HIGHLIGHTS OF DEVELOPMENTS IN WASHINGTON IMPACTING THE PHYSICS COMMUNITY FROM FYI, THE AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF PHYSICS BULLETIN OF SCIENCE POLICY NEWS
Richard M. Jones, Audrey T. Leath
BOEHLERT ON R&D AND TERRORISM: "...[T]he events of September 11th have forced us to alter our agenda in ways large and small," House Science Committee Chairman Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY) said on October 1. "But fundamentally, our nation's R&D and education needs remain pretty much what they were before the attacks.... What we need to do now is to draw on, and to shore up, the strengths of our major institutions...not just to prevent future attacks, but to ensure that our nation remains a beacon of freedom and openness and opportunity and innovation and prosperity."
FY02 BUDGET AGREEMENT: The White House and congressional leaders agreed to make an additional $25 billion available for FY 2002 discretionary spending, with $18.4 billion targeted for defense spending, $2.2 billion for emergencies, and $4 billion for education. The budget agreement removed a major obstacle to completion of the 13 appropriations bills, and enabled appropriators in both the House and Senate to pass versions of a Labor-HHS-Education funding bill (FYI #128, #129). The House version would provide close to $500 million for new state- university-school district Partnerships to improve math and science education, while the Senate bill would only provide $25 million for such partnerships within the Education Department.
HEARING ON NSF LARGE PROJECT MANAGEMENT: At a hearing largely supportive of NSF's track record for handling large facility projects, NSF director Rita Colwell discussed the foundation's new draft plan to improve its management and oversight of such projects.
OSTP DIRECTOR MARBURGER: John Marburger, recently confirmed as director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, shared his views on science policy with the High Energy Physics Advisory Panel and at an October 9 Senate confirmation hearing (FYI #126, #127). He predicted that the terrorist attacks will have broad implications for funding and Administration priorities.
QUADRENNIAL DEFENSE REVIEW: "DOD must maintain a strong science and technology (S&T) program," stated the Defense Department's 2001 Quadrennial Defense Review Report (QDR), released on September 30. To provide the basic research for technological advances in numerous areas, the QDR "calls for a significant increase in funding for S&T programs to a level of three percent of DOD spending per year." The Administration's FY 2002 budget request would provide 2.7 percent of total DOD funding for S&T.
S&T IN FOREIGN POLICY: Diplomacy is a crucial element of national security, said State Department Science and Technology Adviser Norman Neureiter at an October 6 lecture, and there is an increasing need for scientific and technological advice to inform the foreign policy process. Counter-terrorism was one of many highly technical issues that he cited as priorities for the State Department.
USGS APPROPRIATIONS: The final FY 2002 Interior Appropriations bill provides $914.0 million for USGS, which is an increase of $31.2 million, or 3.5 percent, over the past year. The House and Senate have now both passed the bill, clearing the way for President Bush's signature.