May 7, 1993
"A National Technology Strategy"
Remarks by Dr. John H. Gibbons,
Assistant to the Presiden t for Science and Technology
Delivered to the National Research Council
I am very pleased to be here today, and I welcome this opportunity todiscuss the Clinton Administration's technology policies with such adistinguished group.
As you know, President Clinton has called for making our government moreefficient. Well, I am living proof that he is serious about that goal. Notonly has he given me the jobs of Assistant to the President for Science andTechno logy and Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy in theWhite House, but I have inherited the National Space Council and the NationalCritical Materials Council as well.
This morning, I would like to talk briefly ab out the ClintonAdministration's overall technology policies and initiatives, and then focusspecifically on the role of our aeronautics and space programs.
Upon taking office, one of President Clinton's first actions was toformulat e a major new technology initiative as part of his plan to strengthenour country's economy. This initiative, Technology for America's EconomicGrowth, was announced in San Jose, California -- Silicon Valley -- and Iwas pleased to join the Presi dent and the Vice President in California for thatevent.
Why did the President put such an immediate and dramatic emphasis ontechnology policy in his administration?
Techn ology drives economic growth. Advances in technology createdtwo-thirds of the productivity growth in the United States over the past 60years. The knowledge-based, growth industries of the future depend oncontinuous generation of new technological inn ovations and rapid transformationof those innovations into marketable products.
The technology strategy outlined by President Clinton and Vice PresidentGore offers a comprehensive blueprint to focus American technology on 3 centra lgoals:
-- Long-term economic growth that creates jobs and protects theenvironment;
-- Making government more efficient and more responsive; and
-- World leadership in basic science, mathematics, and engineering.
With this initiative, we take a critical step toward ensuring that the federalinvestment in science and technology becomes a key instrument for promotingU.S. economic growth and for satisfying other national goals.
An important que stion to ask is: How do our aeronautics and spaceprograms fit into this technology strategy?
In answering that question, I would first like to stress that theAdministration is currently formulating its strategic goals for the civil spaceprogra m; therefore my remarks today are, by necessity, somewhat preliminary.But I will try to give you at least the broad outlines of where I believe weare headed.
I will start with my own role. As I said earlier, the President has directedme, as D irector of OSTP, to take the lead role for the Administration in termsof coordinating space policy. This entails absorbing the essential functionsof the National Space Council into OSTP's operations -- a process that is wellunderway. OSTP will be r esponsible for coordinating policy guidance on civil,commercial, and cross-cutting space policy issues. We are establishing aprocess to ensure that views from Executive Departments and Agencies, theCongress, and the private sector are considered durin g policy development.
Obviously, I will be working closely with the National Security Adviser onthose occasions when national security concerns properly dominate the policydevelopment process.
One of my primary responsibilities to date ha s been to begin reviewing whichnational goals our aeronautics and space programs should help us achieve. Thatprocess is continuing, but I would like to share with you some of theprinciples that I believe should guide our future actions and the program s weimplement.
The President's 1994 budget demonstrates this Administration's strongcommitment to the civil aeronautics and space program. The President has askedCongress to fund NASA at $15.2 billion next year. This is an increase ofnearly a billion dollars over last year's NASA budget.
The FY '94 budget provides a 7% increase in science, a 9% increase in spacetechnology, and an 18% increase in aeronautics. This is an extraordinary voteof confidence in a budget that is focused on deficit-cutting.
This investment does not signal a "business as usual" approach to runningthis Nation's space program. The resources dedicated to the civilian spaceprogram must be focused on issues critical to the nation. I believe there arefive principal ways this country's investment in civil space exploration andtechnology development can and should contribute to the long term security andwell-being of this nation.
First, the aeronautics and space program will create new knowledge andenhance our understanding of the environment here on earth and of our place inthe universe. Space systems and advanced high altitude aircraft provideindispensable tools for understanding how human actions influence the complexworking s of our planet. Similarly, space science and robotic planetaryexploration can provide us with otherwise unobtainable knowledge and insightsregarding our home planet and the universe in which we live. Insights gainedfrom these technologies can enrich our lives and provide an essential type ofwealth for this Nation.
This leads me to my second point: aeronautics and space investments mustmake important contributions to the U.S. economy. I refer not just toserendipitous "spin-offs," but to prudent, industry-led investments, such asthe government/industry cooperation in aeronautics and in satellitecommunications that helped to achieve and sustain U.S. leadership in thesecritical areas.
Although the economic health of this n ation is the uppermost consideration forthe Administration, it is not the only guiding principle in our aeronautics andspace activities. Our third principle holds that research in aeronauticsand space can help build good international relations. u> _
We are acutely aware that international cooperation in space activities canhelp the international community move beyond the Cold War. Working with ourtraditional partners in Europe, Japan, and Canada, and soon with Russia andother parts of the emerging democratic world, we can forge additionalrelationships that contribute to global peace and prosperity. Internationalcooperation in space science, exploration, and commerce can provide animportant lesson on how nations, working together , define challenges and solveproblems that no one nation alone could accomplish.
Fourth, the space program is important because it generates and sustainsinterest in math and science education. The excitement generated by thespace progr am can be used to interest young people in math and scienceeducation. Enthusiasm for the space program yields scientists, engineers, andeducators who are the key to the future economic competitiveness of our nation,and increases the understanding of s cience and technology in the generalpopulation -- a critical need for the continued strength of our democracy.
Finally, human space flight is and will continue to be a significantelement of our domestic and international space program. H umans can make aunique contribution, as part of a balanced program of robotic and humanexploration, to our scientific and technical knowledge, as well as ourunderstanding of the benefits and limitations of humans living and working inspace.
I believe that these principles will guide development and implementation ofthe aeronautics and space programs of this Administration.
The increased funding for aeronautics in the FY '94 budget will be used towork with industry to develop the tec hnologies that will improve U.S.competitiveness in civil aviation and enhance the safety and capacity of ourNational Aviation System. As you know, the aviation industry plays a criticalrole in our economy. Aircraft manufacturers recorded over $95 bil lion in salesin 1992, contributed $28 billion to our balance of trade, and employed amillion people in high quality jobs. Improving and sustaining the strength ofthis industry sector will be a goal of this Administration.
Aviation is one of th is country's most successful industries, in part, becauseof a long and successful history of Government-industry cooperation. We allknow that over the last couple of decades, the world has changed significantly: military and civil aeronautics technolo gies have diverged, defense spending isdeclining, the aeronautics industry has gone global, and U.S. manufacturers arefaced with increased, often government subsidized, competition.
In this environment, developing a effective and productive r elationshipbetween government and industry is essential.
The '94 budget expands our civil aviation program in three key areas: highspeed research, subsonic research, and national facilities. This program isdesigned to maintain a balanced po rtfolio of investments that will contributeto the health of the aviation industry in the near-, mid-, and long-term.
Let me now turn my attention to a subject that has received a considerableamount of attention recently -- the space station. Let me state from theoutset that I believe that the space station program -- properly structured --can make a number of very important contributions to this nation. It should:
o Create the capability to perform significant long-duration space research inmaterials and life sciences;
o Develop the technology and the engineering skills necessary to build andoperate advanced human and autonomous space systems;
o Encourage international cooperation in science and technology;
< p>o Provide opportunity for new users, particularly industry users, to conductexperiments on new, commercially relevant products and processes;
o Acquire new knowledge regarding the feasibility and desirability ofconducting human scientific, co mmercial, and exploration activities.
As you know, the President has directed NASA to redesign the space stationprogram to significantly reduce development, operations and utilization costswhile trying to maintain many of the research object ives of the originalstation. In addition, the President wants to make every effort to maintain ourcurrent commitments to our international partners.
To date, I think we have made considerable progress. NASA has put in place aredesign team that has been working nearly around the clock to meet the tightschedules that have been imposed on us by the budget process.
In addition to the NASA redesign team, we have assembled an Advisory Committeeto examine the work of the redesign team and to provide NASA and the WhiteHouse with an independent assessment of the redesign results. Dr. CharlesVest, President of MIT, has agreed to chair this panel. The Vest Committee isworking now and will be sending its final report to NASA and the W hite House inmid-June.
We have invited our international space station partners from Europe, Canada,and Japan to join us in the redesign effort and to participate, in an exofficio capacity, on the Blue Ribbon Panel.
I am please d that our partners have agreed to work with us and I know they aremaking an invaluable contribution to the process.
I know this process has been difficult for everyone. However, I believe asober assessment of the true cost of Space Station Freedom leads one to theinescapable conclusion that the program would have greatly strained theavailable NASA resources. I believe that funding Space Station Freedom wouldhave made it impossible for us to create within NASA a widening funding wedgefo r aeronautics, and science and technology work relevant to the US civileconomy.
Beyond the space station and the aeronautics program, NASA has a broader roleto play in the President's technology initiative. I can give you someexamples:
o NASA will have a key role in the implementation of the High PerformanceComputing and Communications initiative and creation of the "informationsuperhighways" that the President and the Vice President have envisioned forour country.
o NASA 's space and aeronautical technologies should contribute to thePresident's initiatives in advanced manufacturing, including the clean carinitiative.
o Space science and exploration is an invaluable means to help maintain U.S.leadership in basi c science, mathematics, and engineering.
o NASA's Earth Observing System (EOS) program will also ensure that ourinvestments in innovative space and aeronautical technologies will be used tosolve high-priority problems in the environment.
The plans embodied in President Clinton's technology initiative -- for spaceand aeronautics, as well as other science and technology programs, for NASA andthe other Federal agencies -- constitute a major departure from the programs ofthe past. Orga nized around broad, national goals, it abandons the notion thatwe can depend on serendipitous spin-offs from space and defense R&D forfuture wellbeing and instead adopts an ambitious, integrated approach to civiland defense R&D spending in orde r to ensure national, economic, andenvironmental security.
I thank you for your attention today and look forward to working with you aswe develop and implement the science and technology programs of the ClintonAdministration.