FYI: The AIP Bulletin of Science Policy News

FYI This Month: May 2008

Highlights of Developments in Washington impacting the physics community from FYI, The American Institute of Physics Bulletin of Science Policy News

Richard M. Jones

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WEAPONS LABORATORY DIRECTORS TESTIFY:

In a rare joint appearance before the Senate Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee, the Administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration and the directors of the three weapons laboratories testified about the Reliable Replacement Warhead, transformation of the weapons complex, laboratory staffing, underground testing, science in the laboratories, and science education. (#53)

STATEMENT ON DEFENSE S&T FUNDING:

Twenty-nine scientific associations (including the American Institute of Physics), universities, and other organizations belonging to the Coalition on National Security Research issued a statement calling for 3 percent of the Department of Defense's budget to be spent on defense science and technology programs. The Coalition applauded the Administration's request to substantially increase defense basic research program funding. (#54)

OSTP DIRECTOR ADDRESSES POLICY FORUM:

During a speech to an S&T policy forum sponsored by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, OSTP Director John Marburger commented on science funding, Congress, and the need for scientists to serve in the federal government. Marburger predicted that S&T will continue to receive wide support, but warned that continual efforts must be made as the political actors change. (#55)

NANOTECHNOLOGY LEGISLATION:

The House Science and Technology Committee sent a bi-partisan bill to the full House that would make adjustments in the programs of the National Nanotechnology Initiative. One of the core components of this initiative, dealing with environmental safety research, would be strengthened under this legislation. (#56)

SENATE BILL TO PROVIDE ADDITIONAL CURRENT YEAR SCIENCE FUNDING:

The Senate version of a bill would provide $1.2 billion in additional funding this year to NASA, the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, and the National Institutes of Health. The outlook for this funding is uncertain: House appropriators did not include it in their version of this legislation, and the President has threatened to veto the Senate bill. (#57)

NUCLEAR FORENSICS PROGRAM:

Both the House and Senate versions of the FY 2009 defense authorization bill contain provisions enhancing the ability of the federal government to determine the source of nuclear materials used in a nuclear terrorist event. This action follows the recommendations of a Joint Working Group of the American Physical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. (#58)

SCIENCE EDUCATION BILL INTRODUCED:

Members on both sides of the aisle and in both chambers of Congress introduced legislation to coordinate the nation's science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education (STEM) initiatives. Reports issued by the American Competitiveness Council and National Science Board identified serious impediments to meaningful progress in STEM areas. (#59)

AMERICAN COMPETITIVENESS SUMMIT:

The Department of Commerce sponsored a national summit in Chicago that explored a range of issues relating to American competitiveness. A common theme of many of the presentations was the need to improve the nation's STEM programs. (#60)

DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION BILLS RECOMMEND HIGHER S&T FUNDING:

Both the House and Senate FY 2009 defense authorization bills recommend additional funding for the Pentagon's three S&T programs, including a significant increase in funding for basic research over last year's request. (#61)

Richard M. Jones
Media and Government Relations Division
American Institute of Physics
rjones@aip.org
301-209-3095