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President's FY 1999 Budget Seeks $725 Million For Technology Administration to Boost Economic Growth

President Clinton’s fiscal year 1999 budget request for the Commerce Department’s Technology Administration is $725 million, Commerce Secretary William Daley announced today.

Daley said, "Our economy is strong and competitive, and technology is an increasingly critical factor in our continued success in the global marketplace. This budget request demonstrates the President’s continued commitment to investing in the nation’s technology base to further strengthen our economy, to create new and better jobs, and to assure our future competitiveness."

Led by the Under Secretary for Technology, the Technology Administration includes the Office of the Under Secretary for Technology (including the Office of Air and Space Commercialization), 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:

  • $10 million (an increase of $1.5 million from the FY 1998 appropriations) for the Office of the Under Secretary for Technology and the Office of Technology Policy to support (1) oversight activities of TA’s components; (2) TA’s lead role in the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles; (3) TA’s leadership in the U.S. Innovation Partnership; and (4) the OTP’s role as the federal government’s principal civilian technology policy analyst and advocate.
  • $715 million (an increase of $42.1 million from the FY 1998 appropriations) for the National Institute of Standards and Technology to operate—in close partnership with the private sector—civilian technology support programs that focus on the country’s technology infrastructure for economic growth. These are jobs that neither government nor industry can accomplish separately but are important to the nation’s global competitiveness and economic future. They provide industry with the technology, measurements and standards support the economy 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 1999 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, the auto industry, universities and hundreds of suppliers 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; (3) assisting in the development of a new National Space Policy; and (4) the National Medal of Technology.

The FY 1999 increase will permit US/OTP to fund a $1.4 million expansion of the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Technology. EPSCoT will stimulate technology commercialization in eligible states by promoting partnerships between state governments, universities, community colleges and the private sector. EPSCoT is the technology counterpart to the National Science Foundation’s successful Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR). Additional awards will be made under this initiative.

National Institute of Standards and Technology

The FY 1999 budget request for NIST is divided into three appropriations:

  • $291.6 million for efforts under the Scientific and Technical Research Services (STRS) appropriation that includes funding for two components: (1) the NIST Measurement and Standards Laboratories and (2) the National Quality Program, which helps U.S. companies to reach their full potential through the practice of quality strategies and performance excellence. This request includes:
    • $286.3 million for the Measurement and Standards Laboratories. The $17.4 million increase will include $16 million in additional funding to help address the nation’s multiplying needs for measurement-related services in four key areas: provide new measurement tools and services for the semiconductor device, equipment and materials industries; improve measurements and data underpinning the next generation of climate change technologies; develop and disseminate the measurements and standards for next-generation disaster mitigation technologies; and create the comprehensive structure of technical measurements and standards needed for international trade and to promote the global use of U.S. measurement and standards.
    • $5.4 million for the Baldrige National Quality Program. An increase of $2.3 million would permit NIST to establish and manage Baldrige awards for performance excellence in healthcare and education. NIST already has conducted a successful pilot program and the private Foundation for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award has begun raising a $15 million endowment to help establish the awards, provided federal funding is also available.
  • $366.7 million for technology development and industrial outreach under the Industrial Technology Services (ITS) appropriation that includes (1) cost-shared funding to industry for high-risk research and development 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:
    • $259.9 million for the Advanced Technology Program. This includes an additional $67.4 million over FY 1998 funding for this program, which promotes industry’s ability to make technologically challenging efforts that have broad economic benefits. The additional funds will enable the ATP to continue support for current projects and to conduct one general competition and several focused program competitions in FY 1999.
    • $106.8 million for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership. The request will permit NIST to continue providing the federal share of funding needed to support the network of centers serving smaller manufacturers in all 50 states and Puerto Rico. The decrease of $7.8 million from FY 1998 appropriations reflects a lower federal share of the centers’ operating costs since the federal share decreases as centers mature; the number of centers is not expect to change.
  • $56.7 million for improving NIST’s 30- to 45-year-old research facilities to ensure a safe working environment for NIST staff and the continued capability to provide U.S. industry and science with the best possible measurement system. In FY 1998, Congress appropriated $95 million for construction, renovation and maintenance of NIST facilities. Pending congressional review of NIST’s full facilities improvement plan and advanced appropriations from Congress, NIST plans to use $63 million to start construction of the Advanced Measurement Laboratory in Gaithersburg, Md. To further fund that planned facility, the FY 1999 request includes $40 million. The remaining $16.7 million would be used to address the highest priority projects among a substantial backlog of critical safety and maintenance needs.

National Technical Information Service

NTIS is a self-supporting agency, and there is no request for federal appropriation in FY 1999.

NOTE TO EDITORS: Reporters needing more detail may obtain a more comprehensive document, "FY 99 Technology Administration Budget Highlights," by calling (301) 975-2762, faxing a request to (301) 926-1630, sending an electronic mail request to media [at] (media[at]nist[dot]gov), or checking our World Wide Web at

Broadcast media can obtain NIST video footage by requesting a copy of "NIST in 5 Minutes and 41 Seconds" from the same sources listed above.

As a non-regulatory agency of the Commerce Department's Technology Administration, NIST promotes U.S. economic growth by working with industry to develop and apply technology, measurements and standards.

Released February 2, 1998, Updated January 8, 2018