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Taken from FY 2004 Senate Report 108-144

FY 2004 CJS Appropriations Bill

NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY

Appropriations, 2003 $707,505,000
Budget estimate, 2004 496,818,000
House allowance 460,059,000
Committee recommendation 835,228,000

The Committee recommends an appropriation of $835,228,000. The recommendation is $338,410,000 above the budget request. The recommendation provides that up to $7,772,000 may be transferred from the Scientific and Technical Research and Services account to the working capital fund, which the National Institute of Standards and Technology [NIST] uses to purchase equipment for its laboratories.

NIST is directed to consult with the Committees on Appropriations before proceeding with further implementation of competitive outsourcing.

A description of each NIST account and the corresponding Committee recommendation follows:

SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNICAL RESEARCH AND SERVICES

Appropriations, 2003 $357,075,000
Budget estimate, 2004 379,849,000
House allowance 357,862,000
Committee recommendation 383,375,000

The Committee recommends an appropriation of $383,375,000. The recommendation is $3,526,000 above the budget request. The recommendation assumes $1,000,000 in prior year unobligated balances, bringing the total amount available for this account to $384,375,000. The fiscal year 2003 enacted levels were not available at the time the fiscal year 2004 budget request was developed. Consequently, the fiscal year 2004 budget request, as presented, has no basis. The recommendation provides the maximum funding deemed prudent for this account.

The Committee's recommendations are displayed in the following table:

SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNICAL RESEARCH AND SERVICES

[In thousands of dollars]

Committee recommendation

Electronics and Electrical Engineering 50,114
Manufacturing Engineering 23,034
Chemical Science and Technology 44,077
Physics 51,725
Material Science and Engineering 59,865
Building and Fire Research 24,456
Computer Science and Applied Mathematics 56,732
Technology Assistance 18,458
National Quality Program 6,207
Research Support Activities 49,707
Total, STRS 384,375

Within the funds made available for Electronics and Electrical Engineering, $4,000,000 is for the Office of Law Enforcement Standards, $1,500,000 is for the For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology [FIRST] Program, and $500,000 is for the Boston Museum of Science and FIRST to develop a joint engineering exhibition. Within the funds made available for Manufacturing Engineering, $1,000,000 is for a spreadsheet engineering initiative at the Tuck School of Business. Within the funds made available for Chemical Science and Technology, $1,000,000 is to restore reductions in environmental measurements at the Hollings Marine Laboratory. Within the funds made available for Building and Fire Research, $600,000 is for a school safety and preparedness project at the National Infrastructure Institute and $4,000,000 is for NIST to continue its investigation into the World Trade Center collapse, as requested. Within the funds made available for the National Quality Program/Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, $600,000 is for the National Medal of Technology Program. Within the funds made available for Research Support Activities, $5,100,000 is for maintenance and operation costs and $5,500,000 is for equipment costs associated with the Advanced Measurement Laboratory. The Committee directs that no funds be used for FAIR Act studies in support of the A-76 contracting process.

INDUSTRIAL TECHNOLOGY SERVICES

Appropriations, 2003 $284,760,000
Budget estimate, 2004 39,607,000
House allowance 39,607,000
Committee recommendation 369,223,000

The Committee recommends an appropriation of $369,223,000. The recommendation is $329,616,000 above the budget request.

Manufacturing Extension Partnership Program [MEP] - The Committee recommends an appropriation of $106,623,000 to fully fund all of the MEP centers. The recommendation is $94,023,000 above the request.

Advanced Technology Program [ATP] - The Committee recommends an appropriation of $259,600,000. The recommendation is $206,993,000 above the request. This amount, when combined with approximately $8,283,000 in carryover, will fully fund ATP awards and provide $50,000,000 for the creation of focused competitions for technologies relating to homeland security. Within the amounts made available for ATP, $46,833,000 shall be used for administrative costs, internal laboratory support, and for Small Business Innovation Research Program requirements. The National Institute of Standards and Technology may not apply a contracts and grants processing surcharge to the ATP program.

Homeland Security Competition - The Committee is aware of the critical need to support research and development [R&D] into new technologies to combat terrorism. The mission of ATP--to provide an early-stage investment for the development of innovative technologies that promise both commercial and security benefits for the Nation--is ideally suited to help meet this need. There is a precedent within the ATP program for funding R&D for homeland security technologies. The `Gene Chip', for example, has enabled the creation of a less expensive and more portable means of detecting chemical and biological weapons. The Committee is aware that there are large government-wide funding increases in fiscal year 2004 for R&D into new technologies to combat terrorism. However, it is not clear yet how agencies responsible for homeland security will select and vet projects. ATP has a proven record of tapping the most promising technologies, and overseeing their rapid development and eventual commercialization. ATP awards are made on the basis of rigorous peer-reviewed competitions and include input from the National Academy of Engineering. Grant proposals are evaluated by one of several technology-specific boards staffed by experts. The recommendation therefore includes $50,000,000 for dedicated, thematic competitions for emerging homeland security technologies. The Department of Commerce is directed to report to the Committee on its plan for the initiation of these competitions within 60 days of enactment of this Act.

Technology Program Consolidation - The Committee recommends the transfer of the Office of Technology Competitiveness and the Office of Manufacturing Competitiveness from the Office of the Under Secretary for Technology to the National Institute of Standards and Technology's Industrial Technology Services. The recommendation includes $3,000,000 for the ongoing activities of these two offices.

CONSTRUCTION OF RESEARCH FACILITIES

Appropriations, 2003 $65,670,000
Budget estimate, 2004 69,590,000
House allowance 62,590,000
Committee recommendation 84,630,000

The Committee recommends an appropriation of $84,630,000. The recommendation is $15,040,000 above the budget request and fully funds the highest priority safety, capacity, maintenance, and repair projects at NIST. Of the amounts provided, $28,770,000 is for central utility plant and primary electrical upgrades at NIST's Boulder, Colorado laboratory, $5,000,000 is for expenses relating to the relocation and equipping of NIST's Advanced Measurement Laboratory [AML] in Gaithersburg, Maryland, $3,360,000 is for the renovation of Building 220 on the Gaithersburg campus, and $24,000,000 is for safety, capacity, maintenance, and major repairs. The Committee has been supportive of NIST's requests for additional resources to improve its aging infrastructure. With the AML nearing completion, NIST must now address its remaining facility needs. In 1998, NIST published the Facilities Improvement Plan. However, much has changed since this document was prepared. The Committee therefore directs that NIST update its Facilities Improvement Plan prior to the obligation of any funds provided under this account. This plan should detail NIST's short-term and long-term priorities, provide current cost estimates, and timelines for completion. Additionally, the updated facilities plan should address how the facility improvements correspond with NIST's strategic planning. The updated plan will guide the replacement, renovation, and repair of the Institute's buildings so that NIST can continue to provide U.S. industry and science with the best possible measurement system.