The Bush Administration will send its FY 2003 budget request to
Congress on February 4. This request is being prepared during a
period of war and recession, and against a backdrop of an
estimated $40 billion federal budget deficit for the first
quarter of FY 2002. There are few firm indications about what
the administration’s S&T request will be for FY 2003.

Indications of how the war will affect the FY 2003 request were
provided last month in a speech given by OSTP Director John
Marburger at an AAAS symposium entitled, “The War on Terrorism:
What Does it Mean for Science?” Excerpts from his speech follow:

“First, this administration is determined not to let terrorism
deflect America from its trajectory of world leadership in
science. . . . Having produced the means for great strides in
science, and in accompanying technologies for improved health
care, economic competitiveness, and quality of life, it would be
foolish to turn aside now from the course of discovery while we
engage the monster of terrorism — an evil force that denies the
benefits of progress and the search for truth. Thus I expect
that science in America and the world will forge ahead relatively
unaffected by the war against terrorism. I expect the
President’s prior commitment to increase funding for health
related research to be realized. I expect the tremendous
momentum in the information sciences to roll forward. I expect
the technologies of measurement and analysis — atomic scale
microscopy and manipulation, light sources, probes, detectors and
analyzers — to continue to win new ground on the frontiers of
complexity as well as of scale. Science has its own intrinsic
imperative and this nation will continue to pursue it.”

“[S]ignificant readiness of homeland technology is also apparent,
though not yet fully mobilized. We are not starting ‘from
scratch’ in the technology of homeland defense. We have much
relevant technology, and the challenge is to deploy it

“I am making these points to cool somewhat a fever that I fear is
rising in the scientific community — a notion that science may
be diverted in a massive way as it was in World War II, the
course of discovery interrupted, the quality of intellectual life
distorted and impaired. Or on the other hand that a great
windfall for science is at hand, at least for some of us, because
of the need for new research bent to the exigencies of new forms
of warfare.

“Science does indeed have much to offer in this war, and for
three months in my new capacity as Presidential Science Advisor,
I have been urging America’s science and engineering
organizations to respond to the President’s call. And I have
been immensely impressed and gratified by the response. . . .”

“Prior to the war on terrorism, the modern era of science had
matured, and a wealth of knowledge and technique now lies at
hand. In nearly every area where technology can be applied to
homeland defense, the basic knowledge exists, and the need is for
engineering to turn known phenomena into devices, and to embed
the devices into practical systems. The single greatest
exception to this rule is in the response to bioterrorism, where
additional research is needed on the mechanisms of diseases
likely to be exploited by terrorists.

“Some have spoken of the need for a ‘Manhattan Project’ to
satisfy the needs of homeland security. The analogy is
wrong-headed. Cleverness is needed less now than a national will
to use what we have to strengthen the infrastructure of our daily
lives, to bolster public health systems, to equip properly our
first responders, to use more effectively the information
technology, the detection technology, the biotechnology that we
already possess to render the way we live less vulnerable to what
the military scholars call ‘asymmetric threats.’ We need to
plan, and to carry out our plans. And that is one of the
functions of the Office of Homeland Security.”

“Science and engineering have critical roles to play in the war
on terrorism. We need improved tools with which to prevent,
detect, protect, and treat victims of chemical, biological,
radiological, nuclear, and conventional terrorist attacks.
Additionally, we will need new and improved tools to recover
facilities from those same types of attacks, should they ever
occur. Many cases call for a ‘systems approach,’ rather than
simply perfection of a single device.” [Marburger cited mail
security, airline security, and building design and construction
as examples.]

“Let me turn now to the more delicate subject of how the war on
terrorism, and the fear of terrorism, may impact the conduct of
science. . . . Security measures implemented without adequate
forethought can backfire if they do not significantly improve
security and have a negative impact on science and agency
missions. . . . It is important that international students
continue to come to the U.S. to study and contribute to our
science and technology enterprise. They are a major factor in
our nation’s world scientific leadership. They also learn to
appreciate the advantages of our educational system and acquire
skills that will enable them to contribute quality of life in
their own countries. But we do need better ways of identifying
the few that come to enhance their effectiveness as terrorists. .
. . Our nation today is a science superpower. The scope of our
scientific activity, both basic and applied, is breathtaking and
unmatched. We are not, however, a science monopoly, and we have
much to learn from colleagues elsewhere in the world. Science
thrives on open discourse. Measures that inhibit discourse will
impede progress. We cannot limit scientific interactions with
other nations without paying a scientific price.

“During my two months in office I have been impressed by the
importance that the President and his Senior Staff place on
science and technology. I see this in the questions they ask and
in their receptivity to advice offered. The President himself
has undertaken to learn technical detail on important issues.
This is not to say that science dominates decision-making.
Science tells what can be done, not what should be done. But at
the highest levels of the U.S. Government there is an
acknowledged need for good science, and an appreciation for the
needs of science.”


Richard M .Jones

Media and Government Relations

The American Institute of Physics

(301) 209-3095