Dec 13 2009

Shelby Announces Funding for North Alabama Commerce, Justice, and Science Projects

U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), ranking member of the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee (CJS), announced Senate approval of the fiscal year 2010 Omnibus Appropriations bill.  The legislation includes funding for CJS projects in Alabama.  Following today’s action by the Senate, the bill will go to the President for his signature.

“This legislation includes a number of important projects in Alabama and across the nation,” said Shelby.  “This bill reiterates our commitment to funding these projects and advancing important nationwide initiatives.”
                                                                       
The Commerce, Justice and Science subcommittee’s jurisdiction includes the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Economic Development Administration (EDA), the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the Departments of Commerce (DOC) and Justice (DOJ), among others. 

Terrorist Explosives Device Analytical Center (TEDAC) - $30 Million
TEDAC will provide the FBI a state-of-the-art facility to collect and process evidence for the FBI and other law enforcement agencies in support of investigative and intelligence priorities related to all types of explosives.  TEDAC will help to prevent potential improvised explosive device (IED) attacks by coordinating and managing the unified efforts of law enforcement, intelligence, and military assets to technically and forensically defeat terrorist IEDs. Once obtained, this information can be used to form intelligence to assist in terrorist investigations and develop strategies and technologies to counter terrorist attacks.  The fiscal year 2010 CJS bill included an additional $30 million for TEDAC to bring total funding for the Center to $116 million.

“TEDAC plays a critical role in the mission of the FBI to prevent terrorism and promote national security,” said Shelby.  “Along with the ATF National Center for Explosives Training Research and the FBI Hazardous Devices School, Redstone Arsenal can now appropriately be called the Explosives Research Capital of the world.  The cohesion created by having the FBI, ATF, NASA, and the Army all in the same location will be invaluable.” 

National Center for Explosives Training and Research (NCETR) – $6 Million

The National Center for Explosives Training and Research Facility will provide the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) a post-blast research and training facility.  NCETR is expected to bring 64 jobs to the Huntsville area.

“This bill provides $6 million for Phase 2 of a permanent site for the National Explosives Training and Research Facility,” said Shelby.  “This training facility provides federal, state, and local law enforcement one-stop training for explosives.  The co-location of this agency with the FBI's Hazardous Devices School and Terrorist Explosive Device Analytical Center at Redstone Arsenal will create a training and research component that exists nowhere else in the world.”

Ares Projects - $1.5 Billion

Marshall Space Flight Center is responsible for design and development of the Ares I rocket, funded at $1.4 billion, and the Ares V cargo launch vehicle, funded at $100 million, $75 million above the President’s request.  Senator Shelby was instrumental in securing this significant increase in funding.  It includes the Systems Engineering and Integration activities, as well as Safety and Mission Assurance activities for Ares I.  Marshall will also lead the development of a new Upper Stage for the Ares I.  Starting in 2015, the Ares I rocket will carry the Orion crew vehicle and its crew of four to six astronauts, and small cargo payloads, to the International Space Station.

“After years of planning and development, a successful test flight, and recognition from Time magazine as the Best Invention of 2009, it is clear that Ares I and Ares V rockets are the only real viable option for America’s human space exploration program,” said Shelby.  “Without the Ares I and heavy-lift capability of the Ares V rockets, we will relinquish our leadership in space.  Our goals for manned space exploration have always been, and always will be, accomplished through the people of Marshall Space Flight Center.”

Marshall Space Flight Center

The Marshall Space Flight Center is a central component of NASA’s mission to return to the moon.  The following projects will enhance MSFC’s capabilities:

• Advanced Algorithm, Integration, and Maturation (AAIM) - $1 Million
• High Temperature Materials Research and Development - $500,000
• Robotic  Lander Multi-Propellant Diagnostic Testbed - $1 Million
• Product Lifecycle Management - $1 Million         
• Space Nuclear Power Systems Research and Development - $1 Million
• Virtual Environment Simulation Laboratory - $500,000

Constellation -- $3.46 Billion

Constellation continues to be the future of manned space flight for NASA.  The conference agreement provides $3.46 billion for the Constellation manned space program.  Senator Shelby was successful in restoring over $600 million to the program that was cut from the House-passed FY10 CJS appropriations bill.  In addition, Senator Shelby was instrumental in including language that limits NASA’s ability to terminate or alter the current Constellation program.  This will require the Administration to work with Congress and wait for approval prior to changing any current human exploration plans.

"The restoration of funding for Constellation is critical to continuing the successful work being done at Marshall Space Flight Center," said Shelby.  “Constellation is the path that has the safest manned vehicle that is furthest along in development.  Now is not the time to cut funding to the only system that flies not only to the space station, but to the Moon and beyond.”

International Lunar Network (ILN)- $15 Million

As part of the lunar quest program managed at Marshall Space Flight Center, the bill includes $15 million for the International Lunar Network.  Marshall Space Flight Center successfully won a competition for this mission in 2005.  Senator Shelby was instrumental in securing the additional $11.3 million that is needed to support the development of this important lunar science mission.  The ILN will become the backbone geophysical network for future robotic missions to the Moon.  This mission reflects the prioritized lunar science goals articulated in the National Research Council’s study, “The Scientific Context for Exploration of the Moon.”

Redstone UAS Development for Weather and Atmospheric Research -$ 300,000

NOAA will deploy unmanned aerial systems (UAS) with sensors and technology to increase research capabilities and opportunities to monitor weather and climate.  These systems will be equipped to track severe weather, collect data, and study weather patterns. 

“By locating the UAS Development for Weather and Atmospheric Research at Redstone Arsenal, NOAA will be able to collaborate on research and technology development with the Program Executive Office Aviation, Program Manager Unmanned Aerial Systems who develop similar programs for Army unmanned systems,” said Shelby.  “The synergy created by these two federal entities will curtail duplicative efforts and produce a much better return on the taxpayer’s investment.”

Increasing K-16 Genetics and Biotechnology Education - $1 Million

This project will educate Alabama students of all ages in the emerging fields of genetics and biotechnology.  One of the primary objectives is to create unique educational opportunities to bring biotechnology and genetics programs to students across the state.   By incorporating biotechnology hands-on activities for students of all ages, the skill development necessary to successfully compete for STEM-based careers in research, healthcare, agriculture, and information technology would be provided to students.

“These are vital skills necessary for Alabama students to succeed in the global marketplace, yet are currently missing across much of the state’s educational programming,” said Shelby.

Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) - $792 Million

The bill includes critical funding for the law enforcement community to upgrade technology, including in-car computers, cameras, and communications systems. The funding also bolsters forensic capabilities.  The following grants will assist state and local law enforcement in their ability to protect and serve their communities. 

• City of Hartselle Wireless Area Network- $250,000
• City of Huntsville Public Safety Technology Upgrades - $750,000
• Cullman County Commission Law Enforcement Data Communication Sharing Information  - $750,000

“Local law enforcement is vital to adequately responding to crime, gang activity and homeland security,” said Shelby.  “The COPS grant program aims to implement and enhance community policing.  COPS funding assists law enforcement agencies across the country in meeting an ever-increasing range of challenges. The $792 million provided in the bill will allow police and sheriffs’ departments throughout Alabama to take advantage of these grants and increase their enforcement efforts to become more efficient and effective.”    

The Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program - $519 Million

The Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program provides funding for law enforcement to implement programs that prevent and control crime based on their own needs.  The following projects were included in the Senate bill:

• Alabama Department of Forensic Science - $1.4 Million
• Simon Wiesenthal - $1 Million

“In many of my 67 county visits each year, district attorneys and law enforcement officers express the importance of the Byrne grants,” said Shelby. “This reiterates my strong belief that the individuals serving on the front lines of our communities each day know best what their departments need to successfully do their jobs.  Providing funds directly to our law enforcement officers allows them to control crime based on their own needs and is one of the best ways we can support our crime fighters.”

The following programs in Alabama are slated to receive funds in the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill for fiscal year 2010:

Zerometh-Alabama’s Methamphetamine Campaign - $1 Million

Nationwide, methamphetamine usage is on the rise.  Its use continues to poison our nation and the drug knows no boundaries of age, gender, class or race.  The production of methamphetamine is particularly detrimental to communities, as the materials used to create the drugs are both extremely dangerous and easily obtained.

“Alabama’s Zerometh Campaign works to inform the public about the dangers of using meth,” said Shelby.  “Our local law enforcement officers are working overtime to target drug hot spots and to remove and dispose of hazardous materials at clandestine methamphetamine labs. We must do all we can to eliminate this horrific drug from our communities.”

Operation Swordphish – Alabama Department of Public Safety - $1 Million

Last year there were approximately 6,900 known cybercrimes committed in Alabama which were not prosecuted because they did not meet the federal threshold. Many of these crimes were a result of phishing, the act of attempting to fraudulently acquire through deception sensitive personal information such as passwords and credit card details by assuming another's identity in an official-looking electronic communication. Operation Swordphish is a joint effort between the Alabama Department of Public Safety, UAB, and the Alabama District Attorneys Association to gather information, analyze, investigate and prosecute financial cyber crimes and electronic mail based cyber crimes in Alabama and beyond. Operation Swordphish will also work with state and local government and industry to detect network vulnerabilities and address them. The goal of this project is to become a model for cooperative efforts to combat financial crime across the country.

“Each year, consumers and their financial institutions lose billions of dollars to criminals running phishing and cyber fraud operations both in the United States and abroad,” said Shelby.  “Operation Swordphish is a great example of combining the knowledge within our educational institutions and the capabilities of the law enforcement community to address a global problem."

Bulletproof Vest Program - $30 Million

This program helps local jurisdictions purchase armor vests for use by law enforcement officers.

“Each day our state and local law enforcement officers put themselves in harm’s way to protect our communities,” said Shelby.  “Regardless of a community’s financial status, we must ensure that our law enforcement officers have the equipment necessary to protect themselves.  This funding will make certain that our law enforcement officers are protected while they are on the front lines of local communities protecting our citizens.”

Drug Courts - $45 Million

Drug courts provide a specialized process within the existing judicial system to address non-violent drug related cases.   Their mission is to stop the abuse of drugs and alcohol along with the related criminal activity.  Drug courts can help with prison overcrowding by keeping convicted offenders from entering the system as well as reducing the revolving door of crimes and drugs by providing treatment to drug-addicted criminal offenders.

“Our nation’s drug courts are instrumental in the effort to remove drug-addicted criminal offenders from our streets and out of our communities,” said Shelby. 

DNA Initiative and Forensic Sciences Funding - $186 Million

• $151Million for Debbie Smith DNA Backlog Reduction Initiative
• $35 Million for Paul Coverdell Forensic Science Grants

Our nation’s forensic labs have a critical need to reduce backlogs in all areas, particularly in DNA.  This funding will help meet that need while providing the flexibility required for the men and women in the labs to determine their own priorities.

“Significant funding for forensic sciences as a whole is included in our bill,” said Shelby.  “Also included is $35 million for the Paul Coverdell Forensics Grants. State and local forensics labs use Coverdell grants to address a variety of needs within the forensic sciences, including DNA analysis.  The bill provides significant flexibility to allow state lab directors to use Coverdell dollars to address the pressing needs of their individual labs and make important decisions regarding the best use of federal resources, including DNA backlog reduction.”

FBI Intellectual Property Enforcement - $19 Million

This funding will allow the FBI to hire additional agents dedicated solely to intellectual property and computer hacking cases.

“The increase in intellectual property theft by criminals seriously undermines the growth of our economy and discourages innovation,” said Shelby.  “These critical funds will be used to hire FBI agents whose sole duty will be to investigate and catch these criminals.  These funds will provide the bureau with the resources necessary to seriously curtail this criminal activity.”

FBI Mortgage Fraud – $25.4 Million

This funding will support the FBI’s request for 50 additional agents for mortgage fraud investigations and reinforce the Bureau’s white-collar crime investigative capabilities.
 
“Increasing the FBI’s resources to investigate and prosecute financial crimes will help ensure that financial criminals are caught and brought to justice,” said Shelby. “I believe this is a critical step toward restoring trust in our financial markets.”

Adam Walsh Child Protection Funding

• $36.9 Million for U.S. Attorneys to carry out the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act concerning the prosecution of offenses relating to the sexual exploitation of children.

• $27.5 Million for U.S. Marshals Adam Walsh enforcement activities, to hire Deputy Marshals to track down sexual predators, and to help establish the National Sex Offender Targeting Center which improves the information technology backbone and reinforce USMS’s infrastructure so Deputy Marshals have timely, accurate investigative information to track down and arrest those who prey on our nation’s children.

“Child predators who live in our neighborhoods, work in our schools and lurk on playgrounds across this country are every bit as dangerous to the American way of life as any terrorist,” said Shelby.  “Our U.S. Marshals must have the funding necessary to effectively hunt them down and bring them to justice.”

Federal Bureau of Investigation Innocent Images Program - $52.7 Million

These funds will provide enhanced capabilities for the Innocent Images Internet Crimes Against Children program and the Innocence Lost program which focus on the transportation of children for prostitution and other crimes. 

“I have repeatedly said that if someone was able to buy heroin over the internet with their credit card, people would be appalled,” said Shelby.  “The acts of child pornography and child prostitution are much worse and we must do everything we can to stop these horrendous actions.”

Innocence Lost Initiative - $5 Million 

This effort by the FBI, the Department of Justice, and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children combines the efforts of these entities to address the growing problem of domestic sex trafficking of children in the United States. These efforts have rescued over 575 children and led to the conviction of more than 300 associated with this horrible industry.  This funding will be used to hire additional agents for this initiative.

“Sex trafficking of children is one of the most horrific industries I can imagine,” said Shelby.  “Our law enforcement agencies must have the tools and resources necessary to successfully rescue any child that is abducted for this terrible crime.”

Missing and Exploited Children Programs - $70 Million

“Crimes against children are a plague on our society and we must continue to work to eradicate them.  Continued investment of substantial resources in these programs is critical to ensure the safety of our nation’s most vulnerable citizens - children.”

Child Sexual Predator Elimination Grant Program - $12 Million

Child Sexual Predator Elimination Grant Program is a new national initiative that will provide grants to state and local governments to locate, arrest and prosecute sexual predators.  These grants, distributed by National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, will enable state and local law enforcement entities to specifically focus on sexual predators who fail to register, sex offenders who prey upon children, and those who engage in child sexual exploitation.  

“It is our obligation to protect our children against child sexual exploitation,” said Shelby.  “We must provide the necessary resources to protect our most vulnerable citizens – children - so they will not fall victim to this despicable act.  I have long supported efforts to protect our children and strongly believe that this funding will go a long way to aid in the eradication of these horrible crimes.”