President Clinton's fiscal year 1997 budget request for the Commerce Department's Technology Administration is $835.5 million.
Led by the Office of the Under Secretary for Technology, the Technology Administration includes the Office of Technology Policy, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the National Technical Information Service.
Commerce Secretary Ronald H. Brown said, "The FY 1997 budget request reinforces the President's enthusiastic support of the Technology Administration's programs as critical catalysts for the nation's long-term economic growth. This budget represents the level of funding necessary to help regain the hard-won momentum for the economy achieved through expansion of these programs in FY 1994 and 1995, and slowed by the budget uncertainties of FY 1996."
The President's request for TA includes:
- $9.5 million for the Office of the Under Secretary for Technology and the Office of Technology Policy to support oversight activities of TA's components; TA's lead role in three major private/public programs (the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles, the State-Federal-Cooperative Science and Technology Initiative, and the U.S.-Israel Science and Technology External Grant Fund); the Under Secretary's responsibilities to coordinate and lead several interagency and crosscutting civilian technology efforts; and OTP's role as the Executive Branch's principal civilian technology policy analyst and advocate.
- $826 million for the National Institute of Standards and Technology to operate -- in close partnership with the private sector -- a set of four civilian technology support programs that focus on jobs vital to the technology infrastructure. These are jobs that neither government nor industry can accomplish separately but are important to the nation's global competitiveness and economic future. At the proposed funding level, NIST's budget would continue to represent only about 1 percent of the total federal R&D; expenditure. However, NIST leverages this small federal investment to deliver broad-based economic benefits for all types of industries and all sizes of companies.
Office of the Under Secretary for Technology
Office of Technology Policy
The FY 1997 request will enable US/OTP to meet critical Administration and Congressional civilian technology priorities. Among the efforts that this funding will help support are: coordination of the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles, a collaboration between the federal government and the auto industry to aggressively explore new technologies that will lead to cleaner, more fuel-efficient vehicles; a new effort to extend the benefits of existing federal science and technology efforts through closer cooperation and collaboration with state S&T; programs (the State-Federal-Cooperative Science and Technology Initiative); OTP's role as the federal government's primary advocate for innovation and industrial competitiveness, analyst of civilian industrial technology issues and incubator of new models of domestic and international technology cooperation; the National Medal of Technology; the Commerce Science and Technology Fellows Program (ComSci); and the joint effort to strengthen the economies of both the United States and Israel via high-technology activities promoted by the U.S.-Israel Science and Technology External Grant Fund.
National Institute of Standards and Technology
The FY 1997 budget request for NIST is divided into three separate appropriations:
- $450 million for technology development and industrial outreach (called the Industrial Technology Services, or ITS, appropriation) that includes cost-shared funding to industry for preproduct development of high-risk, potentially high-payoff, enabling technologies through the Advanced Technology Program; and more widely distributed services and expanded hands-on technical assistance to small and medium-sized manufacturers through a nationwide network of centers under the Manufacturing Extension Partnership. Separately, the requests for the two components of the ITS include:
- $345 million for the Advanced Technology Program. The funds will enable the ATP to continue support for all current ATP projects to which multiyear funding already has been committed and will allow funding of one general competition and additional focused program competitions in FY 1997. The request will restore the program to approximately the level of its post-rescission FY 1995 appropriation.
- Criteria for individual projects and for focused programs make it very clear that NIST is seeking to promote industry's ability to make technologically challenging efforts that will have broad economic benefits. For example, the ATP focused program in Information Infrastructure for Healthcare will develop technologies to allow the medical community to reduce paperwork, improve the quality of diagnosis and treatment, and bring better medical care to rural areas. Credible studies indicate that a full 20 percent of today's $1 trillion annual healthcare cost is related to information processing -- a figure that innovative technologies in this area could lessen by billions of dollars.
- $105 million for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership. The funds will be directed toward completing the expansion to a national network of locally operated and NIST co-funded extension centers providing hands-on technology assistance to the nation's 381,000 smaller manufacturers.
- The FY 1997 request also will rollover to NIST appropriations the funding for 15 centers currently supported under grants from the Technology Reinvestment Project.
- $270.7 million for efforts by the NIST laboratories (called the Scientific and Technical Research and Services, or STRS, appropriation) -- planned and conducted with U.S. industry -- to develop an extensive lineup of measurement technologies.
- The FY 1997 request includes an increase that will augment NIST's semiconductor metrology efforts. Previous NIST research to advance the state of the art in semiconductor metrology has produced benefits for the U.S. economy of two to five times more than the cost of the NIST work.
- The measurement technology developed with this initiative is needed to enable U.S. industry to produce domestically the smaller, faster, more powerful, less expensive semiconductors needed to compete in a global market.
- This year, the STRS appropriation also includes $3 million to maintain NIST's management of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. The award has produced striking results in improved use and understanding of quality concepts throughout the U.S. business community with a very small federal investment.
- $105.2 million for critically needed construction and renovation (called the Construction of Research Facilities, or CRF, appropriation) to replace laboratory space that is becoming scientifically obsolete at NIST's 30- to 40-year-old facilities in both Maryland and Colorado. Full implementation of NIST's facilities plan will bring NIST's most critical facilities up to U.S. industry's measurement needs through the year 2010 and beyond.
- The FY 1997 funds requested will support construction of the first phase of the Advanced Technology Laboratory in Gaithersburg, Md.
National Technical Information Service
NTIS is a self-supporting agency, and there is no request for federal appropriations in FY 1997.