The President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology
(PCAST) met on September 30 at the Department of State.
Secretary of State Colin Powell addressed the members about the
contributions science and technology can make to the nation's
security. The chairs of the four PCAST subcommittees reviewed
their work. Not mentioned was the status of the August 28 PCAST
draft letter to President Bush regarding federal R&D.
PCAST co-chair and OSTP Director John Marburger opened the
meeting by stating it had been a year since President Bush signed
the Executive Order establishing his administration's PCAST.
The council has been busy since then, Marburger said, with four
subcommittees studying federal R&D, broadband communications,
energy efficiency, and terrorism. Co-chair Floyd Kvamme noted
the council's advocacy of science and technology.
G. Wayne Clough chairs the Federal R&D subcommittee. His subcommittee's
draft August 28 letter to President Bush was the subject of the PCAST
conference call reported in FYI
#101. Much of that one-hour call centered on the draft letter's
recommendation that "we suggest that FY2004 presents the appropriate
opportunity to double federal research investments in physical sciences
and four major engineering fields . . . from the FY 2002 levels."
During this call some concern was expressed about the time frame and
the concept of doubling. There was little discussion about the letter's
other two recommendations.
At this week's meeting Clough said that too much attention has
been focused on the letter's funding recommendation. He devoted
his presentation to the subcommittee's other concerns regarding
the future S&T workforce, the splintered S&T structure in the
executive and legislative branch, the measurement of program
effectiveness, international competition, and technology
There was no comment made during Clough's presentation about the status
of the letter to President Bush. During the August 28 conference call
Marburger said that they wanted to get the letter to the President within
just a few days to impact OMB's development of the FY 2004 budget request.
The final letter has not been sent, and the links to the original draft
letter and the underlying report authored by Erich Bloch have been removed
from the PCAST web site's front page. Both can be read at http://www.ostp.gov/PCAST/PCASTDraftLetterPublic2.pdf
Secretary Powell's remarks surveyed the Administration's efforts
to improve national security. Powell views science and
technology as a quiet way to fight terrorism, and addressed the
importance of information technology to improving his
department's visa function. The secretary discussed the
relationship between democracy and economic development, saying
the U.S. needs an aggressive S&T policy to assist developing
countries in areas such as biotechnology, energy and AIDS.
Following Powell's remarks there was a roundtable discussion on
S&T and international development that featured a speaker from
the Agency for International Development and Norman Neureiter,
Science and Technology Adviser to the Secretary of State.
Neureiter discussed the contributions that education, access to
information, and science-based decision making can make to
sustainable development. Partnerships between the developed and
developing nations will be important, he said, in alleviating
clean water, energy, health, and agricultural problems.