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There can be no security without the economic vitality created by innovation, just as there can be no economic vitality without a secure environment in which to live and work.40 Investment in R&D for homeland security has grown rapidly; however, most of it has been in the form of development of new technologies to meet immediate needs.

Human capacity is as important as research funding. As part of its comprehensive overview of how science and technology could contribute to countering terrorism, for example, the National Research Council recommended a human-resources development program similar to the post-Sputnik National Defense Education Act (NDEA) of 1958.41 A Department of Defense proposal to create and fund a new NDEA is currently being examined in Congress.42

CONCLUSION

The science and technology research community and the industries that rely on that research are critical to the quality of life in the United States. Only by continuing investment in advancing technology—through the education of our children, the development of the science and engineering workforce, and the provision of an environment conducive to the transformation of research results into practical applications—can the full innovative capacity of the United States be harnessed and the full promise of a high quality of life realized.

40

Council on Competitiveness. Innovate America. Washington, DC: Council on Competitiveness, 2004. P. 19.

41

National Research Council. Making the Nation Safer: The Role of Science and Technology in Countering Terrorism. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2002.

42

See H.R. 1815, National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2006, Sec. 1105. Science, Mathematics, and Research for Transformation (SMART) Defense Education Program—National Defense Education Act (NDEA), Phase I. Introduced to the House of Representatives on April 26, 2005; referred to Senate committee on June 6, 2005; status as of July 26, 2005: received in the Senate and read twice and referred to the Committee on Armed Services.



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