Brown Secures Record Funding for HBCU and Minority Institutions in Defense Budget
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed an amendment offered by Congressman Anthony G. Brown (D-MD) to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2018 (H.R. 2810) that authorizes record funding to the Department of Defense (DoD) Historically Black Colleges and Universities/Minority Institutions (HBCU/MI) program. Passage of the amendment would authorize the program at $40 million, a 54% increase over the President’s FY18 proposed authorized level and $7 million above current levels. Often the target of sequestration and budget cuts, the program will receive its highest authorization level since 2010.
“The DoD HBCU/MI program will expand STEM opportunities for our underrepresented communities while helping us meet our growing national security needs,” said Congressman Brown. “By giving students and faculty the ability to work directly with military laboratories to develop skills in critical fields such as cyber security, we can further develop a pipeline of highly-skilled, diverse college graduates into the U.S. Armed Services. As new foreign and domestic threats emerge, we must continue to diversify our talent pool of innovators and researchers. Not only will these skilled professionals help us bolster our national security, but they will also be better positioned to thrive in a world that is often uncertain for veterans transitioning into civilian life.”
“HBCUs are grossly underfunded, despite their proven contributions to communities, research, and the students they serve,” said Congresswoman Adams. “I joined my colleagues to offer this amendment because HBCUs are leaders in technology and innovation, graduating twenty-five percent of Africans Americans with STEM degrees, yet they lack essential funding. The increased resources provided by this amendment will allow HBCU students and faculty to continue completing groundbreaking research while creating a pipeline of diverse graduates to the U.S. Armed Services. These highly-skilled students are the leaders of our future and it is imperative we provide them with opportunities to thrive so we may continue utilizing their talents to bolster the safety of our nation.”
“Some of the most important and sophisticated scientific work in U.S. universities today is taking place at HBCUs,” said Congressman Johnson. “We must do all we can to foster and tap into that innovation and expertise, while cultivating a minority workforce that excels at science, technology, engineering, and math. Ensuring our nation’s leading experts and innovators are from diverse backgrounds only strengthens our ability to compete in the global marketplace. I will continue my unfaltering advocacy for HBCUs. We must give these talented students the resources they need to find new, innovative, cost-efficient solutions for health, human needs, energy, environmental and security challenges of the nation.”
“UNCF applauds the House for recognizing the strong contributions that HBCUs make to our national security,” said Dr. Michael L. Lomax, President and CEO of the UNCF (United Negro College Fund). “Increasing the authorization level for the HBCU/Minority Institutions program by $14 million above the President’s proposed budget to $40 million is precisely the commitment needed to tap into the scientific talent on HBCU campuses and bolster the pipeline of students of color entering the STEM workforce fully prepared to meet the global security challenges facing our country today. UNCF is especially grateful to our champions, including Congressman Anthony Brown, Congressman Hank Johnson, and Congresswoman Alma Adams, for their unwavering support.”
Since 2010, the Defense Department has awarded more than 275 competitive research and equipment grants to HBCUs and MIs including Morgan State University (Maryland), North Carolina A&T State University (North Carolina) and Clark Atlanta University (Georgia). The program was uniquely designed to bring diversity and people of color into the United States military from HBCUs, Predominately Black Institutions, Hispanic-Serving Institutions, Tribal Colleges and Universities, and Asian American and Pacific Islander Alaskan Native-Serving Institutions by cultivating and strengthening their scientific and technical infrastructure and academic capabilities. In addition, the program supports Centers of Excellence (COEs) for Battlefield Capability Enhancements. COEs recruit, educate and train outstanding students and post-doctoral researchers in science and technology areas relevant to the Army, such as cybersecurity, research data analysis, nanotechnology, materials science and autonomy. Overall, the DoD HBCU/MI program plays an important role in assisting HBCUs and MIs by cultivating and strengthening their scientific and technical infrastructure and academic capabilities.