Status Report

Statement of The Honorable John Marburger, III, Director of the Office of Science and Technology PolicyÊbefore the House Science Committee

By SpaceRef Editor
February 13, 2002
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Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee, I am pleased to appear before you today to discuss the President’s Fiscal Year 2003 budget request for research and development.

When I testified prior to my confirmation by the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation last October, I expressed my desire to Òform a close and productive relationship with Congress, which has long provided bipartisan and enduring support of our world-leading science and engineering enterprise. The counsel and support of Members of Congress is an essential element of continued U.S. leadership across the frontiers of scientific knowledge.ÓÊ I look forward to working with you, Mr. Chairman, and your committee, to demonstrate this commitment to science and engineering excellence once again this year. President Bush has set forth an agenda for science funding in the forthcoming fiscal year that takes advantage of important opportunities for discovery and development, and also sustains the basic machinery of research and development that will be necessary for continued national leadership in science and technology.

Last October I also referred to the fact that we must make important choices together because we have neither unlimited resources, nor a monopoly of the world’s scientific talent. I continue to believe that wise choices among the multitudes of possible research programs are necessary, and that we must decide which programs to launch, encourage, and enhance and which ones to modify, reevaluate, or redirect in keeping with our national needs and capabilities. The President’s FY03 budget includes principles intended to improve the management of the nation’s science and technology enterprise, taking advantage of best practices, and emphasizing the importance of good planning, execution, reinforcement of good performance, and changing poor performance. I look forward to working with Congress to ensure that the significant investment, now over $100 billion, provided by the federal government to the support of science is deployed to optimal effect.


Shortly after I officially became the Director of OSTP at the end of October, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget invited me to attend and participate in the internal OMB decision-making sessions involving science programs. This series of meetings gave me a greater appreciation for the issues, and an opportunity to represent the science perspective on important aspects of the forthcoming budget, such as increased accountability and performance measures for basic science agencies. Following these meetings, my office has continued to work closely with OMB to share information and develop mutual understanding of the complex issues involved in establishing the nation’s science and technology budgets.

It has been a long five months. As you well know, agency budget proposals are submitted to OMB in mid-September for their review. The terrorist attacks on September 11 dramatically changed the context for this budget. The attacks laid bare vulnerabilities in our physical security and exacerbated weaknesses in our economy. The priorities of the nation drastically changed in a matter of a few hours.

The budget reflects the change in priorities and three primary goals:

  • Winning the war on terrorism;

  • Protecting the homeland;

  • Reviving our economy

Recognizing that science must play a role in these priorities, the President provides for an unprecedented level of investment in federal R&D, marking the first time in history that a President has requested an R&D budget greater than $100 billion. The precise figure is $111.8 billion, up 8 percent overall from last year – the largest requested increase for R&D in over a decade.

The R&D budget is an imperfect measure of support for traditional science and technology activities. Another compilation, proposed originally by the National Academy of Sciences to assess the federal investment in research programs central to the creation of new knowledge, is called the Federal Science and Technology Budget. In this category, the President’s budget is up 9 percent.ÊÊ The FS&T activities account for nearly all of federal basic research, over 80 percent of federal applied research, and about half of civilian development. Mr. Chairman, this is a good budget for science, and I look forward to working with Congress to see it successfully enacted.

These science and technology investments will enable the Administration to: enhance homeland defense, national security and global stability; promote long-term economic growth that creates high-wage jobs; sustain a healthy, educated citizenry; harness information technology; improve environmental quality; and maintain world leadership in science, engineering, and mathematics. Let me now direct your attention to some specifics within this budget.

Interagency Initiatives

The budget increases funding for a number of priority research areas that require multi-agency efforts. Information technology, nanotechnology, and health research continue to be high priorities for our nation. The past year has also seen an increase in priority for climate change R&D. After the events of September 11th, Antiterrorism efforts naturally lead the list.

  • Antiterrorism:Ê Our success in preventing, detecting, and responding to terrorist activities, over the long term, will depend on technology. The President’s FY 2003 budget continues the Administration’s strong support of research and development to counter emerging terrorist threats by increasing R&D funding for homeland security and combating terrorism (including protecting critical infrastructure) from nearly $1 billion in 2002 to an estimated $3 billion in 2003.

  • The National Nanotechnology Initiative will increase by 17 percent over last year. This $679 million multi-agency initiative focuses on long-term research on the manipulation of matter down to the atomic and molecular levels, giving us unprecedented opportunities for new classes of devices as small as molecules, and machines as small as human cells.

  • Networking and Information Technology R&D will increase by 3 percent. This brings the overall investment to $1.9 billion in this mature but still critically important area. It provides the base technologies to ensure that the U.S. maintains its dominant position in the application of IT to critical national defense and national security needs, as well as to scientific research, education, and economic innovation.

  • Improving human health.Ê Health research draws on capabilities of many agencies. During the Presidential campaign, the President promised to double the budget of NIH by 2003 from its 1998 levels. That commitment is met in this budget, which includes the final installment of a $3.9 billion increase, paving the way toward better diagnostics, treatments, and cures that affect the lives of all Americans.

  • Climate Change research has become an important driver for the nation’s research agenda. The President created two new initiatives in this budget, the Climate Change Research Initiative (CCRI) will receive $40 million to be shared among five agencies, and the National Climate Change Technology Initiative (NCCTI) will receive $40 million within the DOE budget. The ongoing U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) will receive $1.7 billion, a $44 million (3 percent) increase.

    Highlights of the R&D Budget

    The following examples within the agencies under the jurisdiction of the Committee will provide a brief snapshot of the Administration’s R&D request in these agencies:

  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The budget provides $8.7 billion (an 8 percent increase) for NASA’s programs in the FS&T budget, including $3.4 billion for Space Science (a 13 percent increase), and $2.9 billion for Aero-space Technology, including planned increases in funding for NASA’s Space Launch Initiative ($759 million), that will lead to safer and lower cost, commercial launch vehicles to replace the Space Shuttle.

  • National Science Foundation (NSF).Ê The budget provides a $241 million increase (5 percent) in the National Science Foundation. ÊThis increase will provide $678 million for NSF’s lead role in the National Information Technology R&D program, and $221 million for NSF’s lead role in the National Nanotechnology Initiative. The President’s Math and Science Partnerships Initiative, aimed at increasing the quality of math and science education in Grades K-12, will increase by $40 million to $200 million. The budget also raises graduate level stipends from $21,500 to $25,000 annually, in order to further attract and retain the most promising U.S. students into graduate level science and engineering. NSF is very effective at managing competitive research programs, and the budget proposes transferring to NSF programs that will benefit from their superior management. These programs are: Sea Grants from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Water Quality Research from the U.S. Geological Survey, and Environmental Education from the Environmental Protection Agency.

  • Department of Energy (DOE).Ê The budget provides $5 billion for DOE’s programs in the FS&T budget. The budget includes a 1.5 percent increase for DOE’s Science programs as well as continHoussupport for construction and operation of large scientific user facilities, including the Spallation Neutron Source. The budget also includes a $22 million increase (6 percent) to DOE’s Renewable Energy programs.

  • Department of Commerce (DOC).Ê The budget includes $861 million for DOC programs in the FS&T budget. It provides $402 million (an increase of over 20 percent) for research and physical improvements at NIST’s Measurement and Standards Laboratories, and $107 million for NIST’s Advanced Technology Program to promote competitive, cost-shared R&D partnerships. The FS&T budget also provides $297 million for NOAA to improve understanding of climate change, weather and air quality, and ocean processes.

  • Department of Transportation (DOT).Ê The budget provides $548 million for DOT’s programs in the FS&T budget, including $421 million to support research to improve the quality and safety of the Nation’s highway transportation infrastructure, and $95 million for aviation security technology research.Ê

  • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).Ê The budget provides $797 million (a 6 percent increase) for EPA’s programs in the FS&T budget. The EPA budget funds research that provides a sound scientific and technical foundation for environmental policy and regulatory decision-making. The budget includes $75 million for research into technologies and procedures to cope with future biological or chemical incidents.

    In addition to the agencies that fall within your Committee’s jurisdiction Mr. Chairman, the Department of Defense R&D efforts increase $5.4 billion (an 11 percent increase) to $54.5 billion, and the entire National Institutes of Health budget increases by $3.9 billion (a 17 percent increase) to $27.3 billion, fulfilling the President’s campaign commitment to double funding for NIH.

    President’s Management Agenda:

    In addition to funding these priority areas, the budget also emphasizes the effectiveness of the dollars spent. An Òagency scorecardÓ is still at the experimental stage this year, at least for science budgets.ÊÊ I am pleased to point out that the only agency to achieve a green light in any category is the National Science Foundation. The President’s Management Agenda is as relevant to science missions as to other agency operations, and I look forward to working with OMB to make its provisions a more useful tool for all the agencies.

    In particular, among the provisions of the President’s Management Agenda are investment criteria for research programs, pilot-tested at DOE this past year. In consultation with agencies, industry, and academia, OMB and OSTP will broaden the use of the criteria for applied research and to develop and apply separate investment criteria for basic research programs in 2004.

    * * *

    Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee, I hope that this brief overview has conveyed to you the extent of this Administration’s commitment to advancing science and technology in the national interest.ÊÊ I look forward to achieving bipartisan support for a national S&T strategy that will combine the resources of industry, academia, non-profit organizations, and all levels of government to protect our citizens, advance knowledge, promote education, strengthen institutions, and develop human potential.

    I appreciate very much the long-standing bipartisan support of this Committee for the Office of Science and Technology Policy and for the Science and Technology research enterprise. I would be pleased to respond to questions about this budget.

  • SpaceRef staff editor.