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
DANIELS LOOKS TO FY 2003: OMB Director Mitch Daniels discussed the Bush Administration's approach to the FY 2003 budget, and the impact of the war on terrorism. He concluded that the budget is "unlikely to return to balance...before possibly fiscal [year] '05." Daniels stressed the need for performance measures, and cited NSF as a government program with exemplary performance. Other government officials, speaking at a meeting of the DOE/NSF Nuclear Science Advisory Committee, echoed this message of performance measurement: "investment criteria" are now under development for some DOE applied research programs, with criteria for DOE's basic research programs to be implemented by the FY 2004 budget cycle.
EDUCATION BILLS COMPLETED: In December, Congress completed work on both the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) that reforms many Education Department programs, and the Labor-HHS- Education appropriations bill that funds those programs. While the ESEA bill recommended $450 million for a new Math and Science Partnerships program to improve science and math instruction, appropriators only provided $12.5 million for the Partnerships. However, they urged states to also use available federal teacher quality funds to enhance science and math teaching (FYIs #146, 149, 153, 154).
COLWELL ON SCIENCE AND SECURITY: Three months after the September 11 terrorist attacks, NSF Director Rita Colwell spoke about the role of science in strengthening the nation's security. "As all of you know so well, knowledge is our strongest insurance for preparedness," she said. "Without new knowledge we cannot develop foresight. As we evolve increasingly into a knowledge- based society, our economic growth, our national security, and our social well being will depend on the most advanced discoveries in every field. Knowledge is the bedrock." Also in response to the attacks, science and engineering organizations have established a Science and Engineering Scholarship Fund to help attack victims pursue an education in these fields.
NASA, NIST, AND DOE OFFICE OF SCIENCE POSITIONS: At his December 7 Senate confirmation hearing to be Administrator of NASA, Sean O'Keefe repeatedly emphasized that the space agency must "get back to basics" and focus on its unique research mission. Members of Congress indicated that O'Keefe's skills as a management expert and public administrator are needed at NASA. Additionally, the Senate has now confirmed Arden Bement, Jr. to be Director of NIST, and President Bush has announced that he will nominate Raymond Orbach to be Director of DOE's Office of Science (FYI # 151).
DOD FUNDING COMPLETED: The funding bill for the Department of Defense was the last appropriations bill to be completed this year. Investment in R&D was increased substantially, with total basic research (6.1) growing 5.5%, total applied research (6.2) growing 12.5%, and total Advanced Technology Development (6.3) growing 11.4%. See FYI #148 for the Senate's version of the bill.