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house Bill H.R. 2390

Conducting a Study to Improve the Department of Homeland Security’s University-Based Centers

Argument in favor

The Centers of Excellence program provides vital research that informs policymakers on homeland security policies, and they do so by harnessing the talents and resources of academic institutions here in the U.S.

William's Opinion
Yes. I'm in favor of anything to stop an attack and put an end to global terrorism. Period
Like (8)
Marvin's Opinion
I never understood why people distrust academia. These people are brilliant who act according to what their knowledge dictates. If they can help, why not?
Like (5)
Lisa's Opinion
It makes zero sense to distrust academics.
Like (5)

Argument opposed

These Centers are already doing important research, it would be a waste of resources for DHS and the GAO to study ways to improve the Centers of Excellence program.

Dr. jose's Opinion
Let's discontinue endless studies and focus on the core purpose of the department. It is the responsibility of the leadership to monitor performance and make necessary adjustments. Let's stop the wasted taxpayers contributions.
Like (5)
Curmudgeon's Opinion
I distrust academia as much as government so why should I want them in cahoots?
Like (5)
billwdk9's Opinion
I agree with a previous gentleman - I distrust academia as much as government so why should I want them in cahoots?
Like (3)

What is House Bill H.R. 2390?

This bill would require the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to conduct a study that assesses the university-based centers for homeland security program that operates under the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

Within the study, the GAO would review:

  • DHS’ efforts to identify key areas of study that would aid the cause of homeland security, and criteria used to determine areas for which DHS should maintain, establish, or eliminate university-based centers.

  • The methods used by university-based centers, federally funded research and development centers, and Department of Energy national laboratories receive tasks from DHS. This would include how university-based research is identified, prioritized, and funded.

  • Selection criteria for designating university-based centers and how those criteria are weighted.

  • Examine the best practices of other agencies’ efforts to organize and use university-based research to support their missions.

  • The metrics used by DHS to measure progress by the university-based centers in fulfilling DHS tasks, and mechanisms used to deliver and disseminate research results.

  • Examine the ways that academic institutions that aren’t designated as university-based centers can optimally contribute to DHS’ research mission.

  • The interrelationship between the different university-based centers and the degree to which outreach and collaboration among a diverse array of academic institutions is encouraged by DHS -- particularly with historically Black colleges and universities and minority-serving institutions.

This study must begin within 120 days of this legislation’s enactment, and provide an annual report to Congress within one year.


Researchers and administrators at DHS Centers of Excellence, DHS, the GAO, Congress.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 2390

$500.00 Thousand
The CBO estimates that implementing this legislation would cost under $500,000 in 2016 and over the 2016-2020 period.

More Information

In-Depth: The DHS university-based research is conducted at what are known as “Centers of Excellence,” and there have been 19 such Centers of Excellence located on 27 campuses -- as some Centers are joint ventures between multiple academic institutions. 10 of these Centers are active, and are located on 13 campuses. The research conducted by the active Centers includes risk and economic analysis of terrorism events, food protection and defense, responses to terrorism, coastal hazards, explosive threats, animal diseases, and border security, among others.

In introducing this legislation, sponsoring Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) called the Centers of Excellence network:

“One of our most critical programs for fostering the Department’s research and development efforts… This bill seeks to develop a definitive picture of the extent to which DHS invests and utilizes these collaborative centers and directs it to provide more detail on their designation and support for these institutions in a report to Congress.”


Summary by Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: Flickr user KamiPhuc)


Homeland Security University-Based Centers Review Act

Official Title

To require a review of university-based centers for homeland security, and for other purposes.

bill Progress

  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
  • The house Passed June 23rd, 2015
    Passed by Voice Vote
      house Committees
      Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Innovation
      Research and Technology
      Committee on Homeland Security
      Committee on Science, Space, and Technology
    IntroducedMay 18th, 2015

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