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FYI Number 48: April 13, 2001

National Institute of Standards & Technology FY02 Request; NOAA

President Bush's FY 2002 budget request would cut funding for the Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) by nearly 20 percent. Support for NIST's in- house laboratories would increase, but funding for new Advanced Technology Program (ATP) awards would be suspended while the program is evaluated. Also part of the Commerce Department, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration would see a 2.0 percent decrease under this request. In his department's budget briefing, Commerce Secretary Don Evans stated, "The President's budget is focused on the people's priorities, and it puts first things first, starting with a fair, responsible and much-needed tax cut." Evans outlined the Bush Administration's philosophy for the Commerce Department: the "government's role is not to create wealth, but rather to create an environment in which entrepreneurs and workers can flourish and create wealth."

The total FY 2002 request for NIST is $487.5 million, a decrease of $109.5 million, or 18.3 percent, from the FY 2001 level of $597.0 million. Scientific and Technical Research and Services (STRS), which includes NIST's intramural laboratories, the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Program, and the Critical Infrastructure Protection Grants Program, would receive $347.3 million, an increase of $35.4 million, or 11.4 percent, over current funding. NIST's Industrial Technology Services, comprising the Advanced Technology Program (ATP) and the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), would receive $119.3 million, a $131.0 million, or 52.4 percent, decrease from the current year. Construction funding would also decrease, by 39.9 percent, to $20.9 million. Details of the request, as given in a NIST Fact Sheet, are provided below:

SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNICAL RESEARCH AND SERVICES: Up 11.4 percent

NIST Laboratories: The request is $336.9 million, an increase of $35.2 million, or 11.7 percent, over current funding. The Fact Sheet states that the request would "provide U.S. industry and the science/technology community with the measurement capabilities, standards, evaluated reference data and test methods needed to support innovation, improve quality and lower transaction costs in virtually all technology- intensive sectors."

Baldrige National Quality Program: The request is $5.4 million, an increase of $0.2 million, or 3.9 percent, over current funding. The request would "manage the annual award competition (for the manufacturing, service, small business, health care and education sectors), conduct the annual Quest for Excellence conference..., maintain a comprehensive database on state and local quality awards, continually improve the performance excellence criteria, and facilitate information sharing among all sectors of the U.S. economy."

Critical Infrastructure Protection Grants Program: The request is $5.0 million, equal to FY 2001 funding. This program promotes "the necessary research to address the widespread vulnerabilities in and risks to U.S. computer and telecommunications systems."

INDUSTRIAL TECHNOLOGY SERVICES: Down 52.4 percent

Advanced Technology Program: The request is $13.0 million, a decrease of $132.4 million, or 91.9 percent, from FY 2001 funding. "This request, combined with estimated carryover from the previous year and recoveries, would provide an operating budget of $79.9 million which would cover continued funding requirements for previous awards. The Administration proposes that no new awards be made in FY 2002 while the ATP is evaluated by the Commerce Department." Secretary Evans provided the following explanation: "To ensure taxpayer dollars are being used to maximum effect, the Commerce Department will reevaluate the Advanced Technology Program, to see if the program's research and development grants to commercial businesses are warranted, given the current opportunities for high-tech firms. While ongoing projects will be funded through their scheduled completion, the administration proposes that funding for new grants is suspended in FY 2002."

Manufacturing Extension Partnership: The request is $106.3 million, an increase of $1.4 million, or 1.3 percent, from the current level. "The request will permit NIST to continue providing the federal share of funding needed to support the network of centers serving smaller manufacturers in all 50 states and Puerto Rico."

CONSTRUCTION OF RESEARCH FACILITIES: Down 39.9 percent

The request for construction is $20.9 million, a decrease of $13.9 million from current funding. The Fact Sheet states that this request will "address the highest priority safety, capacity, maintenance and major repair projects required to operate NIST's research facilities in Gaithersburg, Md., and Boulder, Colo., some of which are 30-45 years old."

NATIONAL TECHNICAL INFORMATION SERVICE: Not funded; no change

"NTIS covers its operating costs through fees for its products and services; there is no FY 2002 request for the agency." No funding was appropriated for NTIS in FY 2001 either.

NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION (NOAA):

NOAA is also funded through the Department of Commerce. It would receive $3,152.3 million under the FY 2002 request, a decrease of $60.8 million, or 2.0 percent, from current funding. According to Evans, "Increases totaling $330 million are provided for critical programs including severe weather prediction, coastal conservation, climate study, marine sanctuaries, fisheries modernization and modernization of the marine transportation system." Within NOAA, its budget document states, $0.7 million is requested for Climate Change Assessments, to "continue contributions to environmental assessments that have become the primary tool to deliver climate information to governments, industry, the scientific community and the general public.... This investment will support NOAA's leadership in assessing climate change and its global impact on the United States and other communities."

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

 

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