Statement of the Honorable John H. Gibbons

Director, Office of Science and Technology Policy

before the

Subcommittee on Science

Committee on Science, Space, and Technology

U.S. House of Representatives

February 3, 1994

Mr. Chairman, members of the subcommittee, thank you for this opportunity tocomment on H.R. 3476, the National Science and Technology Policy, Organization,and Priorit ies Act Amendments of 1994. I know introduction of this billculminates an intensive assessment of U.S. science policy conducted by thissubcommittee with the aid of numerous advisors from academia, industry, andgovernment. Interactions with you and ot her members of this subcommittee andthe full committee during this effort have been instructive and stimulating tome and my associates. You have helped shape many of this Administration'saccomplishments in science and technology policy, some of which I describebelow. The Administration shares many of your goals for science andtechnology, and we appreciate the leadership you have shown in this criticalarea of national interest.

Science and Technology Policy in the Clinton/Gore Administrat ion

As you know, the Clinton/Gore Administration recognizes the tremendouspotential of science and technology to contribute to national wellbeing. Webelieve that investing in science and technology is investing in America'sfuture: a growi ng economy with more high-skill, high-wage jobs for Americanworkers; a cleaner environment where energy efficiency increases profits andreduces pollution; a stronger, more competitive private sector able to maintainU.S. leadership in critical world mar kets; an educational system where everystudent is challenged; and an inspired scientific and technological researchcommunity focused on ensuring not just our national security and strong economybut our very quality of life. The most important measure of the success of theFederal science and technology enterprise will be our ability to make adifference in the lives of the American people--present and future-- and toharness science and technology so that they improve the quality of life and theecono mic strength of our nation.

In a document released during our first weeks in office, the Administrationestablished its goals for science and technology:

Long-term economic growth that creates jobs and protects the environment;

A more efficient and responsive government; and

World leadership in basic science, mathematics, and engineering.

The President has reinvigorated the organizational framework for science andtechnology policymaking in order to accomplish those goals. Early in his termhe merged the staff operations of the Office of Science and Technology Policywith those of the National Space Council and the National Critical MaterialsCouncil. Then, on November 23, 1993, he signed Executive Order 12881establishing the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC), which isresponsible for:

coordinating the science and technology policy making process;

ensuring science and technology policy decisions and programs are consistentwith the President's stated goals;

helping to implement and integrate the President's science and technologypolicy agenda across the Federal government;

ensuring science and technology are considered in development andimplementation of all Federal policies and pro grams; and

furthering international cooperation in science and technology.

The President chairs the NSTC, and the membership includes: the VicePresident; the Secretaries of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education,Energy, Health and Huma n Services, the Interior, Labor, State, andTransportation; the Directors of the Office of Management and Budget and of theNational Science Foundation; the Administrators of the Environmental ProtectionAgency and of the National Aeronautics and Space Ad ministration; and severalsenior White House officials. Other departments and agencies participate inNSTC activities as appropriate, and, of course, the President can request anyofficial's participation in full council meetings as needed. As Assistant tothe President for Science and Technology, I participate in and manage theaffairs of this Presidential council, which oversees the interagencyresponsibilities of the Federal Coordinating Council for Science, Engineering,and Technology, the National Space Council, and the National Critical MaterialsCouncil.

The Executive Order calls for all agencies to coordinate science andtechnology policy through the NSTC. In addition, the NSTC is specificallydirected to develop recommendations on rese arch and development budgets thatreflect national goals and to provide advice to OMB concerning individualagencies' R&D budget submissions.

This latter function has been the top priority during NSTC's first weeks. Wehave established R& D Coordinating Committees designed to enable us toproduce, for the first time in the Federal Government's history, an R&Dbudget request that fully integrates the missions of the agencies and theoverarching science and technology requirements of the Nation. NSTC Committeesworking on the Fiscal Year 1996 R&D budget request include:

Health, Safety, and Food R&D

Fundamental Science Research

Information and Communication R&D

Environment and Natural Resources Research

National Security R&D

Civilian Industrial Technology R&D

Education and Training R&D

Transportation R&D

International Science, Engineering, and Technology R&D

Each committee operates with a Department Chair (or co-chairs), a White HouseCo-Chair, and a Department Vice-Chair. In the course of developing budgetrequests, the Committees will assist the NSTC in establishing priorities forresearch, in generating criteria for evaluating progress toward national goal sfor science and technology, and in refining those goals as science andtechnology evolve. NSTC's role in crafting R&D budgets that capitalize onagency strengths and eliminate waste and duplication in these stringent budgetyears is critical to the success of this Administration and to continuedgovernment support for research.

Despite the intense focus on the budget, the need for an NSTC has also beenevinced in several general policy areas. For instance:

Fundamental Science . The Committee on Fundamental Science Researchplanned and hosted, on January 31 and February 1, a forum on Science in theNational Interest to help articulate the: 1) benefits of our nationalinvestment in fundamental science; 2) principles and practices influencing theconduct of basic research; 3) challenges and opportunities facing U.S. effortsin fundamental science; and 4) goals for a 21st century science policy. Worldleadership in science, mathematics, and engineering is an express goal of thisAdministration, and this NSTC effort is an essential step toward realizing thatgoal.

U.S. Global Change Research Program. Under NSTC's direction, thisprogram's mandate has been broadened to make it more policy relevant. Several key areas are now being augmented: socio-economic impacts; ecologicalresearch; and integrated assessment.

Environmental Technologies. Numerous departments and agenciescontribute to research, development, and commercialization of environ mentaltechnologies, an area of great, potential economic growth for the UnitedStates. Through the NSTC, the Administration is working to develop acomprehensive strategy to ensure these programs are effectively coordinated anddirected toward national n eeds.

Bioethics. Views throughout the Nation -- in the private sector,legislative branch, and executive branch -- have converged on the need forhigh-level attention to bioethical issues. As a result, a Bioethics PolicyCommittee has be en formed under the NSTC, and an advisory committee will becreated to inform the workings of the interagency group. Programs and policiesof multiple Federal agencies have direct bioethical implications, and NSTC willserve as a forum for true, interage ncy policy development for critical researchissues.

I believe, Mr. Chairman, the preceding descriptions of the NSTC and earlyprogress in its operations reveal strong parallels between the views of yoursubcommittee and the Administration and ill uminate our deeply rooted commitmentto effective science and technology policy. The Administration also sharesyour conviction that interaction with the private sector is an essentialelement of developing effective policies. As a result, the President has alsoestablished the President's Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology(PCAST) to:

advise the President on matters involving science and technology; and

assist the National Science and Technology Council in securing private sect orinvolvement in its activities.

The direct link to the activities of the NSTC reflects our intention toincorporate advice from the private sector in developing the science andtechnology budgets and policies of this Administration and our inten tion tosecure private sector advice on the implementation and evaluation of budgetsand policies. PCAST will include the Assistant to the President for Scienceand Technology and luminaries from the private sector representative of thediverse perspecti ves and expertise in this Nation's investments in science andtechnology.

Comments on H.R. 3476

Steps to "reinvent" science and technology policy taken by the Clinton/GoreAdministration closely resemble some of the provisions in H.R. 3476, and Iwould like, now, to focus on a few specific areas of Administration agreementand disagreement with the bill. More detailed comments can be found in theappendix to my testimony.

By creating the National Science and Technolog y Council, the Administrationhas effectively enhanced the stature of science and technology considerationsin the policymaking process, which I believe is your goal as well. The NSTCwill function at a level within the White House equivalent to the Nati onalSecurity Council, the National Economic Council, and the Domestic PolicyCouncil. Raising the Executive Level of the OSTP Director, as called for insection 3(a) of the bill, is not essential to the functions of the NSTC.

The Administration supports your goal of close cooperation between OMB, OSTP,and the Executive departments and agencies in developing an R&D budget thataddresses national needs. We object, however, to Section 3(c) of the bill tothe extent it requires concurrence of the Director of OSTP before OMB makesbudget "passbacks" to the agencies. As our efforts to date indicate, wesupport a strong role for the NSTC and OSTP in the budget development process,but the concurrence requirement threatens to undermine the discipline ofthe budget process. The bill describes a budget development process involvingclose cooperation between OMB and OSTP, which we endorse. Ensuring thatongoing dialogue on behalf of a comprehensive, integrated science andtechnology budget p uts the Director of OSTP on a par with other ExecutiveBranch officials in the budget development process, which I believe is yourintent.

The Administration supports Section 3(e) of the bill, which strengthens theadministrative structure of OSTP and improves the agency's ability to supportthe NSTC.

The Administration does not believe a congressional mandate can ensure anadvisory committee's effectiveness, and the language of H.R. 3476 limits thePresident's flexibility in creating a co mmittee most appropriate for his needs.Thus we propose alternative language regarding PCAST, which is found in theappendix to my testimony.

The Administration supports a legislative mandate for the NSTC but objects tothe prescriptive language i n Section 5 of the bill. We urge you to adoptlanguage similar to that used by Congress to establish the National SpaceCouncil, as described in the appendix to my testimony. Such language wouldensure the functions of the NSTC continue but permit the A dministration torevise and adapt its structures and methods as experience demands.

The Administration believes the NSTC, working in conjunction with PCAST, maybe able to accomplish the objectives outlined for the Panel described inSection 6 of the bill more effectively and efficiently than a separatelyestablished advisory committee. In the interest of streamlining government, wewould like to continue our discussions with you to devise the best strategy forproviding the Administration and Co ngress with the information required of thePanel.

The Administration supports the changes to the Critical Technologies Institutethat appear in Section 7 of the bill (with one exception, regardingadministration of the contract for the FFRDC, des cribed in the appendix to mytestimony).

As I stated in my introduction, Mr. Chairman, I believe the Administrationdeeply shares your goals for effective science and technology policy.Substantial changes in organization, e.g., creation of the NS TC and the PCAST,as well as in areas of emphasis, e.g., development of a cross-cut for theentire Fiscal Year 1996 R&D budget, being undertaken by the Administrationreflect a complementarity in the visions of Congress and the Administrationthat sho uld serve the country well. Our differences lie primarily in processrather than policy, but process often determines policies' ultimate success.Thus it is critical to reconcile these differences before legislation ispassed. I look forward to today's