NIST logo
*
Bookmark and Share

FY 2000 Budget Highlights
(February 1999)


FY 2000 Technology Administration
Budget Highlights

More than ever before, technological leadership is vital to the national interest of the United States. The nation’s capability to harness the power and promise of leading-edge technologies will determine, in large measure, its prosperity, security, and global influence in the 21st century.

Leading economists estimate that technology accounts for as much as 50 percent of the nation’s long-term economic growth. The study Technology, Economic Growth, and Employment: New Research from the Department of Commerce found that firms using advanced technologies are significantly more productive, pay higher wages, offer more secure jobs, and increase employment more rapidly than those that do not. But global competition is intensifying. Nations everywhere have recognized the link between technology and growth and are developing policies and programs to enhance industrial competitiveness and fuel technology-driven growth and job creation.

The Clinton Administration has sought to address these economic and competitive realities by developing, in partnership with American industry, policies and programs that enhance U.S. competitiveness in the global marketplace and maximize technology’s contribution to national economic growth, job creation, and quality of life. The focal point for these efforts is the Technology Administration (TA), the primary civilian technology agency working with industry to improve U.S. competitiveness. TA serves as an advocate for U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness within the Department of Commerce, other federal agencies, and national and international fora. It carries out this role through:

  • the leadership of the Under Secretary;
  • the Office of Technology Policy’s analysis, formulation, and advocacy of policies that maximize the contribution of technology to economic growth;
  • the programs of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, which maintain and improve the nation’s measurement and standards infrastructure; foster the development, adoption, and diffusion of new technologies; and facilitate the adoption of leading business practices; and
  • the collection and dissemination of technological information by the National Technical Information Service.


To continue the successful implementation of this civilian technology agenda in fiscal year (FY) 2000, the President requests:

Office of the Under Secretary/Office of Technology Policy
Total funding requested: $9 million

National Institute of Standards and Technology
Total funding requested: $735 million

National Technical Information Service
Total funding requested: $2 million

Specific budget proposals are described on the following pages.


US/OTP Budget Highlights

SUMMARY AND JUSTIFICATION

President Clinton requests $9 million for the Office of the Under Secretary for Technology and the Office of Technology Policy (US/OTP). This request supports US/OTP’s mission and functions necessary to meet critical Administration and Congressional civilian technology priorities. US/OTP is responsible for working with the private sector to analyze, develop, coordinate, and advocate national policies that maximize technology’s contribution to U.S. competitiveness, economic growth, the creation of high-wage jobs, and improvements in living standards for all Americans.

The request, an overall decrease of $523,000 from the FY 1999 appropriation, will support the Under Secretary in overseeing the Technology Administration’s three operating units (OTP, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the National Technical Information Service), coordinating several interagency civilian technology efforts, and providing analysis and leadership in other important technology-related domestic and international activities. The US/OTP budget also supports the Office of Space Commercialization (OSC).

In FY 2000, US/OTP will continue to provide leadership and analytical activities—in close partnership with U.S. industry, federal research agencies, and the national laboratories—to maximize taxpayers’ return on their investment in federal research and development (R&D). The FY 2000 budget proposal includes a $1 million increase to core programs to enable US/OTP to:

  • expand analysis and advocacy of current and proposed economic, technology, and regulatory policies of the federal and state governments and research their impact on innovation and U.S. competitiveness;
  • build on successful efforts to help the nation meet the rapidly growing demand for information technology (IT) workers; and
  • build on existing programs to help the automotive supplier base—and states whose economies are linked closely to the automotive sector—seize the opportunities presented by the rapid development of new automotive technologies.


The proposal also requests a decrease of $1.7 million for the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Technology (EPSCoT), which is designed to foster the development of indigenous technology assets in states and regions traditionally under-represented in federal R&D funding. No new grants will be made in FY 2000; instead, a full-scale evaluation of EPSCoT will be undertaken. 

US/OTP PERFORMANCE

For more than 15 years, OTP (as well as its predecessor, the Office of Productivity, Technology and Innovation) has been an important voice for industry, working with other federal agencies, Congress, and international groups to foster U.S. innovation and competitiveness. For example, as the competitive environment has changed, US/OTP has served as a forceful advocate for improvements in the laws and regulations governing the commercialization of federal research, including removing barriers to government-industry cooperative research, ensuring effective protection of intellectual property, and expanding small business access to the federal research enterprise.

OTP’s long track record of success continued during the past year:

  • In partnership with state and local governments, US/OTP completed the design of the EPSCoT grant process and conducted a successful competition in which seven proposals were selected to receive a total of $1.6 million.
  • In the first seven months of 1998, US/OTP’s World Wide Web site received more than 1.5 million “hits” during more than 83,000 user sessions, and users downloaded OTP reports more than 53,000 times. Also in 1998, US/OTP unveiled a new Web site, Go for IT, dedicated to linking businesses, current and prospective IT workers, communities, educators, educational and training institutions, and others.
  • US/OTP successfully led the Interagency Committee on Technology Transfer’s formulation of a coordinated Administration response to proposed technology transfer legislation. The committee’s ability to speak with a single voice contributed substantially to the House Technology Subcommittee’s adoption of most of the recommended changes. In addition, the principal industry witness testifying before the subcommittee endorsed the majority of the recommendations of the interagency group, a testament to the group’s customer focus.
  • OSC was instrumental in shaping the President’s commercial remote sensing policy; the President’s National Space Transportation Policy; and space launch trade agreements with Russia, China, and currently the Ukraine. OSC’s policy work made substantial contributions to the success of the commercial remote sensing and Global Positioning System industries, which are projected to be worth $5 billion to $15 billion by the turn of the century. OSC also worked with the U.S. Trade Representative on space launch trade negotiations to protect U.S. interests in the global marketplace.


US/OTP evaluates its performance and plans its work through extensive and ongoing consultation with public- and private-sector stakeholders,output tracking, and selected peer reviews. With the exception of the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles (PNGV), these measures are direct and verifiable counts of US/OTP staff activities, business processes, and analytical output. Peer review of the PNGV is conducted by the National Research Council, which has well-established procedures for ensuring objective, thorough expert reviews.

PROGRAM DESCRIPTIONS

The FY 2000 request supports the Under Secretary’s participation in the Committee on Technology of the President’s National Science and Technology Council. This committee, which helps to establish clear national goals for federal science and technology investments and to ensure that federal civilian R&D priorities reflect the requirements of industry customers, is coordinating major Administration R&D initiatives in materials, construction and building, manufacturing infrastructure, and electronics and automotive technologies. The FY 2000 budget also supports the international activities of the Under Secretary as the principal U.S. government representative for technology in the U.S.-Japan Economic Framework Talks, the U.S.-Egypt Partnership for Economic Growth, the U.S.-Israel Science and Technology Commission, and the Presidential initiative to support the peace process in Northern Ireland.

In addition, the FY 2000 budget supports the Under Secretary’s role as the chair of the high-level committee overseeing the PNGV initiative, a partnership of seven federal agencies, 19 national laboratories, U.S. auto makers, and more than 300 hundred suppliers and universities. US/OTP’s base resources support the operations of the PNGV Secretariat, which is responsible for coordination of participating federal agencies, liaison with USCAR (which represents the auto industry in the partnership), and basic record keeping. The PNGV initiative has made strong progress toward achieving its R&D goals, which were established in three areas: advanced manufacturing methods; technologies leading to near-term improvements in automobile efficiency, safety, and emissions; and research leading to vehicle prototypes offering a threefold improvement in fuel efficiency. The four key system areas considered most promising have been selected, and R&D efforts now are focused on hybrid-electric vehicle drive systems, direct-injection engines, fuel cells, and lightweight materials.

Among other activities, the FY 2000 budget supports US/OTP’s administration of the National Medal of Technology, the nation’s highest award for technological achievement that helps increase public understanding of the essential role that technology plays in the global economy. The budget also supports the OSC’s continued role in the development of new national space policies and in publishing information on current business trends in commercial space. In addition, it funds the Commerce Science and Technology Fellowship Program, which will place approximately 20 senior government technologists in other agencies to promote understanding of the scope of federal R&D and policy activities.

In FY 2000, US/OTP will manage the Partnerships for a Competitive Economy (PACE) initiative. Working with state and local governments, business, and academia, US/OTP conducts PACE conferences around the country to maintain a dialogue with the private sector on how best to help companies and workers compete and win in the rapidly changing economy of the 21st century. US/OTP also will promote technology-based economic development through the U.S. Innovation Partnership initiative, which seeks to leverage the resources of U.S. industry; academia; and federal, state, and local governments and to create synergy among complementary programs. In addition, through its Meeting the Challenge effort, US/OTP will analyze the competitive status of U.S. firms in several crucial U.S. industries. US/OTP will publish reports on two additional key industries in FY 2000, similar to those previously done on the chemical, steel, automobile, biotechnology, and environmental technologies industries.

PROGRAM CHANGES

The President requests an additional $1 million increase for US/OTP efforts in three key areas. First, US/OTP will expand its analysis and advocacy of current and proposed federal and state economic, technology, and regulatory policies and its research on their impact on innovation and U.S. competitiveness. Second, US/OTP will continue its successful efforts to help the nation meet the rapidly growing demand for IT workers. US/OTP will work closely with industry, state and local governments, and educational institutions at all levels to develop innovative strategies and programs to educate and train American workers for these high-quality, high-wage jobs. Third, the rapid development and deployment of new automotive technologies, together with the expected introduction of new and reformulated fuels, has the potential to revolutionize the global auto industry. In FY 2000, US/OTP will build on existing programs within the Technology Administration to help the automotive suppliers and auto-producing states seize the opportunities that emerge.

FY 2000 will be an evaluation year for EPSCoT. The grant process was initiated in FY 1998 by US/OTP in partnership with state and local governments. By FY 2000, EPSCoT will have conducted two grant competitions, and most of the projects funded under the first competition will be complete or nearing completion. No grants will be made in FY 2000. Instead, a full-scale evaluation effort will assess the management, direction, and effectiveness of the program in meeting its stated objectives, and examine current needs. Therefore the FY 2000 budget proposes a decrease of $1.7 million for EPSCoT.


NIST Budget Highlights

SUMMARY

The Administration’s fiscal year (FY) 2000 budget request to Congress includes $735* million for the Technology Administration’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), an increase of about 15 percent over its FY 1999 budget of $641 million.

*All numbers rounded. See the budget summary table for actual figures.

The NIST FY 2000 budget request is divided into three appropriations:

  • $290 million for Scientific and Technical Research and Services, including $285 million for the Measurement and Standards Laboratories and $5 million for the Baldrige National Quality Program (BNQP);
  • $339 million for extramural programs, including $239 million for the Advanced Technology Program (ATP) and $100 million for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP); and
  • $107 million for construction of the Advanced Measurement Laboratory building and critical maintenance and safety upgrades of NIST’s existing buildings.


NIST’s four interrelated, merit-based programs—Measurement and Standards Laboratories, ATP, MEP, and BNQP—work together to provide the technical capabilities that U.S. industry needs to turn scientific and technological advances into commercial products and services in a timely manner. With more and more nations able to produce and distribute world-class technology products and services at competitive prices, the key to continued U.S. economic growth will be faster commercialization of one of the nation’s key advantages—the best science and innovation in the world. NIST’s challenge is to anticipate and develop the technology, measurements, and standards required to meet industry needs now and in the future. Its programs must keep pace with numerous technology trends, such as the miniaturization and increasing speed of electronics, the rapid growth of electronic commerce and information systems, the emergence of advanced manufacturing systems, and revolutionary advances in life sciences applications.

To meet these needs, the request for FY 2000 will:

  • Provide $5.5 million in new funding for three initiatives in the Measurement and Standards Laboratories to help address the nation’s science and technology infrastructure needs. In the first, $2 million is requested to fund NIST’s participation in a Department of Commerce (DOC) initiative to remove standards barriers to expanded global trade. As part of the Administration’s Critical Infrastructure Protection Initiative, $3 million is requested to develop and disseminate the standards, measurements, and test methods needed to protect the information technology elements of critical national infrastructures. Finally, $500,000 is requested to foster professional development of elementary, middle, and secondary mathematics and science teachers.
  • Provide an additional $41.2 million so ATP can continue to serve as a significant catalyst in helping U.S. industry turn innovative concepts into practical technologies offering broad-based benefits for the nation’s economy. The funding will be used to continue current projects and conduct a competition open to all areas of technology, thereby fostering a sustained industry commitment to high-risk research and promoting greater innovation and experimentation in teaming and alliance formation.
  • Provide $1 million in new funding to gather, promote, and effectively deploy to all MEP manufacturing extension centers the highest priority best practices in areas such as employee development and service delivery, both to enhance center quality and effectiveness and to introduce new services quickly to help small and medium-sized businesses compete in global markets. The MEP request is a net decrease of $7 million from the FY 1999 appropriation, due to the natural maturation of existing centers and the resulting decrease in the federal funding share.
  • Provide an increase of $55 million for construction of the Advanced Measurement Laboratory as part of the Construction of Research Facilities appropriation. This is a key component of a long and thorough effort to ensure that NIST can keep pace with advances in science and technology and meet the nation’s requirements for advanced technical measurements and standards. High-technology industries in Germany, Japan, France, and other industrialized nations already are receiving the competitive benefits of modern facilities from their counterpart NIST organizations.


BACKGROUND AND JUSTIFICATION

NIST promotes U.S. economic growth by working with industry to develop and apply technology, measurements, and standards. This work is increasingly important to the nation for a number of reasons. First, globalization of markets is creating an urgent need to harmonize divergent national systems of measurement, standards, and conformity assessment. Second, rapid technological change, combined with quality and cost pressures, is heightening the need for new standards in emerging industries and ever more precise measurements in established sectors. Third, technology development today requires a wide range of scientific and technical competencies, a fact that encourages industry to rely on external sources of measurement and standards technology and expertise. NIST’s Measurement and Standards Laboratories lead the way in meeting national needs in these areas.

Fourth, U.S. firms invest heavily in research and development (R&D) but seldom focus on infrastructure or multiuse technologies or projects requiring long-term investments. Furthermore, in nascent technology areas, the cost, technical complexity, and risks of R&D increase the need for collaboration. NIST’s ATP helps address these needs by sharing the risks and costs of challenging research and promoting partnerships. Fifth, although small firms are critical links in supply chains and generate large numbers of jobs (over 65 percent of the manufacturing workforce), their productivity often is limited by technical and cost barriers to technology adoption. The MEP helps small and medium-sized companies overcome these barriers. Finally, technology has the greatest positive effect on organizations when it is complemented by quality management practices, which enhance performance and productivity. The BNQP recognizes improvement in performance by U.S. firms and disseminates criteria for performance excellence.


Pie Chart displaying FY 2000 Proposed Budget

*All numbers rounded. See budget summary table for actual figures.


NIST Program Performance

NIST uses diverse and complementary sources of performance data to evaluate its products, services, and processes thoroughly. The results consistently show that NIST provides the best, or among the best, technology and services of its type in the world and, moreover, has a powerful positive impact on U.S. firms and the overall economy. The full value of research programs is difficult to evaluate, however, because of the challenges involved in quantifying new knowledge and assessing impacts that often accrue over long time periods across many segments of industry and society.

A comprehensive and rigorous evaluation system for the Measurement and Standards Laboratories is based on a combination of external peer review and internal benchmarking, microeconomic impact studies, and quantitative performance measures. The National Research Council manages panels of industry, academic, and government experts who annually review and critique NIST laboratory programs. In addition, a permanent Visiting Committee on Advanced Technology meets quarterly to review and assess NIST’s overall programs and priorities. To ensure that its laboratories perform world-class research that provides technical leadership for the nation’s measurement infrastructure, NIST performs benchmarking assessments of its capabilities relative to other national metrology institutes. Most recent benchmarking efforts show, for example, that NIST is the best in the world in measuring amounts of substances, temperature, humidity, air speed, ultrasonic pressure, and certain ranges of pressure and vacuum.

Quantitative performance measures reflect the laboratories’ technology transfer activities and the usefulness of their products and services to industry. For example, in FY 1998, NIST calibrated over 3,500 items, providing quality assurance for an even larger private-sector activity that disseminates standards traceable to the national and international measurement systems. In addition, NIST sold almost 37,000 units of Standard Reference Materials—certified “rulers” that companies, government agencies, and others use to check the accuracy of their most exacting measurements. NIST also distributed about 5,000 standard reference database units, which provide evaluated, high-quality data used by scientists and by many industries for applications such as improving the design of industrial processes, the quality of materials, and the performance of advanced information technology systems.

Economic impact studies of NIST’s laboratory programs show high rates of return and important benefits to industry. For example, NIST’s most recent economic impact assessment focusing on mathematical models and related measurement infrastructure for semiconductor design automation, measured impacts on R&D efficiency, productivity, and product quality that yield a benefit-cost ratio of approximately 23:1 and a social rate of return of about 76 percent. Another recent assessment of NIST work on characterizing the chemical properties of alternative refrigerants estimated a benefit-cost ratio of 4:1 and a social rate of return of 433 percent. The measured benefits included R&D efficiency gains realized by U.S. refrigerant manufacturers and product quality and productivity gains realized by heating and cooling equipment manufacturers. A study of ceramic phase diagrams revealed impacts on R&D efficiency and productivity among ceramic component suppliers, yielding an estimated benefit-cost ratio of 10:1 and a social rate of return of 33 percent.

The ATP has developed a multi-faceted evaluation strategy that includes statistical profiling of projects, real-time monitoring of project developments, microeconomic case studies that detail outcomes over defined periods, and macroeconomic projections of long-term program and project impacts. Approximately 110 new technologies have been commercialized as a result of ATP funding, and evaluation results show that the ATP is successfully improving the capabilities of U.S. businesses to generate economic returns from scientific and technological innovations for the nation.

For example, the status reports on all ATP projects completed as of March 1997 show that technologies developed by 15 of the 38 completed projects have been incorporated into commercially available products or services, and that the economic benefits are expected to be broad in scope and large in magnitude. According to a recent ATP study of more than 200 projects funded from 1993 through 1995, ATP is:

  • generating high-risk, high-impact technologies: 70 percent reported a broader project scope and/or higher level of technical risk than could be supported by industry alone, and 35 percent of the applications represent “new-to-the-world” solutions;
  • fostering collaboration: collaboration has helped 78 percent of organizations to achieve project goals (85 percent of those organizations reported that ATP was responsible to a great or moderate extent for the collaboration); and
  • accelerating the development and commercialization of advanced technologies: 86 percent of organizations said they would not have undertaken the project without the ATP or were significantly ahead in their R&D cycles as a result of ATP funding.


The MEP pursues extensive evaluation and assessment activities to assure effective management and performance and demonstrate program benefits. An MEP National Advisory Board composed of leaders from industry, state and local governments, academia, and labor has been established to independently assess programs, plans, and policies. In addition, independent reviews are conducted of individual MEP center operations and outcomes using BNQP criteria. These reviews rely on a variety of metrics, including interim impacts on client competitiveness (e.g., increased sales, cost savings, capital investment, and inventory savings) based on regular surveys by the Census Bureau and detailed analysis of the operations and performance of individual centers.

Census surveys indicate that the manufacturing extension centers are fostering significant improvements in manufacturing and business performance. For example, based on a recent sampling of client companies, MEP estimates that in FY 1998 alone MEP services generated approximately $329 million* in new sales, $33 million in labor and material savings, and $44 million in inventory savings, while also leveraging $256 million in additional capital investment by client firms.

* Data updated January 1999.

The BNQP is evaluated by a Board of Overseers, a prestigious group of national quality and business experts. The BNQP also uses a questionnaire and other means to ensure its ongoing responsiveness to the needs of U.S. industry and business. Ultimately, the program can be judged by the performance of companies that follow its lead. A new NIST stock investment study shows, for the fourth year in a row, that quality management can result in impressive returns. When a hypothetical $1,000 was “invested” in the Standard and Poor’s (S&P) 500 and in each of the 18 companies that won the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award from 1988 to 1997, the companies’ stock outperformed the S&P 500 by about 2.4 to 1.

Since 1988, more than 1.7 million copies of the Baldrige criteria for performance excellence have been distributed. The criteria, which are reviewed annually to ensure continual improvement, have been described as “probably the single most influential document in the modern history of American business.” A 1998 survey of chief executive officers found that 79 percent believe the Baldrige criteria and awards are extremely or very valuable in stimulating improvements in quality in U.S. companies, and 67 percent believe the criteria and awards are extremely or very valuable in stimulating improvements in the competitiveness of U.S. business.

PROGRAM DESCRIPTIONS

Measurement and Standards Laboratories

The NIST laboratories serve as the ultimate U.S. reference point for measurements, working with counterpart organizations throughout the world to provide companies, entire industries, and the science and technology community with the equivalent of a common language needed at nearly every stage of a technical activity. The labs also further the technical aims and capabilities of U.S. industry and serve as impartial sources of expertise, developing highly leveraged measurement capabilities and other infrastructure technologies.

NIST laboratories perform a multitude of essential functions. For example, NIST’s electrical measurements help advance the growing $350 billion electronics sector, providing the microwave antenna measurements used by every major U.S. aerospace company and the national reference standards that support the accuracy of the electric power meters in every U.S. home and business. NIST provides the measurement capabilities underlying voluntary standards for the manufacture of U.S.-made optical fiber communications lines, supporting an industry that competes in a $10 billion world market.

NIST also develops and disseminates national standards for time and frequency to meet critical needs in telecommunications, transportation, and positioning (including support for the Global Positioning System). The laboratories provide chemical, biochemical, and chemical engineering measurements; standards; data; calibrations; and predictive methods and models to support industries and programs ranging from chemical processing to environmental monitoring to biotechnology and health care to semiconductor manufacturing. As the global market demands ever higher quality, U.S. industries depend on NIST for calibration services that ensure dimensional compatibility of items manufactured at different sites and satisfy requirements for traceability to national standards.

In addition, NIST provides national standards for the 11,000 U.S. mammography facilities and for exposure quality in the $10 billion U.S. photographics and X-ray film industry. The NIST Center for Neutron Research, a world-class facility where unique instruments reveal the inner structure and dynamics of virtually any material, is used annually by about 1,300 researchers from more than 50 U.S. companies, 90 universities, and 30 other government agencies. NIST operates the foremost U.S. fire research laboratory and is the principal R&D agency working to reduce earthquake hazards through improved building codes and standards and practices for structures and lifelines. NIST also supports the U.S. information technology sector, which adds $680 billion to the gross domestic product annually, by developing test methods, computer science and engineering methods that underpin metrology, and open testbeds for industrial collaboration. NIST supports economic growth through the Internet by developing test methods and security services for infrastructure, encryption, and data sharing.

In addition to its internal research, in FY 1998, NIST worked on about 325 Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs) involving collaborative R&D of mutual interest with for-profit organizations, non-profit organizations (including universities), public and private foundations, state and local governments, and individuals. Since 1988, NIST has signed more than 830 CRADAs.

The FY 2000 appropriation for the Measurement and Standards Laboratories will support further development of critical measurement technologies and methods, calibration services, national standards, and reference data needed by the United States to promote technological progress, improve product and service quality and reliability, and enhance international competitiveness. For example, the NIST laboratories plan to:

  • support the semiconductor industry by developing methods for measuring the flatness and thickness of wafers 300 millimeters in diameter (the new industry standard) with uncertainties of 2 nanometers, developing technology for calibrating equipment that can detect water vapor in inert processing gases at levels about 500 times lower than can be achieved now, and developing laser power and energy measurements to calibrate lasers used to fabricate devices with critical dimensions of 180 nanometers and below;
  • develop dosimetry and radioactivity standards for new radioactive sources for use in prostate cancer therapy and in preventing blood vessels opened by balloon angioplasty from reclosing;
  • support business use of electronic commerce by developing and disseminating a software translator that will convert a company’s internal dictionary of product terminology into the industry-standard format, thus enabling engineers and designers to compare products and check their compatibility;
  • help create fair and free access to world markets for U.S. manufacturers by participating in international comparisons of the mechanical quantities associated with mass, force, vibration, and acoustics, and by refining and extending SIMnet, a pilot, Internet-based system that enables real-time measurement comparisons and collaborations among national metrology labs in different regions of the world;
  • assist manufacturers by increasing the speed and reducing the cost of inspections of manufactured parts through the implementation of new technologies on multimodal measuring devices and development of open-architecture interface standards for these machines; and by establishing an intelligent automated welding testbed to improve weld quality and developing interface standards that will enable industry to use this technology effectively;
  • establish new measurement capabilities to support new or advanced technology development and dissemination in the chemical, materials processing, and manufacturing industries as well as new high-technology industries;
  • support trends in the electronics and computer industries toward improved efficiency in storing, retrieving, and processing information by commissioning a nanoscale physics facility for characterizing electric, magnetic, and structural properties of quantum electronic devices;
  • assist the U.S. auto industry in the cost-effective use of lightweight materials through measurement, modeling, and standards activities, including the development of methods to measure the performance of reinforcing fillers for polymeric materials;
  • assist the U.S. microelectronics industry in designing a new generation of higher speed devices quickly and economically by developing experimental and computational techniques to measure the properties of polymeric and ceramic thin-film materials and metallic electrical interconnects;
  • advance the U.S. construction industry by completing experimental and finite modeling to establish baseline structural performance characteristics of residential housing composed of traditional and non-traditional construction materials; developing a method based on a flow simulation model for optimizing high-performance concrete mixtures; and completing the virtual Cybernetic Building Testbed for building shells, heating and cooling systems, and fire detection systems; and
  • help keep the United States at the cutting edge of information technologies by adopting an advanced encryption standard that will provide significantly improved security; providing conformity assessment methods to ensure consistency with and accurate use of the Java specification; and developing and disseminating Standard Reference Data and guidelines for emerging biometric authentication techniques, including facial data, to support the needs of law enforcement and security access designers.


Initiative: Export Promotion

One-third of the growth of the U.S. economy depends on exports. In 1997, total U.S. exports amounted to $960 billion, supporting one in five U.S. manufacturing jobs and accounting for 2 million new jobs in the past four years. And yet, while world trade has been increasing by 15 percent annually, total U.S. exports have risen only 9 percent, and exports to the European Union are growing at less than 5 percent annually. This problem can be attributed in part to local or regional technical standards that serve as barriers to U.S. exports.

The FY 2000 $2 million initiative will support a strategy to remove or avert technical barriers to trade by increasing worldwide recognition of U.S. measurements and standards and streamlining the domestic standards development process.

Comparisons of U.S. national measurement standards with those of other nations are essential to ensure that American products are not rejected simply because of disagreements over the methods used to perform a measurement or test. As new technologies emerge and national economies grow, the number and frequency of such comparisons are rising. NIST will expand related activities in physical, electrical, and radiometric measurements and improve or develop new capabilities in emerging and high-technology areas such as information technology and biotechnology. In addition, to meet rapidly increasing demand for chemical measurement standards, NIST will expand its portfolio of Standard Reference Materials and seek agreements with trading partners assuring mutual recognition of each partner’s standards. Target areas will include important U.S. export sectors such as automobiles, fuels, pharmaceuticals, medical diagnostics, and food.

NIST also will develop capabilities to help U.S. industry meet the European Union’s new requirements that products generate no harmful emissions and be immune to electromagnetic disturbances. Further, NIST will resolve and unify U.S. and international standards efforts for coordinate measuring machines, which are becoming common in automotive, aerospace, heavy equipment, and machine industries. These machines provide highly accurate dimensional measurements of mechanical parts with complex shapes.

Finally, NIST will help to increase U.S. participation in international standards development by providing $1 million to the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). ANSI is the official U.S. representative to the International Organization for Standardization and the International Electrotechnical Commission. An expanded infrastructure of technical measurements and standards coupled with ANSI’s strong leadership and participation in the international standards arena will support the growth of U.S. exports by reducing or eliminating technical barriers to trade.

Initiative: Critical Infrastructure Protection

The United States has both the world’s strongest military and largest national economy, each of which is increasingly reliant on information technology. Attacks on, or failures of, U.S. information systems could damage and undermine the nation’s entire economy. Most existing computer and communications systems are vulnerable, and, if protection is added, it typically is expensive and of questionable effectiveness. Cost-effective technology, measurements, and test methods are needed to help avert catastrophic failures of critical infrastructures due to terrorism, war, or human error and to reduce the fraud, waste, and abuse perpetrated through low-level attacks on the computer and communications infrastructure.

Presidential Decision Directive #63 calls for a national effort to improve the security of critical infrastructures, and the President’s FY 2000 budget has made critical infrastructure protection a major priority. DOC is designated as lead agency for the information and communications sector. NIST also has a legislated mandate for computer security. Accordingly, NIST will develop measurements, test methods, and standards needed to help ensure the reliability, trustworthiness, and survivability of information technology systems supporting critical national infrastructures.

The $3 million initiative will focus on efforts in security technology, system survivability, high-confidence systems, security for supervisory systems, and security for federal systems. In the security technology area, NIST will collaborate with industry to accelerate the convergence of standards for public key infrastructure (which includes the mechanisms, procedures, and policies for the deployment of public key cryptography) and the deployment of related products and components. NIST also will develop metrics and test methods and establish testbeds to enable comparisons of products that promote system survivability. NIST will support the development of ultra-dependable computing technology, which is needed, for example, to make it possible for increased numbers of aircraft to share the skies safely. NIST will develop new methods of assurance and new techniques for combining dependable components into integrated systems.

Supervisory systems are used to control processing in major industrial applications. NIST will develop measurement techniques to apply advanced security to two specific types of supervisory systems. The work then will be applied to all supervisory systems.

In addition, NIST will work with other government agencies and the private sector to identify resources and cost-effective strategies for information and help federal agencies implement information assurance best practices.

Initiative: Teacher Science and Technology Enhancement Program

In the 21st century, science and technology will play increasingly important roles in U.S. economic competitiveness. In all realms of business, productivity gains and market leadership will require technical insight and scientific creativity. However, trends in education threaten to undermine the nation’s economic future. Recent international studies of science and math performance show U.S. high school students ranking near the bottom of industrialized nations, and fewer U.S. students are choosing careers in science and technology. Growth in several technical sectors of the U.S. economy already is limited by lack of technically skilled workers, and the problem is expected to worsen in the next decade.

The nation needs to substantially improve science, math, and technical education for all its citizens to maintain economic growth and competitiveness. This challenge is large and complex, but one way of improving science and math education is to enhance the training and development of science and math teachers.

The proposed FY 2000 $500,000 initiative will permit NIST to leverage a modest federal investment for the greatest benefit to science and math teachers nationwide. NIST will develop several ways to enhance teacher development. Approaches include on-site training programs; community-based training programs leveraging NIST contacts with industry; Internet-based, on-demand references and services for teachers that utilize and extend NIST’s expertise in forefront Internet capabilities; and other activities that are determined to add real value to professional enhancement of U.S. science and math teachers.

Because the proposed funding is modest relative to the scope of the challenge, NIST will actively seek collaborations with other federal agencies, national education organizations, and the private sector for greatest leverage of federal funds.

Baldrige National Quality Program

The BNQP has become a focal point for strengthening America’s competitive position. The program helps many types of companies and organizations deliver ever improving value to customers while improving overall organizational effectiveness. It creates a performance excellence standard that fosters communications and sharing in the private sector, building networks to deliver performance and quality management information and services and to share lessons learned with other economic sectors.

Applicants for the Baldrige Award gain valuable insights by receiving 300 to 1,000 hours of review by at least six experts on the board of examiners, who provide a detailed feedback report on the organization’s strengths and opportunities for improvement. Since 1988, 34 companies have received the Baldrige award, which is given in manufacturing, service, small business, and, starting in 1999, education and health care. Thousands of other organizations use the Baldrige criteria internally to assess and improve their performance.

The BNQP has proven to be highly effective in stimulating interest in performance improvement, excellence, sharing and cooperation, and the creation of new information networks within the business and public sectors. Collectively, Baldrige Award recipients, examiners, and NIST staff have given more than 50,000 presentations at conferences worldwide. With a relatively small annual federal investment, the Baldrige program leverages over $100 million in-kind contributions from the private sector and state and local governments.

The FY 2000 appropriations of just over $5 million will be used to manage the annual award competition, conduct a conference at which Baldrige award winners share their performance excellence strategies, maintain a comprehensive database on state and local quality awards, continually improve the performance excellence criteria that serve as the national standard, and facilitate information sharing among all sectors of the U.S. economy.

Advanced Technology Program

The ATP shares the cost with industry of developing novel, cutting-edge technologies for a broad range of civilian applications that will promote U.S. economic growth. It fosters partnerships among companies of all sizes, universities, and research centers to help bridge the gap between basic research and product development and create an environment conducive to overcoming daunting technical barriers and addressing long-range R&D opportunities. The program assumes some of the risk of early-stage technology development, enabling industry to pursue promising technologies that otherwise would be ignored or developed too slowly to compete in rapidly changing world markets. The ATP supports R&D to the point where it is feasible for companies to begin product development using private funds. The program does not fund commercialization.

The ATP conducted 39 competitions from 1991 to 1998. Through 1998, the ATP had selected 431 projects for funding, including 146 joint ventures. More than 1,000 participants, including more than 100 different colleges and universities, have been involved. About 55 percent of all ATP projects are led by small businesses. Two-thirds of awards made to single companies have gone to small firms. The awarded projects involve a commitment of over $1.39 billion in NIST funds and $1.40 billion in private-sector funds over their lifetimes. By creating opportunities for new, world-class products, services, and processes, the ATP benefits not only individual project participants but also other companies and industries and, ultimately, consumers and taxpayers.

The awards are made on the basis of a rigorous competitive process that considers the scientific and technical merit of each proposal and its potential benefits to the U.S. economy. Each year, the ATP conducts a general competition open to proposals involving any area of technology. To have a greater impact in important technology areas identified with extensive industry input, the ATP began holding focused program competitions in FY 1994. In FY 1999, the ATP is using a new competition structure that combines the best features of both the general and focused competitions. The competition is open to all areas of technology, but proposals will be evaluated and ranked in competition with others in the same technology area. Five review boards are planned in biotechnology, electronics, information technology, manufacturing, and chemistry/materials.

The proposed FY 2000 appropriation of $239 million will enable the ATP to continue multiyear projects selected in previous years; conduct a new competition open to all areas of technology; and continue to implement a multifaceted economic evaluation program that includes statistical profiling, microeconomic case studies, and macroeconomic projections of long-term project and program impacts. The request, when combined with anticipated carryover and prior year recoveries, will permit approximately $73 million for new awards.

Because small firms already lead 55 percent and participate in 70 percent of all ATP projects, the Administration is proposing, through the appropriation process, that ATP be exempt from the Small Business Innovation Research program set-aside in FY 2000.

Manufacturing Extension Partnership

The MEP provides small and medium-sized manufacturers with access to technologies, resources, and expertise through the cost-shared, cooperative efforts of NIST, state and local governments, and local extension service providers. The partnership is a nationwide network of regional manufacturing extension centers, which are linked to diverse federal, state, university, and private sources of technology and expertise. Each center uses the network to provide cost-effective services to client firms in areas such as best manufacturing and business practices, workforce development and training, access to financing, and environmental services.

The MEP has succeeded in its initial goal of placing critically needed extension services within reach of small and medium-sized manufacturers in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. More than 2,000 manufacturing specialists and professional staff now provide services through more than 400 MEP-affiliated centers and offices. Approximately 26,000 enterprises were served in FY 1998.

To optimize center performance and further increase the competitiveness of smaller manufacturers, two efforts were initiated recently. First, the BNQP evaluation criteria have been adopted as a framework for generating continuous improvement in MEP-funded center performance and impact. Second, an integrated knowledge management system is being developed to facilitate the sharing of best business practices among the centers.

In addition, MEP is training field staff from the Department of Agriculture, the Small Business Administration, and others so they will be able to conduct in-depth seminars on year 2000 issues for their constituents across the country.

The proposed FY 2000 appropriation of $100 million will enable the MEP to reach additional manufacturers, conduct reviews and manage the nationwide network of extension centers, collect and evaluate data on center performance and impact on client firms, and further develop electronic networking and information capabilities. The request includes $1 million in new funding to gather, promote, and effectively deploy to all MEP manufacturing extension centers the highest priority best practices. Currently, MEP is able to provide only very limited best practice information to centers. Funding under this initiative will enable MEP to accelerate its efforts to meet center demands for best practices information in the areas of center operations, center business practices, and service delivery.

The FY 2000 budget request also proposes a decrease of $9.1 million in MEP funding. This decrease reflects a lower federal share of the centers’ operating costs since the federal share changes as the centers mature. In the first three years, the federal share is 50 percent; in year four, 40 percent. In years five and six and for renewals, the federal share is one-third. The number of centers will not change as a result.

NIST Facilities

NIST maintains about 50 specialized laboratory, office, and support buildings on two campuses in Gaithersburg, Md., and Boulder, Colo. The great majority of those buildings are 30 to 45 years old and are deteriorating at an accelerating rate. NIST has designed a master facilities plan to guide the replacement, renovation, or repair of these buildings so that NIST can continue to provide U.S. industry and science with the best possible measurement system.

The requested FY 2000 appropriation includes $95 million to be combined with $108.3 million already appropriated in FY 1998 and FY 1999 for construction of the Advanced Measurement Laboratory (AML). The AML will allow NIST to provide U.S. industry and science with higher quality NIST reference materials, improved measurements, and faster access to NIST research advances. The AML will provide stringent controls on particulate matter, temperature, vibration, and humidity that are unattainable in current NIST buildings. These new NIST laboratory facilities will be equal to, or better than, similar laboratories overseas. Such conditions are vital for housing the institute’s most advanced metrology, physics, chemistry, electronics, engineering, and materials science research and will enable NIST to keep pace with rapid developments in semiconductors, industrial robots, computers, pharmaceuticals, and emerging technologies requiring molecular and atomic-level precision. The AML will be a shared resource for NIST and the industrial and scientific communities that work closely with NIST.

NIST also is requesting $12 million to undertake the highest priority safety, capacity, maintenance, and major repairs to ensure compliance with various federal, state, and local health and safety regulations, to make modifications needed to improve access for people with disabilities, and to keep the existing buildings in reliable working order. This represents a one-time decrease of $5 million to partially offset the cost of the AML construction.


Programs That Work: A Sampling

Measurement and Standards Laboratories

  • NIST materials researcher John Cahn was named by President Clinton to receive the National Medal of Science, the nation's highest scientific honor. He was the only federal researcher to receive the medal in 1998. Cahn was honored as an original thinker who has applied fundamental scientific laws to the practice of solving down-to-earth problems, and whose contributions have influenced three generations of materials researchers, mathematicians, and solid-state physicists. Cahn is perhaps most widely known for his co-discovery in 1984 of materials now classified  as "quasicrystals," which brought about a revolution in the field of crystallography.

  • Semiconductor manufacturers now are able to produce circuits with features that are actually too small to be measured reliably with existing metrology. NIST and Sandia National Laboratories--with support and funding from International SEMATECH and the Department of Energy--are hoping to solve this dilemma by creating a reference material for microscopes designed to allow accurate measurement of circuit features as small as one-tenth of a micrometer (or 500 times thinner than a human hair). They have demonstrated a prototype reference material with a 0.35 micrometer line and are working to apply the same concept to narrower linewidths. The electronics industry is expected to use the reference material to calibrate machines that monitor linewidths as microchips are manufactured.

  • A NIST-developed set of algorithms has been incorporated into commercial software designed to help computer programmers find year 2000 problems in programs written in the C language. Programs written in C--like those for controlling an automatic teller machine or a piece of manufacturing equipment--can contain tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of lines of computer instructions. Programmers can use the software to figure out which of the lines of instruction--usually about 10 percent--need to be changed to conform to four-digit dates after the year 2000. NIST also developed a year 2000 web site http://www.nist.gov/y2k/ that provides businesses and individuals with information and software for assessing Y2K problems on their systems.

  • The importance of weights and measures to consumers was highlighted by a study indicating that retail pricing accuracy has improved since 1996. The study by NIST, the Federal Trade Commission, and weights and measures offices in 37 jurisdictions found that the wrong price was charged for approximately one in 30 items checked in the survey of more than 100,000 consumer products in retail stores. The 1998 study compared electronically scanned prices with the lowest posted or advertised price of a randomized sample of items in 1,033 food, department, mass merchandise, drug, hardware, and other stores. NIST provided technical guidance to ensure the study was properly structured and carried out.

  • Scientists at NIST and the Center for Advanced Research in Biotechnology recently determined the three-dimensional structure of an enzyme called threonine deaminase, a large biological molecule produced by the bacteria E. coli. The enzyme structure has long intrigued scientists as it has a switch on one end for turning itself on or off. Since the enzyme helps to produce an essential amino acid for E. coli bacteria, pharmaceutical researchers now can use its structure as a target for developing new antibiotic drugs. Because plants also use the enzyme, inhibiting it may offer a new strategy for weed control. Plastics manufacturers are interested in the enzyme because it produces a compound used to make biodegradable plastics. Modifications in the enzyme could improve efficiency in biodegradable plastic production.


    Advanced Technology Program

  • Powerful technologies that offer extraordinary advances in the speed and convenience of DNA analysis are boosting capabilities to decode genes, manage diseases, discover new drugs, and cut costs in the trillion-dollar U.S. healthcare industry. These systems are initial spin-offs of an ongoing ATP co-funded joint venture aimed at making low-cost, hand-held diagnostic devices for quickly analyzing DNA samples in doctors' offices. The devices will feature a combination of technologies developed by two small biotechnology firms in California. Affymetrix, Inc., adapted a photolithography manufacturing process to make postage stamp-sized DNA chips, which contain hundreds of thousands of gene sequences that detect matches in blood or tissue samples up to 100 times faster than conventional methods. Molecular Dynamics has introduced a system that sorts and sequences DNA in 96 tiny capillaries (tubes the size of a human hair) faster and more efficiently than traditional methods.

  • Microscopic glass bubbles filled with air, nature’s ideal insulator, may be the key to the ultrafast integrated circuits of tomorrow. A novel insulator, xerogel, was incorporated into an integrated circuit for the first time by researchers at Texas Instruments and NanoPore, Inc., a small New Mexico company as part of an ATP project. As a followup, they combined a specific xerogel  formula with a new technique for replacing conventional aluminum wires in integrated circuits with copper, a better conductor. The result: a new technology that could mean a 10-fold increase in microprocessor speed and vastly more powerful computers, cellular telephones, factory control systems, and other products. The innovation demonstrates a practical solution to a critical microelectronics problem: how to pack more circuits into smaller spaces without producing "cross talk," the jumping of signals between unconnected wires.

  • Cree Research, a small Durham, N.C., company, developed a better way to process silicon carbide into large, high-quality single crystals. Commonly used as grit on sandpaper, silicon carbide is almost as hard as diamond, tolerates high temperatures, and responds to electrical currents by emitting blue light. However, it is difficult to grow enough high-quality silicon carbide crystals at large enough sizes to make the material economically viable. ATP co-funding helped Cree double wafer sizes from about 2.5 to 5 centimeters, reduce defects from 400 to 180 per square centimeter, and reduce costs for blue LEDs (light emitting diodes) from 48 cents to 18 cents. Cree's lightweight blue LEDs now are used in a wide range of products from auto dashboards to giant stadium instant replay displays.


    Manufacturing Extension Partnership

  • As part of the Small Business Working Group of the President's Council on Year 2000 Conversion, MEP is offering seminars and a computer-based tool to help small businesses better understand and deal with the year 2000 date problem. The tool--called Conversion 2000: Y2K Self-Help Tool--is helping small manufacturers and others conduct an inventory of equipment, including hardware, software and embedded systems; identify core business systems and rate their importance to the survival of the business; develop contingency plans; and plan and manage remediation projects. MEP's web site features resources, tools, and references aimed at helping smaller companies combat the year 2000 computer problem. The site (http://www.mep.nist.gov/) also provides support for small businesses using Conversion 2000.

  • Boozer Lumber needed a more efficient way of making roof trusses, one of the company's main products. With guidance from the South Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership (SCMEP), Boozer partnered with Virtek Vision International and MiTek Industries, Inc., to take a laser projection system developed for aerospace manufacturing and apply it to manufacturing wood trusses. As a result, Boozer improved its production efficiency by 295 percent, added four production lines, and doubled capacity. Boozer Lumber's new facility is one of the largest in the United States and one of the most efficient in the world. The MEP-affiliated SCMEP also provided workforce training, product development engineering, and plant layout recommendations.

  • Membrane Technology and Research (MTR) of California, which manufactures separation systems used by chemical, petrochemical, and pharmaceutical companies, sought to transform itself from an R&D operation to a production-oriented culture. To help achieve its goals for a new facility, MTR turned to its local MEP affiliate, the Corporation for Manufacturing Excellence (Manex). Instead of a $60,000 investment in new manufacturing software, Manex suggested a $1,500 upgrade that involved adding a few modules to the accounting software already in place. Manex and MTR also completed a preliminary design for the layout of the new facility, putting in place the production requirements for future growth. The company moved its operations in 1998 and has improved productivity by at least 50 percent and anticipates doubling commercial revenues each year.


    Baldrige National Quality Program

  • Solar Turbines, a California firm that designs and manufactures industrial gas turbines, won a 1998 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. A systematic, prevention-based approach to ensuring a safe and healthful work environment led to a decline in the frequency of recordable injuries from 9.53 for 1993 to 3.91 in 1997, well below the industry average of 11.8. Over the same period, worker's compensation costs declined 32 percent, from $532 per employee to $342 per employee, well below the industry average of $524 per employee. Hazardous waste output has been cut in half over the last five years, earning the company numerous industry and community awards.
  • With 66 employees, Texas Nameplate is the smallest company ever to receive the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. The company manufactures and sells identification and information labels used on a variety of products. An annual independent, third-party survey shows Texas Nameplate's customers consistently give the company an "excellent" rating in 12 key business areas, including quality product, reliable performance, on-time delivery, and overall satisfaction. The percent of new customers from referrals nearly doubled from 42.5 percent in 1994 to almost 78 percent in 1997. In two key markets, the company's market share increased from 69 to 93 percent, and from 42 to 63 percent, between 1996 and 1997.
  • Boeing Airlift and Tanker Programs (A&T), which employs 8,700 at eight U.S. locations, designs, develops, and produces C-17s, military airlift aircraft used by the U.S. Air Force. Winner of the 1998 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, A&T improved overall performance on key quality measures by 50 percent from 1994 to 1998. Over the same span, A&T cut cycle time by more than 80 percent and improved efficiency by more than 70 percent.

NTIS Budget Highlights

SUMMARY AND JUSTIFICATION

The National Technical Information Service (NTIS) was established in the aftermath of World War II to make available to industry much of the formerly classified research performed throughout the country in support of the war effort as well as captured enemy research. In 1950, the Secretary of Commerce was given the statutory mission to collect and organize scientific, technical, and engineering information “from whatever sources, foreign or domestic, that may be available” and to “make it more readily available to industry and business, and to the general public.” Over the course of its 50-year history, NTIS has amassed a collection of more than 3 million items, including the most comprehensive collection of federal research results.

Consistent with its mission, NTIS seeks out, organizes, stores for all time, and makes accessible virtually all federally financed scientific, technical, and engineering reports and complementary material from foreign and other sources. Unlike a commercial enterprise, which would preserve only that material having a significant, immediate commercial value, NTIS preserves material based on its potential use to U.S. industry and business. This ensures public availability to an accessible, convenient central source of information from a variety of sources, as well as a permanent record of the government’s massive investment in research and development since the end of World War II.

For many years, NTIS has covered costs through fees for its products and services. However, changes in the information industry have resulted in declining revenues. Because the organization and preservation of this knowledge will benefit generations of future researchers as well as current customers, the proposed FY 2000 budget includes a request for $2 million to partially fund NTIS’ activities to organize and preserve the 70,000 technical information items it adds to its permanent clearinghouse each year. The remainder of these $6 million activities, as well as all of NTIS’ other costs, will continue to be supported through fees for products and services.

The funding will help to ensure that NTIS will continue to function as a true clearinghouse and, as such, preserve information for future researchers.