The Bush Administration's FY 2005 budget request contains significant
increases and decreases for the National Institute of Standards and
Technology. If enacted, NIST's total budget would decline
$89,258,000, or 14.6%. Within this request, NIST's laboratories
would see a sizeable increase, while funding for the Advanced
Technology Program would be eliminated.
In introducing the budget, Commerce Under Secretary of Technology Phillip
J. Bond stated, "The President realizes that technology is central
to both our economic security and our homeland security. Given the President's
efforts to hold the line on non-defense funding, this budget request
represents a significant investment in our science and technology infrastructure
that would enable us to both win the war on terror and remain competitive
around the world."
NIST's budget request is divided into three components. The first,
Scientific & Technical Research & Services (STRS) has two parts.
Almost all funding is devoted to the NIST laboratories, which would
increase 25.8% or $85,727,000 under this request. A NIST budget document
explains: "The FY 2005 budget proposed for the NIST laboratories
addresses shortfalls over the past several years that threaten to undercut
the very core measurements and standards infrastructure upon which our
nation's scientific, technological and industrial enterprises depend.
Accordingly, this budget proposes new initiatives to support advanced
manufacturing ($15.6 million), public safety and security ($18.6 million),
advanced measurement capabilities to meet the needs of 21st century
science and industry ($16.2 million), and improvements to the NIST Center
for Neutron Research, a unique national resource for research in materials,
biological and chemical science, and physics ($8.3 million)."
Additional information about Major Research Initiatives at the NIST
laboratories, including the Physics and Materials Science and Engineering
Laboratories, can be seen at http://www.nist.gov/public_affairs/budget/2005budgethighlights.htm
Also under the STRS budget is the Baldrige National Quality Program,
for which funding would decline 1.0% or $56,000 to $5,400,000.
The second component of the NIST budget is that for Industrial Technology
Services. The Manufacturing Extension Program, which was just hit by
a 63% reduction in funding for the current year, would see a 1.2% or
$464,000 increase in the FY 2005 budget to $39,190,000. About this,
the budget document states, "The Administration recognizes the
important role manufacturing plays in our economy, and on Jan. 16 Secretary
Evans released a comprehensive manufacturing strategy, Manufacturing
in America. A key part of that strategy includes continued support for
the MEP and steps to review and improve its efficiency. . . . This budget
proposal funds MEP at the level agreed to by the Congress in the FY
2004 Consolidated Appropriations Act." The other major program
is the Advanced Technology Program. The Administration is again trying
to eliminate funding for this program, which is now $170,533,000. The
NIST budget document does not provide much explanation for this termination,
saying "Since 1990, the Advanced Technology Program (ATP) has
used cost-shared awards to encourage industry investment in high-risk,
innovative technology R&D that promise broad benefits to the nation.
This budget proposes terminating the program in favor of higher-priority
The final component of the NIST budget is that for Construction of
Research Facilities, for which funding would decline 7.6% or
$4,860,000 to $59,411,000. See the budget document cited above for
information on proposed projects.