Luján Encourages DHS to Use National Labs Rather than Build Duplicative Capabilities

Rep. Ben Ray Lujan


WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico’s Third District spoke on the House floor late last night in an exchange with the Chairman of the House Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, Rep. John Carter, to encourage the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to utilize the national labs rather than waste money on duplicative capabilities.

Rep. John Carter

The exchange occurred during debate on the Fiscal Year 2014 Homeland Security Appropriations Act. Below are their remarks. Click here<> to watch their exchange.

Lujan: Madam Chair, I rise to engage Chairman Carter in a colloquy on the Science and Tech Directorate within the Department of Homeland Security. Mr. Chairman, as you know, the enabling act that created the Homeland Security Department provided the new department with special access to the Department of Energy’s national laboratories. The intent was for DHS to utilize the unique capabilities at the national laboratories so that DHS would not build up duplicative capabilities within the department.

Building duplicative capabilities at a different agency is a poor use of taxpayers’ dollars and there is no need to do so given the Department’s access to the existing national labs. At a time when our government has dramatically reduced its ability to conduct cutting edge research into new technologies, we must ensure that the Department of Homeland Security is using its resources in the most cost-effective methods possible. Instead of reinventing the wheel and developing new capabilities, DHS should be utilizing our DOE national labs wherever practical as they conduct research, development, testing or evaluation activities.

The national labs have first-rate capabilities in many areas relevant to homeland security, ranging from explosive detection technologies to advanced cyber security techniques. Mr. Chairman, I urge us to work with the Department to ensure that their research and development funds are effectively spent and not used to create redundant capabilities. And I would yield to Chairman Carter.

Carter: I thank the gentleman for yielding. I appreciate the gentleman from New Mexico raising this issue. As he has pointed out, the Department has the ability to utilize the incredible scientific resources of our national laboratories, and I look forward to working with him on this important issue. As our nation continues to face a tight fiscal situation, it is vital that DHS work to ensure that its Science and Tech Directorate makes good use of our government’s existing capabilities.

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