Washington, D.C. — President George W. Bush's fiscal year (FY) 2008 budget proposal submitted today to Congress for the Commerce Department's Technology Administration (TA) is $642.3 million, of which $640.7 million is for the Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).
The budget request for NIST includes $594.4 million for NIST's core research and facilities programs, an 11 percent increase over the President's FY 2007 request and a 21 percent increase over the proposed FY 2007 continuing resolution recently passed by the House and sent to the Senate. The President's request will implement key components of the American Competitiveness Initiative (ACI), which is designed to enhance our nation's capacity to innovate.
"NIST enhances the nation's capacity for innovation by establishing the measurements and standards infrastructure needed by industry and academia to overcome technical barriers to new products and services," said NIST Director William Jeffrey. "Innovation in nanotechnology, alternative fuels and other technologies supported by NIST research is critical to our nation's competitiveness. The increased funding provided through this request will directly support technological advances in broad sectors of the economy that will define the 21st century, as well as improve the safety and quality of life for our citizens."
The total request of $642.3 million is broken down as follows:
Office of the Under Secretary: $1.6 million
The Under Secretary for Technology (TA/US) currently provides policy guidance to the Secretary of Commerce and the Technology Administration's component agencies (NIST and NTIS). Technology plays a critical role across every sector of the economy, and the promotion of technology in advancing America's competitiveness has become an integrated part of the mission across the bureaus of the Department. In keeping with this evolution, the President's FY 2008 budget proposes to modernize the Department's approach to technology policy by elevating those activities to the Secretarial level. This modernization includes the appointment of a senior advisor in the Department's Office of Policy and Strategic Planning who will chair a Department-wide Technology Council to coordinate technology policy activities across the Department in lieu of a stand-alone Technology Administration. The request of $1.6 million provides resources for the orderly transition of TA/US to the new coordinated structure.
National Institute of Standards and Technology: $640.7 million
NIST currently is part of the Technology Administration and reports to the Under Secretary for Technology. With the transition to a Technology Council called for in the President's FY 2008 budget proposal, NIST will report directly to the Secretary of Commerce.
The descriptions below assume that sufficient funding is provided in FY 2007 to support previously requested NIST initiatives. The total budget for NIST is divided into three appropriations; the first two main bullets below relate to core research and facilities programs (subtotal: $594.4 million):
Major components of the request include five new initiatives in the following areas:
Construction and Research Facilities (CRF), $93.9 million—This category includes $46.9 million in funding for the operational maintenance, major repairs and safety of the NIST campuses and $47 million for two new initiatives to:
Construct modern laboratory facilities at NIST's Boulder campus that will provide the environmental control required to reliably measure and manipulate atomic-scale phenomena. This capability is required to further enable 21st-century technologies that will utilize quantum properties, nanotechnology and other advances that support broad industry sectors and our homeland security. (+$28 million)
Continue the capacity and capability improvement of the NIST Center for Neutron Research initiated in the FY 2007 budget request. This expansion will allow an additional 500 researchers per year to utilize the country's premier neutron research center for exploring the properties of advanced materials and biological systems at the smallest spatial scales. (+$19 million)
No FY 2008 funds are requested for the Advanced Technology Program in keeping with the President's previous proposals to phase out the program. The FY 2007 continuing resolution passed by the House and sent to the Senate provides $79 million for the Advanced Technology Program.
The House-passed continuing resolution also calls for a rescission of $7 million.
National Technical Information Services (NTIS): fee supported
NTIS currently is part of the Technology Administration and reports to the Under Secretary for Technology. With the shut down of the Office of the Under Secretary under the President's FY 2008 budget proposal, this organization will report to the Department through NIST.
NTIS is a repository of Federally funded scientific, technical and engineering information in support of the nation's economic growth and opportunity. NTIS maintains, sells and distributes its collection to users in the business, scientific and technical communities, and aims to make its collection perpetually and widely available.
NTIS covers its operating cost through fees for its products and services; in keeping with past practice, there is no FY 2008 appropriation request for this function.
NOTE: Additional information on NIST's budget is available at: www.nist.gov/public_affairs/budget.htm