President Bush’s FY 2002 budget request would cut funding for the
Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and
Technology (NIST) by nearly 20 percent. Support for NIST’s in-
house laboratories would increase, but funding for new Advanced
Technology Program (ATP) awards would be suspended while the
program is evaluated. Also part of the Commerce Department, the
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration would see a 2.0
percent decrease under this request. In his department’s budget
briefing, Commerce Secretary Don Evans stated, “The President’s
budget is focused on the people’s priorities, and it puts first
things first, starting with a fair, responsible and much-needed
tax cut.” Evans outlined the Bush Administration’s philosophy
for the Commerce Department: the “government’s role is not to
create wealth, but rather to create an environment in which
entrepreneurs and workers can flourish and create wealth.”

The total FY 2002 request for NIST is $487.5 million, a decrease
of $109.5 million, or 18.3 percent, from the FY 2001 level of
$597.0 million. Scientific and Technical Research and Services
(STRS), which includes NIST’s intramural laboratories, the
Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Program, and the Critical
Infrastructure Protection Grants Program, would receive $347.3
million, an increase of $35.4 million, or 11.4 percent, over
current funding. NIST’s Industrial Technology Services,
comprising the Advanced Technology Program (ATP) and the
Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), would receive $119.3
million, a $131.0 million, or 52.4 percent, decrease from the
current year. Construction funding would also decrease, by 39.9
percent, to $20.9 million. Details of the request, as given in a
NIST Fact Sheet, are provided below:


NIST Laboratories: The request is $336.9 million, an increase of
$35.2 million, or 11.7 percent, over current funding. The Fact
Sheet states that the request would “provide U.S. industry and
the science/technology community with the measurement
capabilities, standards, evaluated reference data and test
methods needed to support innovation, improve quality and lower
transaction costs in virtually all technology-intensive sectors.”

Baldrige National Quality Program: The request is $5.4 million,
an increase of $0.2 million, or 3.9 percent, over current
funding. The request would “manage the annual award competition
(for the manufacturing, service, small business, health care and
education sectors), conduct the annual Quest for Excellence
conference…, maintain a comprehensive database on state and
local quality awards, continually improve the performance
excellence criteria, and facilitate information sharing among all
sectors of the U.S. economy.”

Critical Infrastructure Protection Grants Program: The request is
$5.0 million, equal to FY 2001 funding. This program promotes
“the necessary research to address the widespread vulnerabilities
in and risks to U.S. computer and telecommunications systems.”


Advanced Technology Program: The request is $13.0 million, a
decrease of $132.4 million, or 91.9 percent, from FY 2001
funding. “This request, combined with estimated carryover from
the previous year and recoveries, would provide an operating
budget of $79.9 million which would cover continued funding
requirements for previous awards. The Administration proposes
that no new awards be made in FY 2002 while the ATP is evaluated
by the Commerce Department.” Secretary Evans provided the
following explanation: “To ensure taxpayer dollars are being used
to maximum effect, the Commerce Department will reevaluate the
Advanced Technology Program, to see if the program’s research and
development grants to commercial businesses are warranted, given
the current opportunities for high-tech firms. While ongoing
projects will be funded through their scheduled completion, the
administration proposes that funding for new grants is suspended
in FY 2002.”

Manufacturing Extension Partnership: The request is $106.3
million, an increase of $1.4 million, or 1.3 percent, from the
current level. “The request will permit NIST to continue
providing the federal share of funding needed to support the
network of centers serving smaller manufacturers in all 50 states
and Puerto Rico.”


The request for construction is $20.9 million, a decrease of
$13.9 million from current funding. The Fact Sheet states that
this request will “address the highest priority safety, capacity,
maintenance and major repair projects required to operate NIST’s
research facilities in Gaithersburg, Md., and Boulder, Colo.,
some of which are 30-45 years old.”


“NTIS covers its operating costs through fees for its products
and services; there is no FY 2002 request for the agency.” No
funding was appropriated for NTIS in FY 2001 either.


NOAA is also funded through the Department of Commerce. It would
receive $3,152.3 million under the FY 2002 request, a decrease of
$60.8 million, or 2.0 percent, from current funding. According
to Evans, “Increases totaling $330 million are provided for
critical programs including severe weather prediction, coastal
conservation, climate study, marine sanctuaries, fisheries
modernization and modernization of the marine transportation
system.” Within NOAA, its budget document states, $0.7 million
is requested for Climate Change Assessments, to “continue
contributions to environmental assessments that have become the
primary tool to deliver climate information to governments,
industry, the scientific community and the general public….
This investment will support NOAA’s leadership in assessing
climate change and its global impact on the United States and
other communities.”


Audrey T. Leath

Public Information Division

The American Institute of Physics

(301) 209-3094