The mission of the Technology Administration (TA) is to maximize technology's contribution to America's economic growth. In addition, the agency seeks to encourage the development of the technological infrastructure required to support U.S. industry through the 21st Century; to foster the development, diffusion, and adoption of new technologies; and to create a business environment conducive to innovation. TA is the U.S. technology industry's portal to the federal government.
The Technology Administration accomplishes its mission through the Under Secretary of Commerce for Technology and three component agencies:
The Office of Technology Policy (OTP)
The Office of Technology Policy is the only office in the federal government with the explicit mission of developing and advocating national policies and initiatives that use technology to build America's economic strength. Through its analytical reports, briefings, and Congressional testimony, OTP provides national, state, and local policy makers with information and deeper understanding of trends and policy implications of new technologies, business models, and practices. Read more.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
As one of our nation's oldest federal laboratories, NIST works with U.S. industry to address technology needs, delivering broadly useful results shared among companies, industries, universities, and consumers. NIST develops and disseminates measurement techniques, reference data and materials, test methods, standards, and other infrastructural technologies and services required by U.S. industry and science to compete in the 21st Century.
NIST also manages the prestigious Baldrige National Quality Program, which provides performance excellence guidelines to help businesses and organizations improve quality and performance; the Manufacturing Extension Partnership, a nationwide network that assists small manufacturers in adopting new technologies and manufacturing practices; and the Advanced Technology Program, which co-funds with industry high-risk technology R&D that promises broad benefits to the nation. Read more.
The National Technical Information Service (NTIS)
The National Technical Information Service operates as a central clearinghouse of scientific and technical information that is useful to U.S. business and industry. NTIS collects information; catalogs, abstracts, indexes, and permanently archives the information; disseminates products in the forms and formats most useful to its customers; develops electronic and other new media to send information; and provides information processing services to other federal agencies.
NTIS does not receive appropriated funds and generates revenue from the sale of technical reports and services to federal agencies.
FY 2005 Budget Summary for TA/NIST
Funding for the three main divisions of TA:
Office of the Under Secretary for Technology/Office of Technology Policy
Total funding requested: $8.3 million
National Institute of Standards and Technology
Total funding requested: $521.5 million
National Technical Information Service
No funds requested; NTIS is a self-supporting agency.
Specific budget proposals include:
President Bush requests $8.3 million for the Office of the Under Secretary for Technology and the Office of Technology Policy (US/OTP). This request supports US/OTP in 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.
The FY 2005 budget request will support:
The Under Secretary for Technology in overseeing the Technology Administration's operating units. The Under Secretary provides policy guidance to the Secretary of Commerce and the Technology Administration's component agencies, serves as an interagency leader on such efforts as the President's National Science and Technology Council and as an advocate for innovation and industrial competitiveness within and outside government, and provides leadership within the Department as chair of the Commerce Coordinating Council for Technology (C3T). The Under Secretary coordinates the civilian technology efforts of federal agencies and helps to shape federal civilian R&D priorities by taking into account the issues faced by industry. The Under Secretary also provides counsel to the Secretary of Commerce on all matters affecting innovation and coordinates with counterpart offices in the trade and economic agencies to create unified, integrated trade and technology policies.
The Office of Technology Policy's (OTP) role is to support and improve the American innovation system through its leadership of interagency working groups, community outreach events, and workshops to identify barriers to and best practices of America's innovation system.
Within OTP, the Office of Technology Competitiveness promotes domestic technological competitiveness in four interrelated policy areas: technology development and transfer, business innovation, state and local efforts to promote technology-based economic growth, and work force preparation for a technology-driven future. The Office of International Technology promotes international technology partnerships to strengthen U.S. competitiveness and advocates policies to advance U.S. technology in the global economy. The proposed budget also will support publication of policy papers and promotion of the GetTech Web site, which is designed to promote math and science education throughout our school system.
The Digital Freedom Initiative (DFI) ($129,000) proposed in this budget request represents a bold and innovative approach toward global economic growth and poverty reduction. The program, led by the Technology Administration, seeks to leverage the leadership of the U.S. government and the capabilities and ingenuity of America's leading private- sector companies with the vision and energy of entrepreneurs throughout the developing world. DFI's goal is to help create and sustain free markets in up to 20 developing countries over five years by working to unleash an entrepreneurial spirit capable of bringing unprecedented economic opportunities to millions of people. Senegal was chosen as the pilot country, and, in October of 2003, the White House announced that Peru and Indonesia would be the next two DFI sites.
The budget supports the transfer of the administration of the National Medal of Technology Program back to US/OTP ($450,000). The conference report accompanying the FY 2004 Consolidated Appropriations Act directed the transfer of the program to NIST. The National Medal of Technology is the highest honor awarded by the President of the United States for technological innovation.
This budget proposal also requests transfer of funding for the Office of Space Commercialization and the Interagency Global Positioning System Executive Board Secretariat back to US/OTP ($1.1 million). The conference report accompanying the FY 2004 Consolidated Appropriations Act directed their transfer to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
- Major Research Initiatives
- Facility Improvement and Maintenance Initiatives
- NIST Programs: The Laboratories
- NIST Programs: Industrial Technology Services
- NIST Programs: Construction of Research Facilities
From the demands of homeland security—such as detecting and countering an arsenal of potential terrorist weapons—to maintaining national competitiveness and economic strength through technological innovation, to the frontiers of scientific and medical research, our nation faces a wide field of challenges that must and will be met by innovation in science and technology. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) plays a critical role in meeting those challenges.
The ability to test, measure, and verify is at the heart of all scientific and technological progress, and these skills are the core NIST mission. NIST researchers were essential to the development of new standards for verifying the performance of equipment for detecting dirty bombs and other radiation hazards; they innovated test and measurement methods that are cornerstones of the first-ever industry standards published for the new fields of micromachines and microelectromechanical systems; and they catalyzed the formation of a multi-agency effort to coordinate and maximize the effectiveness of the federal government's manufacturing research-and-development programs.
NIST's continuing, mission-driven requirement to excel across the broad range of physical sciences and engineering and to work closely with—and in support of—private industry, academic research institutions, and other federal agencies has defined the Institute since its inception in 1901. Today, NIST is uniquely positioned as the federal government's single most important research and technological resource dedicated to supporting science, business, industry and public safety.
NIST pursues frontier research to remain both credible as a national standards laboratory and useful to industry as a source of measurement and technical expertise. Its work in quantum physics, for instance, has earned two Nobel prizes in recent years.
One measure of the Institute's success: nearly 30 economic impact studies by independent experts calculate that every dollar invested in NIST measurement and standards programs returns at least three dollars in economic benefits to the nation. Most NIST research programs return substantially more.
The rapidly accelerating pace of technology development and change during the past decade has forced the Institute to remain agile and flexible in order to make the best use of its resources. NIST has devoted increasing resources to biotechnology, nanotechnology, and information technology in pace with worldwide advances in those fields. With rising concerns over international terrorism, NIST has dedicated a growing fraction of its resources to measurements and standards R&D in direct support of homeland security, working closely with the Department of Homeland Security.
The NIST budget request for FY 2005 reflects this concern for focusing intently on priorities during tight budget climates. The President's request for $521.5 million for NIST is divided into three appropriations in the federal budget:
- $422.9 million—Scientific and Technical Research and Services (STRS), including $417.5 million for NIST's laboratory research and $5.4 million for the Baldrige National Quality Program.
- $39.2 million—Industrial Technology Services (ITS), including the budget request for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership. The Advanced Technology Program is proposed for elimination.
- $59.4 million—Construction of Research Facilities (CRF), including resources for safety, maintenance, repair, and facilities upgrades.
The FY 2005 budget proposed for the NIST laboratories addresses shortfalls over the past several years that threaten to undercut the very core measurements and standards infrastructure upon which our nation's scientific, technological and industrial enterprises depend. Accordingly, this budget proposes new initiatives to support advanced manufacturing ($15.6 million), public safety and security ($18.6 million), advanced measurement capabilities to meet the needs of 21st century science and industry ($16.2 million), and improvements to the NIST Center for Neutron Research, a unique national resource for research in materials, biological and chemical science, and physics ($8.3 million).
Other requested increases include:
- $25.5 million to acquire new research equipment for NIST's recently completed Advanced Measurement Laboratory,
- $25.7 million for urgently needed construction and renovation projects to replace or repair aging and obsolete facilities, and
- $10.6 million to permit timely maintenance, repair, and upgrades of NIST facilities to minimize long-term facilities costs.
Advances in Manufacturing ($15.6 million)
Manufacturing remains a vital and essential component of the nation's economy, but one that is under intense pressure from overseas. If the United States is to compete successfully in manufacturing, it must be on the basis of sustained, superior innovation. The key battlefields of 21st-century manufacturing, including nanotechnology, materials technology, and biotechnology, depend critically on measurement technology—the ability to locate and manipulate individual molecules and atoms, for example, and the ability to rapidly translate research advances into new products.
NIST proposes to meet this challenge with a research initiative that focuses on strategic measurement capabilities and standardization activities, and emphasizes cooperative research with the private sector.
The main elements are:
- Nanomanufacturing research ($8 million)—leverage the unique resource of the recently completed NIST Advanced Measurement Laboratory to establish a National Nanofabrication and Nanometrology User Facility to involve research universities, manufacturers, and other government laboratories in the development of nanoscale measurement and fabrication technologies.
- Nanometrology for Electronics and Semiconductor Industries ($4 million)—develop new measurement and modeling tools for designing, fabricating, and testing nanoelectronic devices down to the scale of molecular electronics, where individual molecules act as electronic switches; developing measurements and modeling tools for nanomagnetic devices to enable 100-fold or better increases in storage density for the data storage industry and improved magnetic sensors for the power generation, health care, security, and transportation industries; and for developing measurement technologies for nanomaterials characterization, to enable the evaluation of nanostructured materials for a host of potential applications such as highly efficient thin-film, solid-state lighting.
- Advanced Medical Technologies ($1.6 million)—develop and expand critically needed measurement technologies and standards for medical manufacturing in two rapidly developing fields, in vitro diagnostics (medical devices used to gauge health or diagnose disease, such as HIV test kits, blood analyzers, or glucose or cholesterol monitors) and tissue engineering (the rapidly evolving use of biocompatible polymers and other artificial materials as scaffolds to support and encourage regenerative tissue growth to heal injuries or compensate for genetic diseases such as sickle-cell anemia, Huntington's disease, or diabetes).
- Measurements and Standards for International Trade ($2 million)—expand and enhance NIST efforts to monitor and analyze the development of international technical standards (particularly where they impact the access of U.S. manufacturers to international markets), develop an on-line searchable database of this information, create an "early-warning system" of developing regulations and standards in the European Union, disseminate U.S. documentary standards in key foreign markets, and work to establish global conformity in key standardization areas.
Measurements and Standards for Public Safety and Security ($18.6 million)
While NIST has long been recognized for its contributions to public safety—the development of test methods and engineering data to make buildings safer and more resistant to earthquakes and fire, for example—the increased risk of terrorist attacks since Sept. 11, 2001, has added to natural disasters a new dimension of deadly, human-engineered threats. The nature of the threat ranges from chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, or explosive (CBRNE) attacks to more subtle but potentially devastating cyberterrorism.
NIST views the homeland security landscape from three special perspectives: measurement technology, because it lies at the heart of the problem of terrorist weapons detection; cybersecurity, because the Institute has long been charged with developing standards and techniques for computer security for civilian agencies and the private sector; and the statutory responsibilities for biometric standards assigned NIST by the USA PATRIOT Act.
The main elements of the proposed initiative are:
- Standards, Technology, and Practices for Buildings and First Responders ($4 million)—develop the technical foundations for improved building and fire codes, standards, and practices to improve structural fire protection, enable faster and more effective emergency response, reduce building vulnerability, and increase safety for building occupants and emergency first responders. Typical U.S. fire codes are based on NIST research from the 1920s and are inadequate for current building practices and the threat of catastrophic fires such as the one that contributed to the collapse of the World Trade Center towers. Progressive collapse—a catastrophic chain of failures triggered by a relatively smaller initial event (responsible for many of the deaths in the bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City)—is another critical area of building vulnerability that will be addressed by this research program.
- Measurement Infrastructure for Homeland Security ($7.6 million)—provide measurements, standards, techniques, testbeds, and data for rapid detection and response to multicomponent CBRNE threats. Successful response to a terrorist attack, especially one combining several chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, or explosive agents, requires the ability to rapidly detect, analyze, and quantify the nature of the agents—all problems in measurement technology, the core expertise of the NIST laboratories. NIST will work closely with the Department of Homeland Security and other federal agencies to assure widespread dissemination and implementation of advanced measurement technologies for CBRNE weapons detection and response.
- Standards for Biometric Identification ($1 million)—in support of the requirements of the USA PATRIOT Act, develop standards for testing the accuracy of fingerprint and facial biometrics technologies for identification. NIST research in biometrics goes back more than 35 years and includes the development of the Common Biometric Exchange File Format to improve the exchange of biometric information.
- Cybersecurity ($6 million)—develop improved protocols and standards for applications, communications and cryptography for information systems, including wireless and industrial control systems. Securing the nation's cyberspace is a problem of both rapidly increasing complexity and overwhelming importance. The challenge includes not only protecting access to sensitive data and information systems, and preventing or combating attempts to disable or compromise the nation's information infrastructure, but also the security of widely distributed networked industrial control systems that manage critical systems such as the power grid, water and fuel distribution systems, and chemical plants and refineries. The latter are particularly vulnerable because they are based on a vast network of legacy systems that were not designed with security as a priority. NIST will continue to work closely with industry and the Department of Homeland Security to develop the necessary test methods, protocols, and standards to plug the holes in cyberspace.
Advances in Measurement Science, Standards, and Services ($16.2 million)
One of the most serious challenges NIST faces in its mission to provide the measurement infrastructure needed by the nation's scientific and industrial communities is the requirement for the relatively small Institute to stay not only abreast of but—in many cases—ahead of rapidly changing developments across the broad range of science and technology. That requires insight, foresight, and agility. This initiative specifically addresses measurement capabilities in four key areas:
- Building Competence for Advanced Measurements Program ($7.5 million)—exploring key developing areas of science and technology and establishing a base of technical expertise on which to build future measurement services. The quantum physics research of NIST's two Nobel laureates, the development of new cold neutron instrumentation that ultimately led to the Institute's unique Cold Neutron Research Facility, and the NIST Biotechnology Division with its pathbreaking research in DNA forensics all were fostered originally by Competence Program funding. The proposed initiative will allow NIST to expand and enhance the existing Competence Program.
- Biosystems ($5 million)—supporting emerging innovations in biotechnologies based on new understanding of gene and protein expression (widely applicable in medical and agricultural diagnostics and therapeutics), nanobiotechnology (with foreseeable applications in fast, accurate, and inexpensive biosensors for biothreat detection, forensics, and chemical analysis) and DNA and protein markers (a new measurement science that attempts to correlate biological function with the presence and configuration of certain complex biomolecules found in trace concentrations.)
- Quantum Information Science ($3 million)—supporting measurements and standards for quantum-level communications and computing systems capable of producing, manipulating, and detecting individual photons. Still at the leading edge of physics research, quantum information science is expected to hold the key to both incredibly powerful computing capabilities and nearly unbreakable communications security.
- Time Scale and Time Dissemination Services ($725,000)—enhancing and hardening the NIST time dissemination infrastructure to ensure continuity of time and frequency dissemination services during natural disasters or hostile activities. NIST is the world leader in the dissemination of time and frequency standards, and the NIST services are considered critical national assets. NIST plans not only to enhance the survivability of its time and frequency services (time keeping is particularly difficult because it can never be allowed to lapse even momentarily) but also to initiate improvements in dissemination technology that should lead to substantial improvements in GPS (global positioning) and telecommunications networks.
National Neutron Research Capability Improvements ($8.3 million)
Among the Institute's unique technical resources, one of the most significant is the NIST Center for Neutron Research (NCNR), which was cited by a 2002 working group of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy as "the highest performing and most used neutron facility in the United States." Neutron beams—especially the low-energy "cold" beams available at the NCNR—have become an indispensable research tool in materials science, biotechnology, chemistry, engineering, and physics because of their ability to image materials and structures non-destructively at atomic and molecular scales. Typical applications include studying the role of proteins in biological systems and the dynamics of cell-membrane interactions.
More than 1,600 U.S. researchers from academia, industry, and government use the NCNR every year, nearly twice the number of users at the nation's other three neutron sources combined. The national importance of this facility has only been heightened by the development of state-of-the-art neutron sources in Europe and Japan and the shut-down in 1999 of the Brookhaven High Flux Beam Reactor. In fact, the NCNR is expected to be the only U.S. facility capable of meeting national needs for neutron research for at least a decade.
Success, however, has strained the resources of the NCNR, which now serves more than four times the number of users predicted in 1987 when it was first funded. Operating costs for reactor fuel, fuel shipment and storage, and heavy water have spiraled upwards. As a result, NIST's abilities to operate the facility to its maximum utility and to meet the growing demands of the U.S. research community have been seriously curtailed.
The proposed initiative will allow NIST to both cover the increased costs of operating the NCNR ($3.3 million) and significantly expand its collaboration with the nation's industrial and academic researchers with new instrumentation and analysis methods for macromolecular dynamics, neutron trace analysis, neutron chemical spectroscopy, neutron imaging, and neutron spectroscopy ($5 million). The applications for these research capabilities range across engineering, materials development, and biotechnology and include:
- the study of the structure and motions of very large molecules such as proteins, which could lead to the development of new drug therapies, new anti-toxins, and improved vaccines;
- the development of ultra-high sensitivity detection methods for environmental pollutants as well as explosives and other terrorist materials;
- the development of improved catalysts for making new materials;
- the development of new techniques for removing toxic materials from the environment;
- the study of the workings of complex cellular level biological systems; and
- the development of more efficient fuel cells, batteries, and semiconductors.
Advanced Measurement Laboratory Equipment ($25.5 million)
In 2004, NIST completed construction of the $235 million Advanced Measurement Laboratory (AML), now the world's most sophisticated measurement and standards laboratory. Within specialized AML labs, environmental factors such as vibration, temperature, humidity, and surface and air cleanliness are tightly controlled. In some labs, for example, temperature can be controlled to within one-hundredth of a degree Celsius across the entire room.
Why? Because the measurement needs of some of the most critical 21st-century technologies—including semiconductor manufacturing, nanomanufacturing, biotechnology, telecommunications, and advanced materials—require experiments of such exquisite precision that they would be nearly impossible otherwise. Using femtosecond lasers to measure chemical reactions on a surface (in pursuit of new, improved catalysts for more efficient chemical manufacturing) requires a lab bench that vibrates no more than 0.3 millionths of a meter.
The AML provides NIST with a research environment to meet the needs of industry and science well into the 21st century. While the AML itself is a technological triumph, making effective use of this facility requires equally specialized equipment and instrumentation. Much NIST equipment, particularly for work on semiconductor electronics, is generations behind the state of the art and should be replaced. In addition, special ultraclean environments in the AML must be outfitted with new equipment built in equally clean environments to avoid contaminating the new labs.
Partial funding for equipping the AML was provided in NIST's FY 2003 appropriation. This request will fulfill the most pressing equipment requirements.
The NIST laboratories in Boulder, Colo., are severely deteriorated and obsolete. Facilities for the world's most accurate and precise time and frequency standards and the world's most accurate voltage standards are two examples of laboratories that require major improvement.
NIST data contributing to the international standard for Coordinated Universal Time often have been seriously delayed by poor environmental conditions in the Boulder Labs. Researchers making sophisticated measurements of magnetic fields (in support of the data storage industry) often must wait an hour or more for lab temperatures to stabilize sufficiently to work. About 40 percent of the largest building on the site has no air-conditioning. Indeed, NIST conservatively estimates a 10 percent loss in productivity at the Boulder Labs purely due to environmental problems in obsolete buildings.
This initiative includes:
- Completion of a central utility plant providing filtered power, heating, and cooling for all NIST laboratory buildings on the site. ($16.4 million) Work on the plant was begun under the FY 2003 appropriation.
- Design and limited renovation of laboratory Building 4. ($1.8 million) This will fund the first phase of necessary renovations.
- Renovation design of laboratory Building 1. ($6.5 million) This is the largest laboratory building at the site.
- Relocation of off-campus NIST personnel in Gaithersburg. ($1 million) For a major personnel move from leased space near the Gaithersburg campus to on-campus space freed up by the opening of the AML.
NIST's SCMMR budget request will increase the annual maintenance budget for the Institute's facilities in Gaithersburg, Md., and Boulder, Colo., to nearly $34 million per year in order to avoid more costly deterioration and obsolescence issues such as those experienced at the Boulder Labs. Most NIST buildings are more than 40 years old and past their planned useful life as laboratory facilities. Air-handling equipment is particularly at risk—three major air-handling units failed without warning in the past year and another 20 could do so at any time, causing costly delays in research schedules. Some fire safety and alarm control systems are in need of upgrades, and energy- and water-conservation projects are planned to reduce overhead costs.
The ability to measure is fundamental to all progress in science and technology, and the seven NIST laboratories are responsible for the Institute's broad R&D program that supports U.S. industry and the science and technology community with not only the basic standards that underlie every measurement made in the United States but also new measurement technologies, test methods, authoritative scientific and engineering data, research tools, and other technologies. NIST research covers virtually all physical science and engineering disciplines as well as computer science and information technology.The Institute also provides calibration, testing, and other services directly to industry and the research community though its Technology Services program.
The categories in the STRS portion of the NIST budget track roughly with the NIST organizational structure of seven laboratories plus a Technology Services unit, but not exactly because much NIST research is multidisciplinary, involving two or more laboratories. These categories and the appropriations requested for each are as follows.
Electronics and Electrical Engineering ($55.8 million)
Most of this work is done in NIST's Electronics and Electrical Engineering Laboratory (EEEL), which primarily supports the electronics and electrical industries, and provides the fundamental basis for all electrical measurements (the standards for the volt, ohm, farad, and watt) in the United States. The lab's work is essential to the nation's electronics, electrical power, and electrical equipment industries, representing the better part of $1 trillion in shipments annually. NIST supplies the national reference standards that ensure the accuracy of electric power meters in every U.S. home and business; antenna measurements that support satellite communications, navigation, and many defense and homeland security applications; and critical reference measurements and technologies for the semiconductor and optical fiber industries, among others.
Some of EEEL's FY 2005 projects include developing a testbed to address communication and control vulnerabilities in the nation's electric power control systems and developing measurement tools needed to predict, measure, and control the flow of charge through individual molecules or small groups of molecules, laying measurement foundations for the promising new field of molecular-level electronics.
This item includes funding for the management and administration of the NIST Office of Law Enforcement Standards, which provides technical and research support depended upon by the public safety, criminal justice, and homeland security communities.
Manufacturing Engineering ($29.6 million)
NIST's Manufacturing Engineering Laboratory (MEL), where most of this work is done, provides the measurement technology and standards for dimensional and mechanical measurements needed by U.S. manufacturers to improve productivity and quality. Clients include the automotive, commercial aircraft, consumer electronics, and machine tools industries that together account for approximately one-third of the nation's Gross Domestic Product.
Far more than simply calibrating rulers, MEL's work in FY 2005 will include such tasks as developing dimensional measurement techniques with nanometer-scale accuracy in support of the semiconductor and nanomanufacturing industries, research into improved software for enterprise level manufacturing systems, and new and better test and measurement methods for improved manufacturing productivity. The laboratory also maintains the basic units for measuring mass and length in the United States.
Chemical Science and Technology ($50.1 million)
The NIST Chemical Science and Technology Laboratory (CSTL), where most of this work is done, develops chemical, biochemical, and chemical engineering measurements, data, models, and reference standards. Its work impacts the nation daily through improved measurements for health and medical products and services, forensics, biomaterials, pharmaceuticals, chemical products, food and nutrition products, environmental technologies, and energy systems. Even semiconductor manufacturing and the automotive industries are touched by CSTL science.
A few of the laboratory's FY 2005 projects include developing improved methods to measure rapidly genetic variations at the DNA level for human identity testing or high-throughput drug discovery; developing new reference measurements to improve the accuracy of certain health-related tests such as the biological marker used to judge the severity of heart attacks; and basic research on the electrical behavior of individual molecules to provide insight into the development of molecular-level electronics.
Physics ($42.2 million)
This activity largely takes place in the NIST Physics Laboratory and ranges from advanced research in quantum systems and quantum computing (work that has garnered the lab two Nobel prizes so far) to industrial measurements in optics, magnetism, electronics, and radiation. Its work in ionizing and neutron radiation underlies the accuracy of radiography and radiotherapy in health and medical applications, nuclear power safety, and industrial radiography and radiation processing. The Physics Laboratory also manages the nation's official standards for time and frequency, a function critical to telecommunications, navigation, electrical power transmission, the Global Positioning System, various defense applications, and even the banking community (for time-stamping electronic financial transactions).
A few of the laboratory's FY 2005 projects include completion of a new calibration facility for optical radiation standards used (for example) to assess climate change or measure temperatures in industrial processes; non-destructive imaging of the distribution of hydrogen in commercial fuel cells to help industry improve performance of fuel cells for automotive and distributed-power applications; and improvements to a NIST testbed used to test and evaluate cargo and truck inspection systems used to scan for smuggled radioactive materials.
Materials Science and Engineering ($62.7 million)
From superconducting ceramics to nanostructured composites to biomaterials for medical applications, materials science is one of the most dynamic fields in 21st-century technology. At NIST, most of this work is carried out in the Materials Science and Engineering Laboratory (MSEL), providing technical leadership for measurement and evaluation of advanced ceramics, polymers, alloys, and composites for industries ranging from microelectronics to automotive to health care. MSEL also manages the NIST Center for Neutron Research (described above).
The laboratory's FY 2005 program includes such projects as developing new material property measurement techniques and standards for the emerging tissue engineering industry (cell infiltration and living tissue development rates on artificial tissue scaffolds, for instance); developing new measurement methods, standards, data, and engineering models for the automotive industry to advance the use of more efficient, lighter-weight materials in cars; and developing both experimental and computational techniques to measure properties of new polymer and ceramic thin-film materials for the electronics industry.
Building and Fire Research ($23.6 million)
NIST's Building and Fire Research Laboratory (BFRL), where most of this work is done, is the foremost U.S. fire research establishment, as well as home to the nation's principal effort to reduce natural and man-made hazards through improved codes, standards, and practices for structures. Fire remains a critical problem in the United States, where the civilian fire death rate is among the worst of the industrial nations. The direct cost of fire in the United States in 2001 was $10.6 billion not counting the costs of the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. BFRL research supports the development of improved fire safety codes and fire-fighting techniques, and improved building construction codes and methods. The laboratory's expertise has been highlighted by assignments to investigate the causes of—and learn from—the collapse of the World Trade Center towers on 9/11 after the terrorist attacks and new legislative authority under the National Construction Safety Team Act to investigate major building failures in the United States.
In addition to those responsibilities, a few of the laboratory's FY 2005 projects include completing development of an economics methodology, implemented in software, to enable facility owners to evaluate the cost versus the effectiveness of various options for mitigating the impacts of natural hazards and terrorist threats in buildings; developing precision measurement techniques for gas flow through openings in a building during a fire to improve the accuracy of fire models used to design safer buildings; and working with the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the elevator and fire alarm industries to draft a standard for protected elevators that could be used by firefighters—something that would enhance significantly the safety of firefighters and people with disabilities in high-rise fires.
Computer Science and Applied Mathematics ($57.9 million)
Most of this work is done in the NIST Information Technology Laboratory (ITL) in support of the computer software and telecommunications industries through research and development and test methods and procedures to improve the security, reliability, and interoperability of information systems. ITL research includes several areas critical to homeland security, including the accuracy and efficiency of biometric systems, and computer and network security technologies and standards. The laboratory is responsible for developing and disseminating computer security guidelines for civilian agencies, such as the widely used NIST Advanced Encryption Standard issued in 2001. ITL research directly impacts the U.S. information technology industry (an $827 billion sector in 2000). The laboratory also supports the work of the other NIST laboratories through mathematical modeling, statistics, numerical analysis, and scientific computing.
A few of ITL's FY 2005 projects include developing benchmark security standards and tests to ensure that critical IT security standards at federal agencies are correctly implemented; developing specialized mathematical, statistical, and computational tools to model and evaluate the behavior of materials at the nanoscale level (in support of NIST nanotechnology research); and developing and testing new technologies for "context-aware" applications on handheld wireless devices to improve information handling and delivery in critical situations such as health care and emergency response.
Technology Assistance ($17.4 million)
If the research developments of the NIST laboratories are to be useful, they must reach the intended users—this is primarily the work of NIST's Technology Services (TS). Technology Services manages the more than 500 calibration services offered by NIST as well as the sale of more than 1,300 unique Standard Reference Materials (NIST-certified samples or data used to check the accuracy of measurement devices) and more than 60 on-line or single-user scientific information systems and reference databases.
In work that is vital to U.S. success in global trade, TS works closely with private-sector standards organizations in the United States and international standards bodies, including the International Organization for Legal Metrology, to help ensure that U.S. products are treated fairly in global commerce. In all, NIST participates in over 100 national and international standards developing organizations and keeps U.S. companies informed about other nations' standards-related trade actions. TS also coordinates NIST support for the nation's state and local weights and measures officials through the National Conference on Weights and Measures, ensuring that the produce scales, fuel pumps, taxi meters, and other commercial systems measuring out $4.5 trillion of products and services annually are "traceable to NIST."
Baldrige National Quality Program ($5.4 million)
The NIST STRS budget also funds the widely known and respected Baldrige National Quality Program (BNQP) to help U.S. businesses and other organizations continuously improve their competitiveness and productivity through rigorous quality and performance management practices.
The heart of the program is the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, won by only a handful of institutions, but the BNQP helps many types of companies and organizations deliver ever-improving value to customers, while improving overall organizational effectiveness. It has been copied widely by state governments and other countries.
Baldrige award applicants receive 300 to 1,000 hours of review by at least six experts on the board of examiners, giving the applicants valuable insights. The experts provide a detailed feedback report on the organization's strengths and opportunities for improvement.
Since 1988, 58 organizations have received the Baldrige award, which is given in the categories of manufacturing, service, small business, education, and health care. Many thousands of other organizations use the Baldrige criteria internally to assess and improve their performance. The private Council on Competitiveness has said that, "More than any other program, the Baldrige Quality Award is responsible for making quality a national priority and disseminating best practices across the United States." A recent economic analysis by academic researchers placed the total benefits of the program at nearly $25 billion—a benefit-to-cost ratio of 207 to 1 counting in the cost of the time donated by industry volunteers.
Manufacturing Extension Partnership ($39.2 million)
Funding for the NIST Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) supports a national network to help many small U.S. manufacturers become more competitive and productive. The Administration recognizes the important role manufacturing plays in our economy, and on Jan. 16 Secretary Evans released a comprehensive manufacturing strategy, Manufacturing in America. A key part of that strategy includes continued support for the MEP and steps to review and improve its efficiency. To emphasize competition in global markets, for example, MEP field agents will team directly with trade promotion specialists in the International Trade Administration to leverage ITA's connections and in-depth knowledge of industrial sectors. The report also recommends that MEP hold a recompetition of all centers that focuses on improving effectiveness and efficiency. This budget proposal funds MEP at the level agreed to by the Congress in the FY 2004 Consolidated Appropriations Act.
Advanced Technology Program ($0)
Since 1990, the Advanced Technology Program (ATP) has used cost-shared awards to encourage industry investment in high-risk, innovative technology R&D that promise broad benefits to the nation. This budget proposes terminating the program in favor of higher-priority needs.
The budget proposal includes funding for the construction and repair of NIST facilities to meet the metrology and research needs of the 21st century as well as to address the highest priority safety, capacity, maintenance, and major repair projects at NIST. This will, for example, ensure compliance with health and safety regulations, improve access for people with disabilities, and safeguard the utility infrastructure of existing buildings. The proposal includes initiatives for construction and major renovations ($25.7 million) and modifications and improvements ($33.7 million including base).