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FYI THIS MONTH: APRIL 2002

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
fyithismonth@aip.org

ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY PROGRAM: The Administration seeks a 42% reduction in FY 2003 funding for this program and wants six major reforms. Hearings demonstrated support for ATP, and a more favorable administration position on the program.

ITAR: A newly issued rule attempts to clarify defense regulations and reduce obstacles to university-based space instruction and research.

S&T SPENDING RECOMMENDATIONS: The Science Committee raised concerns about the balance within the federal research portfolio, recommended almost a 9% increase in FY 2003 funding for the NSF, highlighted funding problems for the DOE Office of Science, expressed support for the space station and NASA's space and earth science programs, and offered a mixed assessment about Department of Commerce's S&T budget requests.

NEW DOE OFFICE OF SCIENCE DIRECTOR: Ray Orbach recognizes that his office's flat budget over the last decade has been very difficult for university researchers. Orbach finds strong support for the physical sciences within the Executive Branch and in Congress. Within the next five years, Orbach wants his office's budget to increase by 30-40%.

HOMESTAKE MINE: There has been considerable congressional and White House interest about a proposal to use a now closed gold mine for a future underground laboratory. Some critics worry that the scientific merit review process is being undercut.

TEACHER TRAINING PROGRAMS: Teachers testifying at a Science Committee hearing expressed strong support for professional training programs.

HOUSE APPROPRIATORS FAULT FY 2003 NSF REQUEST: Both Republicans and Democrats described the 5% requested increase as meager and inadequate.

S&T ADMINISTRATORS ON THE RECORD: NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe offered his vision for the space agency, while OSTP Director John Marburger described his office's functions, terrorism, science policy and funding, and workforce issues.

HOUSE APPROPRIATORS FOCUS ON SPACE STATION CAPABILITIES: Appropriators criticized NASA's FY 2003 request, and pressed Administrator O'Keefe on research capabilities of the station. A task force was named to review the research portfolio.

DOD BUDGET BILL: The authorizers will soon draft their bills, with some experts calling for 3% of the bottom line to be devoted to defense S&T.