R&D strategy
                           because it does not include surface transportation security capability
                           gaps. Rather, the officials said that TSA uses the National Infrastructure
                           Protection Plan and an R&D working group with S&T to identify those
                           capability gaps. S&T officials stated that it is currently updating its R&D
                           Strategy with TSA. S&T is also planning to work with the Secret Service,
                           CBP, ICE, and FEMA to build component-specific R&D strategies that are
                           linked to component acquisition programs. 40




                           40
                            We did not receive information on when S&T planned to complete those R&D strategies.




                           Page 20                                    GAO-12-837 DHS Research and Development
R&D Coordination Teams   S&T’s previous Under Secretary instituted the Capstone Integrated
                         Product Teams (IPT) process to coordinate R&D efforts between S&T
                         and components. IPTs served as S&T’s primary mechanism for
                         coordinating R&D and consisted of members from S&T and component
                         agencies. In S&T’s 5-year R&D plan for fiscal years 2008 through 2013,
                         S&T identified 12 IPTs, each of which was focused on a different topic
                         and brought together decision makers from DHS components and S&T,
                         as well as end users of technologies. 41 Additionally, the IPT process
                         included teams to coordinate R&D at the project level among S&T and
                         components. IPTs solicited input from components to identify and
                         address technology gaps and needs and were intended to assist
                         operational units in making decisions about technology investments,
                         based on S&T’s understanding of technology and the state of applicable
                         technology solutions. For example, members of the cargo security IPT
                         determined that the capability gap that should be addressed was
                         enhancing cargo screening and examination systems through detecting
                         or identifying terrorist contraband items, like drugs or illegal firearms. As a
                         result, S&T identified CanScan, a nonintrusive inspection system as a
                         means for addressing that gap.

                         According to S&T division directors and officials we interviewed, the IPT
                         process is no longer in place to coordinate R&D activities at the
                         component level, but IPTs are being used by the division directors to
                         coordinate R&D activities at the project level. 42 In July 2011, S&T
                         announced the creation of a new process, called Science and Technology
                         Investment Councils, which would coordinate R&D activities at the most
                         senior levels of each component, rather than at the program manager
                         level. However, S&T later decided not to implement the councils and
                         instead began implementing two new coordination teams in the fall of
                         2011—a cross-functional team composed of S&T personnel focusing on
                         strategic priorities and an integral partner team—led by S&T’s newly
                         created Acquisition Support and Operations Analysis (ASOA) division to



                         41
                           IPT areas were border security, cargo security, chemical/biological defense, cyber
                         security, counter improvised explosive device (IED), transportation security, incident
                         management, infrastructure protection, information sharing/management, interoperability,
                         maritime security, and people screening.
                         42
                           We interviewed directors of divisions responsible for coordinating R&D activities
                         throughout the department. These included Borders and Maritime Division, Chemical and
                         Biological Division, Cyber Security Division, Explosives Division, Human Factors/
                         Behavioral Sciences Division, and Infrastructure Protection Division.




                         Page 21                                       GAO-12-837 DHS Research and Development
                          focus on components’ operational needs. 43 According to S&T division
                          directors, these new teams are not yet fully implemented and they are still
                          using established relationships with components through the IPT process
                          to identify components needs and coordinate R&D. Additionally, S&T still
                          maintains IPTs with TSA on surface transportation.


DHS R&D Is Fragmented     R&D at DHS is inherently fragmented because several components within
and Overlapping,          DHS—S&T, the Coast Guard, and DNDO—were each given R&D
Increasing the Risk of    responsibilities in law, and other DHS components may pursue and
                          conduct their own R&D efforts as long as those activities are coordinated
Unnecessary Duplication   through S&T. Fragmentation among R&D efforts at DHS may be
                          advantageous if the department determines that it could gain better or
                          faster results by having multiple components engage in R&D activities
                          toward a similar goal; however, it can be disadvantageous if those
                          activities are uncoordinated or unintentionally overlapping or duplicative.

                          To illustrate overlap and the potential for unnecessary duplication, we
                          reviewed data on about 15,000 federal procurement contract actions
                          coded as R&D taken by DHS components from fiscal years 2007 through
                          2012. 44 See appendix 1 for details on our methodology for identifying
                          overlap. Of those, we identified 50 R&D contracts issued by six DHS
                          components—S&T, TSA, FEMA, the Office of Health Affairs (OHA), the
                          Coast Guard, and CBP—that appeared to have similar activities with
                          another contract and interviewed component officials about those R&D
                          activities. We obtained 47 of those 50 contracts and reviewed their
                          statements of work. 45 On the basis of that analysis and our interviews with
                          components, we identified 35 instances of overlap where components
                          awarded R&D contracts that overlapped with R&D activities conducted



                          43
                            ASOA works with the Under Secretary for Management to aid the components in
                          developing high-fidelity, testable operational requirements for their acquisitions; aid in
                          executing an analysis of alternatives to ensure that the most appropriate technical
                          approach is taken; and partner with the components throughout an acquisition so that user
                          needs are translated into real capabilities that can be validated upon delivery and
                          deployed without delay.
                          44
                            In some cases, contracts were initially awarded prior to 2007 but had contract actions
                          taken—whether changes to contracting officials, extended period of performance,
                          changes to tasks requested, or other modifications—during fiscal years 2007 through
                          2012. These modifications to initial contracts were included in our analysis.
                          45
                           The Coast Guard, OHA, and DHS were unable to provide 3 contracts that we requested.




                          Page 22                                        GAO-12-837 DHS Research and Development
elsewhere in the department. We also found that DHS did not have
tracking mechanisms or policies to help ensure that this overlap be
avoided and better coordinated. 46 For example:

•    S&T awarded four separate contracts to develop methods of detecting
     ammonium nitrate and urea nitrate for the counter-IED program. TSA
     also awarded a contract to a private vendor to investigate the
     detection of ammonium nitrate and ammonium nitrate-based
     explosives. These contracts were similar in that they all addressed the
     detection of the same chemical.

•    S&T awarded four separate contracts to develop advanced algorithms
     for explosives detection, while TSA also awarded contracts to develop
     algorithms to evaluate images for explosives. We determined that
     these R&D contracts overlapped because both components were
     involved in developing algorithms for explosives detection.

•    S&T awarded a contract to a private vendor for support and analysis
     for seismic hazards, while FEMA also awarded a contract to a private
     vendor to develop seismic guidelines for buildings in the event of an
     earthquake. These contracts overlapped because they were both
     similar in scope.

Although the contracts we selected overlapped, we determined that they
were not duplicative based on our analysis and our interviews with
component officials. For example, TSA officials stated that all TSA R&D
contracts we requested were initially awarded when TSA still conducted
transportation security-related R&D and were managed by the
Transportation Security Laboratory (TSL), which moved into S&T in
2006. 47 As a result, TSA did not have oversight into those contracts.
Additionally, TSA officials stated that some of the contracts may have
overlapped in the scope of work but were focused on different operational
missions. S&T officials agreed with TSA, stating that some of this overlap
occurred during a period of time when TSA was still conducting R&D



46
  We also examined about 1,000 task orders sent to the national laboratories by DHS
components, but the data did not include sufficient detail to use for this analysis.
47
  The conference report accompanying the fiscal year 2006 DHS appropriations act
provided that certain funding was for consolidating all of DHS’s R&D efforts except the
Coast Guard’s R&D efforts into S&T. H. Rep. No. 109-241, at 82 (2005). That
consolidation took place in 2006.




Page 23                                        GAO-12-837 DHS Research and Development
through TSL and during a time when S&T did not have the level of
contract oversight that it has now. FEMA officials stated that FEMA’s
research projects are related to earthquake hazards, rather than to
multiple hazards like S&T’s research projects. They stated that FEMA’s
coordination with S&T is dependent on prior personal relationships rather
than through an established coordination process.

According to S&T officials, a process does not exist at DHS or within S&T
to prevent overlap or unnecessary duplication but that relationships with
components mitigate that risk. They also stated that S&T has improved
interactions with components over time. For example, S&T officials stated
that when CBP requested mobile radios to improve communication
among its field staff, S&T knew that the Secret Service and ICE were
already working in that area. To address this technology need, S&T
provided a senior official to lead the Tactical Communication Team to
address communication among different operational components and
better coordinate those efforts.

In conducting this analysis, we recognize that overlapping R&D activities
across similar areas may not be problematic. However, the existence of
overlapping R&D activities coupled with the lack of policies and guidance
defining R&D (as mentioned previously) and coordination processes is an
indication that not all R&D activities at DHS are coordinated to ensure
that R&D is not unnecessarily duplicative. As a result, DHS could
increase oversight of R&D, and improve coordination of R&D activities to
ensure that any duplication in R&D activities is purposeful rather than
unnecessary, as discussed later in this draft. Overlap and the associated
risk of unnecessary duplication occur throughout the government, as we
have reported previously, and are not isolated to DHS. 48 However, when
coupled with consistent programmatic coordination, the risk of
unnecessary duplication can be diminished.




48
 GAO-12-342SP.




Page 24                               GAO-12-837 DHS Research and Development
Policy and Tracking       DHS and S&T do not have the policies and mechanisms necessary to
Mechanism Could Improve   coordinate R&D across the department and reduce the risk of
Coordination and Reduce   unnecessary duplication. First, as noted earlier in this report, DHS does
                          not have the policies and guidance necessary to define and oversee R&D
Risk of Unnecessary       investments across the department. While S&T has taken steps to
Duplication               coordinate R&D, DHS has not developed a policy defining who is
                          responsible for coordinating R&D and what processes should be used to
                          coordinate it. Specifically, while S&T has R&D agreements with some
                          components, S&T officials rely on the former IPT process to coordinate
                          with components. For example, S&T division directors cited the IPT
                          process and personal relationships as the primary means to coordinate
                          R&D activities with components and generally felt that they were
                          coordinating effectively.

                          However, other component officials we interviewed did not view S&T’s
                          coordination practices as positively. Specifically, we interviewed six
                          components to discuss the extent to which they coordinated with S&T on
                          R&D activities. Four components stated that S&T did not have an
                          established process that detailed how S&T would work with its customers
                          or for coordinating all activities at DHS. For example, one component
                          stated that S&T has conducted R&D that it thought would address the
                          component’s operational need but, when work was completed, the R&D
                          project did not fit into the operational environment to meet the
                          component’s needs. In addition, without an established coordination
                          process, the risk for unnecessary duplication increases, because
                          components can engage in R&D activities without coordinating them
                          through S&T (see fig. 3).




                          Page 25                              GAO-12-837 DHS Research and Development
Figure 3: Avenues for Components to Engage in Department of Homeland
Security’s (DHS) Research and Development (R&D) Activities




Standards for Internal Control in the Federal Government states that
policies and procedures ensure that the necessary activities occur at all
levels and functions of the organization—not just from top-level
leadership. This ensures that all levels of the organization are
coordinating effectively and as part of a larger strategy. Additionally,
internal control standards provide that agencies should communicate
necessary information effectively by ensuring that they are
communicating with, and obtaining information from, external
stakeholders that may have a significant impact on the agency achieving
its goals. DHS and S&T could be in a better position to coordinate the
department’s R&D efforts by implementing a specific policy outlining R&D
roles and responsibilities and processes for coordinating R&D.

Furthermore, S&T and DHS have not developed a mechanism to track all
ongoing R&D projects conducted across DHS components. Specifically,
neither DHS nor S&T tracks all ongoing R&D projects across the
department, including R&D activities contracted through the national
laboratories. The Homeland Security Act of 2002 gave DHS the authority
to use DOE laboratories to conduct R&D and established S&T’s Office of
National Laboratories (ONL) to be responsible for coordinating and using


Page 26                                GAO-12-837 DHS Research and Development
the DOE national laboratories. 49 Additionally, DHS Directive 143 further
directs ONL to serve as the primary point of contact to recommend
contracting activity approval for work by the national laboratories, and
review all statements of work issued from DHS and directed to the
national laboratories. According to S&T, the purpose of that review is to
ensure the proposed work is within the scope, and complies with the
terms and conditions, of the prime contract between DOE and the
national laboratories. We identified 11 components that reimbursed the
national laboratories for R&D between fiscal years 2010 and 2013, but
ONL could not provide us with any information on those activities and told
us it did not track them. 50 According to S&T, ONL's ability to provide
information on activities across the department is limited by components
inconsistently operating within the DHS Directive 143 process for working
with the national laboratories. According to the Director of ONL, to identify
activities not reported through the DHS Directive 143 process, S&T uses
other means such as relationships with components and S&T, as well as
reviewing task orders sent to the laboratories from DHS, visiting
laboratories, and laboratories self-reporting their work to ONL.

We previously reported in 2004 that DHS faced challenges using DOE’s
laboratories and balancing the immediate needs of users of homeland
security technologies with the need to conduct R&D on advanced
technologies for the future. 51 DHS agreed with our recommendation to
create a strategic R&D plan to identify and develop countermeasures to
chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and other emerging terrorist
threats and to ensure that it detailed how DHS would work with other
federal agencies to establish governmentwide priorities, identify research
gaps, avoid duplication of effort, and leverage resources. DHS noted that
such a plan was critical to the success of the department, and stated that
S&T would complete a strategic planning process in 2004 that would be
reviewed and updated annually. To date, DHS has not yet developed a
departmentwide strategic plan for managing R&D, although S&T has
developed its own plan.



49
 Pub. L. No. 107-296, § 309, 116 Stat. 2135, 2172 (2002) (codified at 6 U.S.C. § 189).
50
  We received obligations data for fiscal year 2010 and 2011; funding data for fiscal year
2012, and projected funding data for fiscal year 2013.
51
 GAO, Homeland Security: DHS Needs a Strategy to Use DOE’s Laboratories for
Research on Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical Detection and Response Technologies,
GAO-04-653 (Washington, D.C.: May 24, 2004).




Page 27                                        GAO-12-837 DHS Research and Development
Standards for Internal Control in the Federal Government states that
controls are needed to provide reasonable assurance that, among other
things, reliable data are obtained, maintained, and fairly disclosed in
reports and agencies comply with laws and regulations. In addition, in
June 2010, we reported that R&D information should be tracked in a
consolidated database in order to fully coordinate cybersecurity R&D
activities to provide essential information about ongoing and completed
R&D. 52 We recommended that the Director of the Office of Science and
Technology Policy (OSTP) direct its subcommittee on Networking and
Information Technology Research and Development to exercise its
leadership responsibilities by, among other things, establishing and using
a mechanism to keep track of federal cybersecurity R&D funding. 53 OSTP
agreed with our recommendation. Additionally, we previously reported
that agencies can enhance and sustain their collaborative efforts by,
among other things, agreeing on roles and responsibilities and developing
mechanisms to monitor, evaluate, and report on results. 54

DHS officials agreed that such mechanisms to track R&D activities were
necessary, and said they have faced similar challenges in managing
investments across the department. DHS has attempted to address those
challenges by, among other things, creating a database called the
Decision Support Tool that is intended to improve the flow of information
from component program offices to the DHS Management Directorate to
support its governance efforts. 55 The Decision Support Tool could provide
an example of how DHS could better track ongoing R&D projects


52
 GAO, Cybersecurity: Key Challenges Need to Be Addressed to Improve Research and
Development, GAO-10-466 (Washington, D.C.: June 3, 2010).
53
  The Networking and Information Technology Research and Development Subcommittee
is a multiagency coordination body responsible for providing leadership in coordinating
cybersecurity R&D.
54
 GAO-06-15.
55
  The Decision Support Tool collects data from existing data systems, including
information technology, capital investment data and out-year planning and budget data
from all component agencies’ data systems in order to centralize and standardize the
management of resources. This includes information technology data from the Next
Generation Periodic Reporting System, capital investment planning data from the
Investment Management System, and financial data from the Future Years Homeland
Security Program. The Future Years Homeland Security Program provides a summary
and breakdown of DHS program resources over a 5-year period, including resource
alignment by goals, component appropriations, and component programs, as well as
program descriptions, milestones, performance measures, and targets.




Page 28                                      GAO-12-837 DHS Research and Development
              occurring in the department. DHS’s PARM officials stated that they
              recently added new data fields to capture more detailed information on
              component activities, such as additional financial data, at a low cost to
              DHS, and that such data fields could be added to collect information and
              track R&D activities across DHS, such as contracts with private
              companies or universities and the associated costs. However, we
              reported in March 2012 that DHS executives were not confident enough
              in the data to use the Decision Support Tool to make acquisition
              decisions, and that DHS’s plans to improve the quality of the data in this
              database were limited. 56 We also reported that DHS had limited plans to
              improve the quality of the data because PARM only planned to check the
              data quality in preparation for key milestone meetings in the acquisition
              process. That could significantly diminish the Decision Support Tool’s
              value, because users cannot confidently identify and take action to
              address problems meeting cost or schedule goals prior to program review
              meetings. As a result, improvements to the Decision Support Tool’s data
              quality before expanding its use could improve the collecting and tracking
              of R&D information and could be used as an example of how to better
              track information occurring across components. DHS is taking actions to
              address the limitations to the Decision Support Tool’s data quality by
              working to validate the Decision Support Tool’s associated acquisition
              data. A policy that defines roles and responsibilities for coordinating R&D
              and coordination processes, as well as a mechanism that tracks all DHS
              R&D projects, could better position DHS to mitigate the risk of
              overlapping and unnecessarily duplicative R&D projects.

              Conducting R&D on technologies is a key component of DHS’s efforts to
Conclusions   detect, prevent, and mitigate terrorist threats and is vital to enhancing the
              security of the nation. Multiple entities across DHS conduct various types
              of R&D in pursuit of their respective missions, but DHS does not have a
              department-wide policy defining R&D or guidance directing components
              how to report R&D activities and investments. As a result, DHS does not
              have the ability to maintain oversight of its total investment in R&D across
              the department, which also limits its ability to oversee components’ R&D
              efforts and align them with agencywide R&D goals and priorities.
              Establishing policies and guidance for defining R&D across the
              department and outlining the processes and procedures for overseeing


              56
                GAO, Department of Homeland Security: Continued Progress Made Improving and
              Integrating Management Areas, but More Work Remains, GAO-12-365T (Washington,
              D.C. Mar. 1, 2012).




              Page 29                                  GAO-12-837 DHS Research and Development
                      R&D would provide more oversight of R&D investments across the
                      department. Furthermore, DHS has taken some steps to coordinate R&D
                      efforts across the department, but does not have a cohesive policy
                      defining roles and responsibilities for coordinating R&D and mechanisms
                      to track all DHS R&D projects. A policy that defines roles and
                      responsibilities for coordinating R&D and coordination processes, as well
                      as a mechanism that tracks all DHS R&D projects, could better position
                      DHS to mitigate the risk of overlapping and unnecessarily duplicative
                      R&D projects.


                      To help ensure that DHS effectively oversees its R&D investment and
Recommendations for   efforts and reduces fragmentation, overlap, and the risk of unnecessary
Executive Action      duplication, we recommend that the Secretary of Homeland Security
                      develop and implement policies and guidance for defining and overseeing
                      R&D at the department. Such policies and guidance could be included as
                      an update to the department’s existing acquisition directive and should
                      include the following elements:

                      •   a well-understood definition of R&D that provides reasonable
                          assurance that reliable accounting and reporting of R&D resources
                          and activities for internal and external use are achieved,

                      •   a description of the department’s process and roles and
                          responsibilities for overseeing and coordinating R&D investments and
                          efforts, and

                      •   a mechanism to track existing R&D projects and their associated
                          costs across the department.


                      We provided a draft of this report to DHS for its review and comment.
Agency Comments       DHS provided written comments, which are reproduced in full in appendix
and Our Evaluation    V, and concurred with our recommendation. DHS also described actions
                      it plans to take to address the recommendation. Specifically, according to
                      DHS, it plans to evaluate the most effective path forward to guide uniform
                      treatment of R&D across the department in compliance with OMB rules
                      and is considering a management directive, multi component steering
                      committee, or new policy guidance to help better oversee and coordinate
                      R&D. DHS plans to complete these efforts by May 1, 2013. Such actions
                      should address the overall intent of our recommendation. However, it will
                      be important that whatever DHS chooses to do, its actions address the
                      specific elements we outlined in our recommendation, including



                      Page 30                               GAO-12-837 DHS Research and Development
developing a definition of R&D, defining roles and responsibilities for
oversight and coordination, and developing a mechanism to track existing
R&D projects and investments.

DHS also provided written technical comments, which we incorporated as
appropriate.

We are sending copies of this report to the Secretary of Homeland
Security, appropriate congressional committees, and other interested
parties. This report is also available at no charge on GAO’s website at
http://www.gao.gov.

If you or your staffs have any questions about this report, please contact
me at (202) 512-9627 or maurerd@gao.gov. Contact points for our Office
of Congressional Relations and Public Affairs may be found on the last
page of this report. Key contributors to this report are listed in appendix
VI.




David C. Maurer
Director, Homeland Security and Justice Issues




Page 31                                GAO-12-837 DHS Research and Development
Appendix I: Objectives, Scope, and
              Appendix I: Objectives, Scope, and
              Methodology



Methodology

              This report answers the following questions:

              1. How much does the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) invest
                 in research and development (R&D) and to what extent does it have
                 policies and guidance for defining R&D and overseeing R&D
                 resources and efforts across the department?

              2. To what extent is R&D coordinated within DHS to prevent overlap,
                 fragmentation, and unnecessary duplication across the department?

              To determine how much DHS invests in R&D and the extent that it has
              policies and guidance for defining R&D and overseeing R&D resources
              and efforts across the department, we reviewed DHS’s budget and
              congressional budget justifications to identify R&D investments reported
              from fiscal years 2011 through 2013. We analyzed R&D budget authority,
              outlays, and obligations included in budget submissions to the Office of
              Management and Budget (OMB) reported for fiscal years 2010 through
              2013. We also analyzed Science and Technology Directorate (S&T),
              Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO), and Coast Guard budgets to
              identify obligations for R&D funded by non-R&D budget activities as
              identified in object class tables that present obligations by the items or
              services purchased (e.g. personnel compensation and benefits,
              contractual services and supplies, acquisition of assets, grants and fixed
              charges). In addition, we assessed DHS’s management and oversight of
              its R&D spending against criteria in GAO’s Standards for Internal Control
              in the Federal Government. 1

              We analyzed data from the Federal Procurement Data System Next
              Generation (FPDS-NG) to identify R&D-related contracts across DHS for
              fiscal years 2007 through 2011. We filtered these contracts to include
              only those R&D stages coded as basic research, applied research, and
              exploratory development and advanced development, which align more
              closely with recognized definitions of R&D. We excluded the other four
              stages (engineering development, operational systems development,
              management/support, and commercialization) of R&D because these
              activities are linked more closely to procurements rather than R&D
              activities. We also analyzed data from the Department of Energy’s (DOE)
              national laboratories from fiscal years 2010 through 2012 to identify how


              1
               GAO, Standards for Internal Control in the Federal Government, GAO/AIMD-00-21.3.1
              (Washington, D.C.: Nov. 1999).




              Page 32                                    GAO-12-837 DHS Research and Development
Appendix I: Objectives, Scope, and
Methodology




much DHS components obligated for R&D-related work at the national
labs.

To determine the extent that R&D is coordinated within DHS to prevent
overlap, fragmentation, and unnecessary duplication, we

•   Reviewed component R&D plans and project documentation. We also
    reviewed department and S&T division strategic plans.

•   Interviewed officials from DHS, DNDO, the Coast Guard, the
    Transportation Security Administration (TSA), the Office of Health
    Affairs (OHA), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the
    National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD), and the Secret
    Service to discuss, among other things, their R&D efforts, R&D
    budgets, and coordination with S&T. We interviewed DHS budget and
    acquisition oversight officials to discuss how DHS oversees and
    manages its R&D resources.

•   Interviewed S&T’s budget official and Homeland Security Advanced
    Research Projects Agency (HSARPA) officials, including directors
    from each of the six technical divisions, to discuss how they
    coordinated with components and prioritized R&D resources.

•   Used a data-collection instrument to collect information on S&T R&D
    projects, associated costs of R&D projects, and division customers
    from each HSARPA director and interviewed the Director of S&T’s
    Office of National Laboratories, responsible for coordinating S&T and
    DHS’s R&D work conducted at the DOE national laboratories to
    discuss DHS’s spending at and use of these laboratories.

•   Compared DHS’s coordination efforts against the relevant legislation
    and criteria, including federal internal control standards as well as
    GAO’s recommended practices for collaboration and coordination to
    identify efforts to meet certain provisions and potential areas for
    improvement. 2
To seek examples of potential overlap and duplication, we




2
 GAO/AIMD-00-21.3.1 (11/99) and Results-Oriented Government: Practices That Can
Help Enhance and Sustain Collaboration among Federal Agencies, GAO-06-15
(Washington, D.C.: Oct. 21, 2005).




Page 33                                   GAO-12-837 DHS Research and Development
Appendix I: Objectives, Scope, and
Methodology




•   Reviewed data on about 15,000 federal procurement contract actions
    coded as R&D in the Federal Procurement Data System Next
    Generation (FPDS-NG) made by DHS components from fiscal years
    2007 through 2012 to identify contracts that were potentially
    overlapping or duplicative of other contracts issued by different
    components. This was the total number of DHS contract actions taken
    from fiscal years 2007 through 2011.

•   Established 32 key words based on our knowledge of the likely areas
    of overlapping R&D related to component missions in order to identify
    areas where components may have issued contracts that were similar
    in scope and to eliminate areas where duplicative activities were likely
    to be present but acceptable (e.g., personnel support and
    management services). We searched for the key words in the FPDS-
    NG data set to identify contracts containing the same key words
    issued by more than one component.

•   Independently analyzed the contract descriptions and identified 50
    R&D contracts issued by six components—S&T, the Coast Guard,
    TSA, CBP, OHA, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency
    (FEMA)—that appeared to overlap and interviewed officials from
    those components to discuss the nature of those contracts. 3

•   Obtained 47 out of 50 contracts and analyzed each contract’s
    statement of work and objectives to determine the type of R&D activity
    and to identify whether each contract was overlapping or duplicative
    of any of the other 46 contracts. Two analysts independently reviewed
    each contract and then came to agreement regarding the presence of
    overlap and duplication.

We could not determine the full extent of duplication or overlap in the
department, because the FPDS-NG data system captures only a portion
of the total R&D activities occurring at DHS and we did not review the
documentation for, or conduct a random sample of, all 15,000 R&D
contract actions. However, the results from our analysis illustrate overlap
and the potential for unnecessary duplication. We also used our past
work on fragmentation, overlap, and duplication across the federal
government; Standards for Internal Control in the Federal Government;



3
 We did not interview officials responsible for the one contract in our sample issued by the
Coast Guard, because they were unable to locate the contract.




Page 34                                        GAO-12-837 DHS Research and Development
Appendix I: Objectives, Scope, and
Methodology




and our prior reports to assess DHS’s coordination of R&D across the
department. 4

We assessed the reliability of the data we used by reconciling the data
with published data and applicable quality control procedures to maintain
the integrity of the data, and interviewing DHS budget and procurement
officials responsible for overseeing the data systems. In addition, we
reviewed available FPDS-NG documentation, such as the user manual,
and OMB guidance to identify related quality control mechanisms. We
also assessed the reliability of data on DOE’s national laboratory work for
others by interviewing DOE officials responsible for compiling and
reporting those data. We concluded that these data were sufficiently
reliable for the purposes of this report.

We conducted this performance audit from September 2011 through
September 2012 in accordance with generally accepted government
auditing standards. Those standards require that we plan and perform the
audit to obtain sufficient, appropriate evidence to provide a reasonable
basis for our findings and conclusions based on our audit objectives. We
believe that the evidence obtained provides a reasonable basis for our
findings and conclusions based on our audit objectives.




4
 2012 Annual Report: Opportunities to Reduce Duplication, Overlap and Fragmentation,
Achieve Savings, and Enhance Revenue, GAO-12-342SP (Washington, D.C.: Feb. 28,
2012); Follow-up on 2011 Report: Status of Actions Taken to Reduce Duplication,
Overlap, and Fragmentation, Save Tax Dollars, and Enhance Revenue, GAO-12-453SP
(Washington, D.C.: Feb. 28, 2012); Employment for People with Disabilities: Little Is
Known about the Effectiveness of Fragmented and Overlapping Programs, GAO-12-677
(Washington, D.C.: June 29, 2012); Justice Grant Programs: DOJ Should Do More to
Reduce the Risk of Unnecessary Duplication and Enhance Program Assessment,
GAO-12-517 (Washington, D.C.: July 12, 2012); GAO/AIMD-00-21.3.1 (11/99); and
GAO-06-15.




Page 35                                      GAO-12-837 DHS Research and Development
Appendix II: Federal Government Definitions
                                             Appendix II: Federal Government Definitions of
                                             Research and Development



of Research and Development


Source                  Basic research                         Applied research                                         Development
Office of               Systematic study directed              Systematic study to gain knowledge or                    Systematic application of knowledge
Management and          toward fuller knowledge or             understanding necessary to determine                     or understanding, directed toward
Budget                  understanding of the                   the means by which a recognized and                      the production of useful materials,
                        fundamental aspects of                 specific need may be met.                                devices, and systems or methods,
                        phenomena and observable                                                                        including design, development, and
                        facts without specific                                                                          improvement of prototypes and new
                        applications toward processes or                                                                processes to meet specific
                        products.                                                                                       requirements.
Federal Financial       Systematic study to gain               Systematic study to gain knowledge or                    Systematic use of the knowledge
Accounting              knowledge or understanding of          understanding necessary for                              and understanding gained from
Standards (FFAS)        the fundamental aspects of             determining the means by which a                         research for the production of useful
                        phenomena and observable               recognized and specific need may be                      materials, devices, systems, or
                        facts without specific                 met.                                                     methods, including the design and
                        applications toward processes or                                                                development of prototypes and
                        products.                                                                                       processes.
Federal Acquisitions    Research directed toward               The effort that (1) normally follows                     Systematic use of scientific and
Regulation (FAR)        increasing knowledge in science        basic research, but may not be                           technical knowledge in the design,
                        with the primary aim being a           severable from the related basic                         development, testing, or evaluation
                        fuller knowledge or                    research; (2) attempts to determine                      of a potential new product or service
                        understanding of the subject           and exploit the potential of scientific                  (or of an improvement in an existing
                        under study, rather than any           discoveries or improvements in                           product or service) to meet specific
                        practical application of that          technology, materials, processes,                        performance requirements or
                        knowledge.                             methods, devices, or techniques; and                     objectives.
                                                               (3) attempts to advance the state of
                                                               the art.
National Science        Systematic study directed              Systematic study to gain knowledge or                    Systematic application of knowledge
Foundation (NSF)        toward fuller knowledge or             understanding necessary to determine                     or understanding, directed toward
Survey of Federal       understanding of the                   the means by which a recognized and                      the production of useful materials,
Funds for R&D           fundamental aspects of                 specific need may be met.                                devices, and systems or methods,
                        phenomena and observable                                                                        including design, development, and
                        facts without specific                                                                          improvement of prototypes and new
                        applications toward processes or                                                                processes to meet specific
                        products.                                                                                       requirements.
Department of           (1) Systematic study directed          (2) Systematic study to understand the                   DOD divides development into 5
Defense Research,       toward greater knowledge or            means to meet a recognized and                           budget activities:
Development,            understanding of the                   specific need. Systematic expansion                      (3) Advanced Technology
Testing, and            fundamental aspects of                 and application of knowledge to                          Development (ATD)
Evaluation (RDT&E)      phenomena and of observable            develop useful materials, devices, and                   (4) Advanced Component
Budget Activities (1-   facts without specific                 systems or methods. May be oriented,                     Development and Prototypes
7)                      applications toward processes or       ultimately, toward the design,                           (ACD&P)
                        precuts in mind. It is farsighted      development, and improvement of                          (5) System Development and
                        high payoff research that              prototypes and new processes to                          Demonstration (SDD)
                        provides the basis for                 meet general mission area                                (6) RDT&E Management Support
                        technological progress.                requirements. Applied research may                       (7) Operational System
                                                               translate promising basic research into                  Development
                                                               solutions for broadly defined military
                                                               needs, short of system development.
                                             Source: National Science Foundation and the Office of Management and Budget.




                                             Page 36                                                          GAO-12-837 DHS Research and Development


                                                                                              Source: National Science Foundation and the Office of Management and Budget
Appendix III: Department of Homeland
                                            Appendix III: Department of Homeland Security
                                            Research and Development Obligations, Fiscal
                                            Year 2011


Security Research and Development
Obligations, Fiscal Year 2011

                                                                                                  Obligations
                                               Reimbursements to                    FPDS-NG R&D                    DOE national              Component total
DHS R&D components                                         S&T                          contracts                   laboratories             R&D obligations
Science and Technology Directorate                                                       $78,678,160                  $93,427,396                    $172,105,556
Domestic Nuclear Detection Office                                 $2,429                  28,529,786                   95,427,232                     123,959,446
United States Coast Guard R&D Center                                                        5,876,014                       100,000                     5,976,014
Subtotal                                                            2,429                113,083,959                  188,954,628                     302,041,016
Other DHS components
National Protection and Programs
Directorate                                                   4,359,000                        705,926                 82,882,861                      87,947,787
Customs and Border Protection                               17,593,000                         754,979                 25,109,607                      43,457,585
Federal Emergency Management Agency                             450,000                     8,732,100                  28,895,596                      38,077,696
Transportation Security Administration                      15,143,000                      5,594,421                    1,833,858                     22,571,279
United States Coast Guard-non R&D-
Center                                                                                    22,046,643                                                   22,046,643
Office of Health Affairs                                        390,000                     1,275,977                    9,246,228                     10,912,205
U.S. Immigration and Customs
Enforcement                                                                               10,534,536                                                   10,534,536
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services                     7,026,000                                                                                 7,026,000
Headquarters Operations                                       4,429,000                                                                                 4,429,000
Federal Law Enforcement Training Center                                                     2,716,215                                                   2,716,215
United States Secret Service                                      88,000                    1,816,506                       250,000                     2,154,506
Operations Coordination and Planning                                                                                     2,000,000                      2,000,000
Federal Protective Service                                                                                                  850,000                      850,000
Intelligence and Operations                                                                    380,230                                                   380,230
Subtotal                                                    49,478,000                    54,557,532                  151,068,150                     255,103,682
Total DHS R&D obligations                                 $49,480,429                  $167,641,491                 $340,022,777                     $557,144,698
                                            Sources: GAO analysis of DHS budget documents and the Federal Procurement Data System-Next Generation.

                                            Notes:

                                            1. Totals may not add up due to rounding.

                                            2. We analyzed DHS contract obligations coded as basic research, applied research and exploratory
                                            development, and advanced development in the FPDS-NG.

                                            3. DHS conducted a data call to all components for obligations made to the Department of Energy
                                            National Laboratories.

                                            3. We omitted from U.S. Customs and Border Protection FPDS-NG R&D contracts a deobligation of
                                            $12 million for the SBInet program.

                                            4. For the analysis of FPDS-NG R&D contract obligations, we isolated contract obligations made from
                                            the Coast Guard’s R&D Center and the rest of Coast Guard. We were not able to do this for the
                                            national laboratory or reimbursement data because obligations were identified only at the component
                                            level.



                                            Page 37                                                        GAO-12-837 DHS Research and Development
Appendix IV: Role of Research and
              Appendix IV: Role of Research and
              Development in Supporting the Department of
              Homeland Security Acquisition Life Cycle


Development in Supporting the Department
of Homeland Security Acquisition Life Cycle




              Page 38                                       GAO-12-837 DHS Research and Development
Appendix V: Comments from the Department
             Appendix V: Comments from the Department
             of Homeland Security



of Homeland Security




             Page 39                                    GAO-12-837 DHS Research and Development
Appendix V: Comments from the Department
of Homeland Security




Page 40                                    GAO-12-837 DHS Research and Development
Appendix V: Comments from the Department
of Homeland Security




Page 41                                    GAO-12-837 DHS Research and Development
Appendix VI: GAO Contact and Staff
                  Appendix VI: GAO Contact and Staff
                  Acknowledgments



Acknowledgments

                  David C. Maurer, (202) 512-9627 or maurerd@gao.gov
GAO Contact
                  In addition to the contact named above, Chris Currie, Assistant Director,
Staff             and Gary Malavenda, Analyst-in-Charge, managed this assignment.
Acknowledgments   Emily Gunn and Margaret McKenna made significant contributions to this
                  report. Also contributing to this report were Katherine Davis, Michele
                  Fejfar, Eric Hauswirth, Carol Henn, Richard Hung, Julia Kennon, Tracey
                  King, Nate Tranquilli, Katherine Trimble, and Sarah Veale.




(441009)
                  Page 42                               GAO-12-837 DHS Research and Development
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