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FYI Number 24: March 5, 2001

Bush Administration FY 2002 S&T Request

President George W. Bush has sent his FY 2002 budget "blueprint" to Congress. It appears that the administration is requesting a 1.4% increase in FY 2002 total spending for general science, space, and technology, which roughly translates to the budgets for the National Science Foundation, NASA, and the DOE Office of Science.

The actual increase is somewhat unclear because of an error in one of the tables in this two hundred page document. NASA aeronautics funding was included in the wrong budget category, which made the total request for the general science, space, and technology line appear much larger than it actually is.

The Office of Management and Budget is now reworking these figures. It appears that the Bush Administration is requesting a total increase of $300 million for NSF, NASA, and DOE science, from $20.9 billion in FY 2001 to $21.2 billion in FY 2002.

The budget blueprint does not provide many numbers for individual programs (those numbers will be in a large submission that will go to Congress in April.) The following is what the blueprint states about S&T programs covered in FYI. The numbers following each quotation are the page number from the submission that can be viewed here.


For the department, funding would be reduced 3.0%. No funding is specified for the Office of Science. The document does state: "Strengthen Stockpile Stewardship: The Stockpile Stewardship Program maintains our nuclear arsenal. The program is an essential safeguard to our national security and is in significant need of reform and repair. The budget increases funding for activities in this area by five percent to approximately $5.3 billion." (107) The blueprint states: "Management in general, and contract management in particular, have consistently been listed by the General Accounting Office as high risk activities. Project and contract management have also been listed by the Inspector General as top management challenges. DOE intends to achieve significant savings in 2002 from restructuring and reevaluating the performance of major projects across the Department including environmental management and science projects." (108)


The administration requested an increase of $56 million over the current year level of $4.426 billion. (Last October, Congress approved a $529 million increase in the NSF budget for the current fiscal year.) Directorate and program levels are not given. The document does state that the budget "provides approximately $1.5 billion for new research and education awards in 2002, to fund nearly 10,000 new competitively reviewed awards." (159) "Increases graduate stipends for the Graduate Research Fellowships, the Graduate Teaching Fellowships in K-12 Education, and the Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship programs." (159) Regarding a new program, the document states: "Provides $200 million to begin the President's Math and Science Partnership initiative to provide funds for States to join with institutions of higher education in strengthening math and science education in grades K-12." (159) "As part of the Math and Science Partnership initiative, $110 million is redirected from existing NSF education programs toward the initiative's $200 million level in 2002." (160) Under a section entitled Redirected Resources, the document states: "The 2001 enacted level for NSF included a number of earmarked and lower-priority projects. While the majority of projects must be assessed on their merits through an extensive review process, many of these projects do not face such scrutiny and often address lower-priority areas or needs. The 2002 Budget does not renew funding for these projects, saving $45 million." "The budget also better focuses facility project resources by maintaining commitments for the Large Hadron Collider, the Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation, and Terascale Computing Systems. Facility project spending will be reduced by $13 million, reflecting no new starts of major facility projects in 2002." (160)

The chapter on NSF also states: "Reorganize Research in Astronomy and Astrophysics: NSF and NASA provide more than 90 percent of Federal funds for academic astronomy research and facilities. Historically, NASA has funded spaced-based astronomy and NSF has funded ground-based astronomy, as well as astronomy research proposals. Several changes have evolved which suggest that now is the time to assess the Federal Government's management and organization of astronomical research. NSF and NASA will establish a Blue Ribbon Panel to assess the organizational effectiveness of Federal support of astronomical sciences and, specifically, the pros and cons of transferring NSF's astronomy responsibilities to NASA. The panel may also develop alternative options. This assessment will be completed by September 1, 2001." (161) Other language was included on page 161 regarding a process to determine the correct grant size and enhancing NSF's management of large facility projects.


NASA's budget would increase 2.0% over 2001. Regarding space science, the document states: "To ensure successful execution of programs already underway, two projects with a very large escalation in cost, the Pluto-Kuiper Express and Solar Probe missions, will not be funded. To support a potential, future sprint to the planet Pluto before 2020, additional funds will be directed to key propulsion technology investments. The budget funds a more robust Mars Exploration Program and provides critical technology funding to support future decisions on high- energy astrophysics missions." (156) A separate section on Earth Science states: "NASA has worked with the National Academy of Sciences to develop future Earth Science research priorities and, based on these priorities, has developed plans for the second generation of Earth Observing System (EOS) satellites. NASA's outyear plan for these satellites has been underfunded in recent years, but the budget will provide a five-percent increase in 2002 for a science-driven EOS Follow-On program while discontinuing low-priority remote sensing satellite and environmental application projects to ensure that EOS priorities can go forward." (156) Regarding the space station, the document states: "To address...unprecedented cost growth and ensure that the program remains within the five-year budget plan, the President's 2002 Budget will include important decisions regarding the funding and management of the program while preserving the highest priority goals: permanent human presence in space, world-class research in space, and accommodation of international partner elements." (155)


"The budget proposes a $2.6 billion initiative ($20 billion over five years) to fund R&D of new technologies. Among areas in which new investment might be made include: leap-ahead technologies for new weapons and intelligence systems; improvements to the laboratory and test range infrastructure; technologies aimed at reducing the costs of weapons and intelligence systems; efforts, such as counter- terrorism and counter-proliferation that are focused on countering unconventional threats to national security; and funding to continue research, development, and testing of a missile defense program." Funding for 6.1, 6.2, and 6.3 S&T programs is not specified. (100)


The departmental budget would increase 11.5%, or $4.6 billion, to $44.5 billion. The Eisenhower professional development program is not cited, but would appear to be covered by the following statement: "To restore local control, the President proposes to consolidate many Federal programs within five flexible categories, allowing States to direct funds towards major priorities." (41) Under Higher Education, the document states: "The budget also includes a mandatory-spending higher education initiative: expanding the existing teacher student loan forgiveness program to provide greater benefits for math and science teachers." (104)


The blueprint states: "The budget also suspends funding for the Advanced Technology Program (ATP), which supports research and development activities of private firms, pending a reevaluation of this program. New ATP awards would not be made in 2001 or 2002, though support for ongoing programs would be continued using reprogrammed ATP funds from 2001." (96)

Future FYIs will include additional blueprint language on the rationale behind this budget, and reaction to it.

Richard M. Jones
Media and Government Relations Division
American Institute of Physics
(301) 209-3095

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