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US security department asks for more money for technology

The Department of Homeland Security has asked for a 43% budget increase for science and technology programmes for 2003-2004.

A new research agency will get about $350m (£223m) of the agency's $803m (£511m) 2004 budget request. 

The head of the science and technology office of the US Department of Homeland Security has promised to work with other federal agencies and private suppliers to develop technologies such as biometric scanners of fingerprints or eye irises for use at US border crossings.

Charles McQueary, undersecretary for science and technology under the newly organised agency, also wants the money for research into technologies that would counter biological, chemical and nuclear threats to the US. 

The department's science and technology budget of $561m (£357m) for 2003 came from Department of Defense money, McQueary said.

Many of the requests in the budget are for new programmes. The cornerstone of the budget request is the proposed Homeland Security Advanced Research Projects Agency, modeled after the Department of Defense's Advanced Research Project Agency, which was the original developer of ARPANET, the predecessor of the internet.

Among the goals of the Homeland Security science and technology directorate will be protecting critical infrastructure, including cybersecurity. The 2004 science and technology budget includes $5m (£3.2m) for protecting critical infrastructure, including physical infrastructure such as roads.


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