FYI: The AIP Bulletin of Science Policy News

FYI THIS MONTH: MAY 2009

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

Richard M. Jones
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New DOE Under Secretary for Science:

Steven Koonin discussed his views on the Office of Science, nuclear security, energy and environmental issues, and his management approach at his Senate confirmation hearing. (#52) Koonin was confirmed by the full Senate later in May. (#67)

OSTP Director John Holdren Addresses Policy Forum:

In an upbeat presentation, Holdren reviewed the major responsibilities of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, his role as the Assistant to the President for Science and Technology, and five major applied challenges facing the nation. Said Holdren: “Our biggest asset: the President’s engagement with S&T.” (#53)

NASA Appropriations Hearing:

The disparity between what NASA would like to do and its funding received considerable attention at a House appropriations subcommittee hearing, with subcommittee chairman Alan Mollohan (D-WV) asking “can NASA do all that it is to do within its budget allocation?” (#54)

FY 2010 S&T Budget Request:

Against a backdrop of billions of dollars already allocated to S&T programs by the economic stimulus act, the Administration sent it FY 2010 budget to Congress (#55) requesting the following: Office of Science - up 3.9 percent (#56), Department of Education elementary and secondary education programs - up 1.9 percent (#57), NASA - up 5.1 percent (#58), Defense S&T - down 13.6 percent (#59), NIST - up 3.3 percent (#60), U.S. Geological Survey - up 5.1 percent (#61), National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering - up 1.5 percent (#62), National Nuclear Security Administration - unchanged (#63) and National Science Foundation - up 8.5 percent (#65).

Science Committee Hearing on Budget Request:

Members reacted favorably to the overall request, with OSTP Director Holdren testifying that it “sustains the President’s commitment to double the budgets for three key basic research agencies over a decade.” There was less agreement about the NASA request and its implications. (#64)

Members Asked to Support Office of Science Request:

Senators were asked to sign a letter to key appropriators in support of the FY 2010 request. (#66)

Energy Secretary Steven Chu Testifies Before Senate Appropriators:

Reaction to the Office of Science request was favorable, with concern expressed about flat funding for coal R&D, the near zeroing out of hydrogen research, and the long-term storage of radioactive waste. (#67)

Appropriations Hearing for National Nuclear Security Administration:

Members differed on the FY 2010 NNSA request that would largely continue current nuclear weapons capabilities. The Nuclear Posture Review that is to be released early next year will strongly influence the nation’s nuclear posture and budget requests. (#68)

Defense Science and Technology Programs:

A subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee highlighted changes in the Defense Department S&T portfolio. Funding for service branches is increasing as compared to the agencies and the Office of Secretary of Defense. Funding is also continuing to move from kinetic to non-kinetic capabilities. (#69)

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