President Clinton's fiscal year 1998 budget request for the Commerce Department's Technology Administration is $701.7 million, Commerce Secretary William Daley announced today.
Daley said, This budget request reflects the President's commitment to a solid technology base upon which to build our nation's economic growth, create new jobs and assure that the United States continues to be a dominant force in the global marketplace."
Led by the Under Secretary for Technology, the Technology Administration includes the Office of the Under Secretary for Technology, the Office of Technology Policy, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the National Technical Information Service.
The President's request for TA includes:
- $9.2 million (a decrease of $270,000 from the FY 1997 appropriation) 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 the Committee on Technological Innovation of the President's National Science and Technology Council and the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles;
- the Under Secretary's role as technology representative on binational programs (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); and
- the OTP's role as the Executive Branch's principal civilian technology policy analyst and advocate.
- $692.5 million (an increase of $120.5 million from the FY 1997 appropriation) 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 the country's 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.
Gaps in funding, expertise and/or information often slow progress. NIST's mission is to help fill these gaps by providing industry with the technology, measurement and standards support it needs. 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 1998 request will enable US/OTP to meet critical Administration and Congressional civilian technology priorities. Among the efforts that this funding will help support are: (1) 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; (2) 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; and (3) the National Medal of Technology.
The $2.5 million U.S.-Israel Science and Technology External Grant Fund will conclude at the end of FY 1997, providing an opportunity for new domestic and international activities. Funding of $1.7 million in FY 1998 will be assigned to a new effort to extend the benefits of existing federal science and technology efforts through closer cooperation and collaboration with traditionally under-represented states (the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Technology Initiative). Also, $350,000 will be used to create international economic and technology development programs in support of the Administration's foreign policy and peace efforts (in joint programs with the Balkans, Egypt, Greece, Israel, Jordan, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, Russia, South Africa and the Ukraine).
National Institute of Standards and Technology
The FY 1998 budget request for NIST is divided into three separate appropriations:
- $399 million for technology development and industrial outreach under the Industrial Technology Services (ITS) appropriation that includes (1) cost-shared funding to industry for preproduct development of high-risk, potentially high-payoff, economically important technologies through the Advanced Technology Program; and (2) more widely distributed services and expanded hands-on technical assistance to smaller manufacturers through a nationwide network of centers under the Manufacturing Extension Partnership. This request provides:
- $275.6 million for the Advanced Technology Program. This includes an additional $50.6 million in funding over FY 1997 to expand further the program which successfully promotes industry's ability to make technologically challenging efforts that have broad economic benefits. The additional funds will enable the ATP to conduct one general competition and several focused program competitions in FY 1998.
- $123.4 million for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership. The requested increase of $28.4 million over FY 1997 will be used to provide the federal share of funding needed to support the network of manufacturing assistance centers serving all 50 states and Puerto Rico. These centers provide hands-on assistance to the nation's 381,000 smaller manufacturers. The FY 1998 request also will allow MEP to improve its services through application of advanced information technologies to small business needs, optimization of supply chains by improving the business practices of smaller suppliers, and better utilization of advanced technologies for the modernization of processes and the continued improvement of products. FY 1998 marks the first year in which NIST assumes full funding for all centers. The Department of Defense's Technology Reinvestment Project provided a one-time funding transfer to NIST to help accelerate the deployment of extension centers, with the intent that these TRP-funded centers would "rollover" to NIST funding.
- $276.8 million for efforts under the Scientific and Technical Research and Services (STRS) appropriation that includes funding for two components: (1) the NIST Laboratory Program--planned and conducted with U.S. industry--to develop measurement technologies and standards and (2) the Baldrige National Quality Program, which helps U.S. companies reach their full potential through the practice of quality strategies and performance excellence. This request includes:
- $271.5 million for the NIST Laboratory Program. The requested FY 1998 increase of $6.5 million will be applied to two critical industry measurement and standards needs: new measurement tools and services for the semiconductor device, equipment and materials industries that reduce costs and improve international competitiveness; and a comprehensive approach to technical measurements and standards needed to help support rising exports of U.S. products.
- $5.3 million for the Baldrige National Quality Program. The requested FY 1998 increase of $2.3 million would allow establishment of quality criteria and parallel award programs for the healthcare and education communities. NIST already has conducted a successful pilot program applying quality guidelines to these sectors.
- $16.7 million for improving NIST's 30- to 45-year-old research facilities to ensure a safe working environment for NIST staff. Congress provided no appropriation for this line item in FY 1997 and instructed NIST to redirect previously appropriated funds intended for new construction and facilities renovations toward completion of a new chemistry laboratory building and maintenance and necessary fire and safety upgrades at other NIST facilities. The advancing age of NIST buildings has caused a substantial backlog of critical safety and maintenance projects such as inadequate fire safety alarms, lack of sprinkler systems and inadequate chemical exhaust systems. Proposed FY 1998 funding would be used to address the highest priority backlogged needs.
National Technical Information Service
NTIS is a self-supporting agency, and there is no request for federal appropriations in FY 1998.