"My testimony principally concerns the administrative
structure of the Department and the effect that the structure has
had on the performance of the Office of Science and the Energy Research
Programs. But first, I would like to comment briefly on the DOE's
research budgets for FY 2002, particularly in the context of the public's
renewed awareness about energy issues.
"The Vice President's Energy Task Force Report highlights
important role that research must play in securing our energy
future: by creating and bringing to market new energy technologies,
enhancing efficiency of energy production and use, and mitigating
environmental impact of existing technologies. A sustained commitment
must be made to invest in both fundamental science and applied energy
"Even if energy were not on the policy front burner,
President's budget request would shortchange the DOE's civilian research
programs.... DOE, the lead agency for the physical sciences, has seen
its research budget decline steadily during the 1990s. Last year,
recognizing that technology drives the economy and that today's science
becomes tomorrow's high-tech product, the Republican Congress and
the Democratic White House reversed this trend with major increases
in many of the DOE's research programs. The budget request submitted
by the Bush
Administration turns the clock back.
"With energy on everyone's mind, that request is not
only bad policy, it is bad politics. Admittedly, the Administration
submitted its request before the Vice President's Energy Task
Force had released its report, and in its amended budget the
Administration has sought to remedy some of the deficiencies. But
I believe that it has not gone nearly far enough. Nor have the House
and Senate appropriations bills.
"I hope that this committee sends a clear signal through
authorization bill that the budgetary momentum established last year
for DOE's research programs must be sustained for FY 2002. Our economic
future requires it, our energy future depends on it, and the technological
workforce of the future will vanish without it.
"There are many reasons why DOE's research programs
have fared poorly in the budgetary process for some time. The end
of the Cold War reduced defense exigencies, cheap fuel prices created
a feeling of energy security, and hazardous waste and lax security
at some national laboratories gave the Department a bad rap.
"But the administrative structure within the Department
exacerbated matters. The highest level administrator with sole authority
for science is the Director of the Office of Science, who sits three
levels below the Secretary. Today, one Under Secretary oversees the
National Nuclear Security Agency, and one oversees all other activities.
Only rarely has an Under Secretary had a science background. With
DOE's Weapons Programs and Environmental Management activities absorbing
major attention, policy makers in the Executive Branch and in Congress
have often ignored the Department's research programs.
"I am here today, speaking as a representative of a
panel of ten other scientists who have had extensive administrative
and policy experience with DOE's scientific programs. The report from
which the balance of my testimony is drawn, DOE
Science for the Future, was stimulated by discussions that
took place at meetings of the American Physical Society's Physics
Policy Committee last year. With the Chairman's permission, I would
like to have it included in the record.
"The report makes several observations specifically
regarding the Office of Science:
"First, the Office oversees outstanding national laboratories
whose capabilities for solving complex interdisciplinary problems
are not easily matched elsewhere. It builds and operates large-scale
user facilities of importance to all areas of science and, in large
part, has been enormously successful. And it supports a large array
of university research programs that are responsible for educating
and training the next generation of scientists.
"Second, as I noted earlier, for about a decade, DOE
budgets have been declining and have fared very badly compared to
those of other agencies. These difficulties have been exacerbated
by perceptions of mismanagement and security problems throughout the
Department. In many areas, the budget situation has reached crisis
proportions, jeopardizing future U.S. leadership in many essential
areas of science.
"Last, the Director of the DOE Office of Science has
responsibilities comparable to those of the director of the NSF and
not very different from those of the directors of NIH and NASA but
does not have comparable authority or visibility.
"Mr. Chairman, our report proposed two alternative
recommendations, one of which comes under the purview of this Committee.
It is also one that appears in Division E, Title XV, Sec. 1503 in
S. 597 [energy legislation proposed by Bingaman earlier this year,
which he may use to guide the committee's current efforts]. That recommendation
is to establish the position of Under Secretary for Science and Technology.
I urge the Committee to adopt it in its final markup.
"Our report also recommended that the Under Secretary
serve as the Science Advisor to the Secretary, as called for in S.
597's Subsection (b)(3). Although our report did not set out additional
details for the Under Secretary, I think the panel would feel comfortable
endorsing the remaining duties described in Subsection (b). Additionally,
as the Department moves toward stricter accountability for research
performance, the Under Secretary will have an important role in ensuring
that the DOE strives for quality science, as well as efficient program
"Our report expressed hope that a qualified Under Secretary
would be an influential scientist who could be an effective leader
and spokesperson for DOE science and energy with comparable visibility
and authority to the Directors of NSF, NASA and NIH."