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President's FY 2004 Budget Seeks a Half Billion in Funding for the Commerce Department's Technology Administration

Budget Reflects President's Commitment to Economic Growth and Homeland Security

More on FY 2004 budget request

President Bush's fiscal year (FY) 2004 budget request for the Commerce Department's Technology Administration (TA) is $504.8 million. The proposed budget reflects the President's priorities—and technology is the common denominator. Additionally, the proposed budget seeks to marshal the nation's technology resources to help the United States win the war on terrorism, strengthen homeland security, improve health care quality, and foster advances in nanotechnology and quantum computing.

The Technology Administration includes the Office of the Under Secretary (US) for Technology, the Office of Technology Policy (OTP), the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and the National Technical Information Service (NTIS).

Office of the Under Secretary for Technology/Office of Technology Policy

US/OTP serves as the federal government's primary advocate for innovation and industrial competitiveness, analyst of civilian industry technology issues, and incubator of new models of domestic and international technology cooperation.

The President's FY 2004 budget request for the Office of the Under Secretary for Technology and the Office of Technology Policy (US/OTP) is $8 million, to support its work with the private sector to analyze, develop, coordinate and advocate national policies that maximize technology's contribution to the war on terrorism, homeland security, job creation, and economic growth and security. This includes:

  • Enhancing management efficiencies, in support of the President's Management Agenda, including the transfer of the Office of Space Commercialization from TA to the International Trade Administration (ITA) within the Commerce Department to give space commercialization issues greater emphasis. This will require a legislative change.

National Institute of Standards and Technology

NIST operates—in close partnership with the private sector—technology support programs that impact the nation's continued economic growth and global competitiveness. NIST's challenge is to anticipate, develop and provide American industry with the technology, measurements and standards support it needs now and in the future.

The FY 2004 budget request of $496.8 million for NIST is divided into three appropriations:

  • $387.6 million for efforts under the Scientific and Technical Research and Services (STRS) appropriation that includes funding for (1) the NIST Laboratories and (2) the Baldrige National Quality Program.

This request includes:

  • $381.8 million for the NIST Laboratories to provide U.S. industry and the science/technology community with the measurement capabilities, standards, evaluated reference data and test methods needed to support innovation, improve quality and lower transaction costs in virtually all technology-intensive sectors.
  • $5.8 million for the Baldrige National Quality Program to manage the annual award competition (for the manufacturing, service, small business, health care and education sectors), conduct the annual Quest for Excellence conference where Baldrige winners share their performance excellence strategies, continually improve the performance excellence criteria, and facilitate data sharing among all U.S. economic sectors.

The FY 2004 request for the NIST Laboratories proposes $27.7 million in increases to fund new initiatives supporting the nation's economic growth, including:

    • $10.3 million to provide measurements and infrastructure for homeland security. The resources will fund the development and dissemination of standards for safety and security of building and biometric identification systems. This breaks down into:
      • $5.3 million to develop the measurement infrastructure needed to detect nuclear and radiological ("dirty bomb") threats, to improve the use of radiation such as X-rays and other imaging techniques to detect concealed terrorist threats, and to use radiation safely and effectively to destroy biowarfare agents such as anthrax.
      • $4 million as part of a program to use lessons learned from the NIST-led investigation of the World Trade Center collapse to make buildings, occupants and emergency responders safer from terrorist attacks on buildings and other building disasters. The requested funds will help NIST, the private sector, and state and local agencies to learn more and to develop and disseminate guidance on building practices, building codes, occupant behavior and emergency response to save lives and reduce property loss.
      • $1 million to develop standards and test methods for biometric identification systems used to identify positively the approximately 20 million non-citizens who enter the United States each year or apply for visas. This will enable NIST to carry out the mandate of the USA PATRIOT Act, which requires NIST to develop technology standards for biometric identification, recognizing NIST's long history of expertise in this area.
    • $9.2 million to support and enhance programs in nanotechnology ($5.2 million), quantum computing ($3 million), and health care quality assurance ($1 million).
    • $8.2 million, of which $6.7 million would be used for NIST's Advanced Measurement Laboratory ($5.5 million for equipment and $1.2 million for maintenance and operation), and $1.5 million would be used to fund time-scale dissemination backup elements. When occupied in 2004, the AML will be the world's premier measurement laboratory, capable of providing measurement and standards support for key industries of the 21st century such as nanotechnology, biotechnology and homeland security.
  • 69.6 million under the Construction of Research Facilities (CRF) appropriation, for NIST facilities and infrastructure that reflects the following increases:
    • $35.2 million for construction and renovation projects to help ensure that the NIST laboratories are adequate to deliver on their promises. This includes:
      • $21.3 million that will go toward long-overdue improvements at NIST's Boulder, Colo., laboratories, where most of the buildings are nearly 50 years old.
      • $10.56 million for safety, maintenance and repair improvements at both the Boulder and Gaithersburg, Md., campuses.
      • $3.36 million for the design to renovate one of the NIST Gaithersburg General Purpose Laboratories.
  • $39.6 million for technology development and industrial outreach under the Industrial Technology Services (ITS) appropriation that includes:
    • $27 million for administrative and other expenses needed to terminate the Advanced Technology Program (ATP) that provides cost-shared funding to industry for high-risk research and development.
    • $12.6 million for the widely distributed services and hands-on technical assistance to small manufacturing establishments through a nationwide network of centers under the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP). The request maintains the FY 2003 policy of funding the partnership according to its original plan, which called for the phase-out of federal monies to MEP centers after six years of funding. MEP central coordination activities and the federal share of the two centers less than seven years old would be funded.

These actions are consistent with the President's emphasis on shifting scarce resources to reflect higher-priority national needs. Investment of limited NIST resources in the laboratory programs and facilities will have the greatest impact on strengthening homeland security and fostering innovation that leads to economic growth.

National Technical Information Service

NTIS maintains, sells and distributes a collection of scientific and technical information from federal agencies.

NTIS covers its operating costs through fees for its products and services; there is no FY 2004 appropriation request for the agency.

Technology Administration Budget Summary FY 2002-2004

Released February 3, 2003, Updated January 13, 2023