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Budget Testimony before the House Science, Space, and Technology Subcommittee on Research and Technology

[As prepared.]

Committee Chairman Smith, Subcommittee Chairwoman Comstock, Ranking Member Lipinski, and members of the Subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today to present the President's Fiscal Year 2016 budget request for the National Institute of Standards and Technology—NIST—whose mission is to promote U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards, and technology in ways that enhance economic security and improve our quality of life.

This budget reflects NIST's important role in addressing our nation's top scientific and technical challenges that will foster the innovation that creates jobs and strengthens the U.S. economy.

The President has proposed a fiscal year 2016 budget for NIST of $1.1 billion. This is ~$256 million above the FY 2015 enacted level.

This budget request will support U.S. manufacturers, aid our communities in recovering from disasters, and improve the ways we connect to the world around us—from online banking transactions to using technology to efficiently manage the Smart Grid, to support for the implementation of "smart cities."  

The largest portion of the requested increase, $194.4 million, focuses on U.S.-based manufacturing. This includes research in the NIST labs, support for the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership Program (MEP), and a new request for the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (or NNMI).  The NIST laboratories represent the core of our mission. Our researchers conduct world-class research that advances the nation's technology infrastructure and helps U.S. companies continually improve their products and services. The basic research done in the NIST labs has garnered five Nobel Prizes over the past 18 years, the Kyoto Prize in Material Science, two National Medals of Science, and over 100 other national and international scientific awards and prizes!

NIST conducts more applied standards work in areas of national and global importance, including, but not limited to, cybersecurity, advanced communications, advanced manufacturing, advanced materials, and strengthening the science that underpins the forensic data used to make decisions in our criminal justice system.

The FY16 budget request for our Standards and Technology Research and Services Account is for $754.7 million. 

The increase of $79.2 million above the 2015 enacted level continues the investments begun in FY 2007 to grow NIST's scientific capacity in advanced manufacturing, cybersecurity and privacy for our nation's growing digital economy, and the fundamental measurement science and technology critical to U.S. innovation and improved quality of life.

The increase will also provide for the continued operation of NIST's world class Center for Neutron Research and will strengthen our efforts to support the nation's Community Disaster Resilience programs.

Madam Chairwoman, NIST's Industrial Technology Services (ITS) appropriation supports our external partnership programs that are designed to enhance American innovation and global competitiveness through partnerships with state and local organizations. 

For our ITS Account, the FY16 request of $306 million represents a $167.9 million increase. $150 million of that amount would establish and support the National Network on Manufacturing Innovation, envisioned to be a geographically diverse set of regional research hubs—coordinated by NIST—to accelerate development and adoption of new cutting-edge manufacturing technologies.

The major portion of this amount would allow NIST to establish two new Manufacturing Innovation Institutes to address the advanced manufacturing needs identified by industry. The eight institutes that have been identified, to date, are focused on U.S. government agency needs; namely, those of DoD and DoE. The ITS request also includes an increase of $11 million to increase the ability of our MEP Centers to serve small, rural, and young companies. 

The Construction of Research Facilities (CRF) request of $59 million represents an increase of $8.7 million. Simply put, the aging and deteriorating buildings and infrastructure on our two campuses are beginning to threaten our ability to accomplish our mission. The request would enable NIST to fund the next phase of planned multiyear critical renovations on our campus in Boulder, Colorado; the renovation of one building that is essential to our new advanced communications research efforts; and the renovation of a second building—an Eisenhower Administration era structure that is inadequate for the type of research being conducted there now.

Ms. Chairwoman, the NIST laboratories play a unique role in our nation's research and technology development enterprise. We sit at the nexus of science and industry, conducting cutting-edge, world-class measurement science and developing the standards that allow industry to innovate and compete successfully in the global economy. Both our labs and ITS programs are clearly focused on providing the tools to allow U.S. manufacturing to experience a renaissance of technological leadership.

Thank you for inviting me to testify today, and I will be happy to answer questions.

Created May 13, 2015, Updated December 29, 2016