Space and Aeronautics. The Administration recognizes the special role that space
and aeronautics technologies play in advancing U.S. economic, national security, and foreign
policy interests. The international space station is perhaps the Administration's most visible
commitment to U.S. leadership in aerospace technology. The space station has been
redesigned to reduce its cost, to improve its performance and safety, to accelerate its
schedule, and to make it more relevant to today's economic and political climate. The
inclusion of Russia as a full partner in the station program (which also includes Japan,
Canada, and the Europeans) reflects not only the benefits we believe can be derived from the
incorporation of Russian space technology, but also the importance of broad international
cooperation in the pursuit of progress in science and technology. We expect that research on
board the space station will provide important new scientific and technical insights and will
lay the groundwork for mankind's next steps into space.
We are also committed to making investments that will allow industry to dramatically reduce the cost of space transportation. In August 1994, NASA began development of a new generation of launch vehicle technologies that could eventually replace the expensive Space Shuttle. Similarly, the Department of Defense has developed a strategy for evolving the existing expendable launch vehicles into a fleet of vehicles that is significantly more cost effective. These government actions, combined with the energy and creativity of the private sector, not only holds out the possibility for much less expensive access to space for science, exploration, and national security, but lays the foundation for assuring U.S. industry's position as a leader in the commercial space launch market.
We also maintain our commitment to using space technology for scientific research. Through NASA's Mission to Planet Earth -- a key component of the U.S. Global Change Research Program -- we will gain new insights into the fundamental processes of our planet. These insights can have a positive effect on our economy and our environment as we benefit from new knowledge of weather prediction, agriculture, disaster prediction, and other complex processes.
Besides exploring our own planet, NASA is planning a new generation of small, low- cost spacecraft that will provide new opportunities for exploration and discovery elsewhere in the solar system. These new programs, combined with our sustained commitment to important facilities such as the Hubble Space Telescope, will expand our already significant efforts to understand the nature of the universe in which we live.
The U.S. aeronautics industry has benefited greatly from its strong research and technology partnership with the federal government. U.S. firms lead the world in the manufacture of aircraft, engines, avionics, and air transportation system equipment. This leadership role has translated into hundreds of thousands of high-quality jobs and a significant contribution to our balance of trade -- more than $28 billion in 1993 on exports of $40 billion.
The Administration's continued support for aeronautics technologies will help to ensure that U.S. industry remains a world leader in the development of new aircraft and engines, a tenuous position given other governments' support for their national industries. We are developing a validated technology base which will enable the commercial development of a new generation of safe subsonic and high-speed commercial transport aircraft that far surpass today's aircraft in affordability, efficiency, and environmental compatibility.
Federal research and development is also playing an important role in helping to ensure the development and implementation of a new, efficient, safe, and affordable global air transportation system. In particular, new technologies such as the Global Positioning Systems (GPS), a space-based positioning, navigation, and time distribution system originally designed to meet world-wide military needs for precise global navigation and positioning, may result in billions of dollars in annual savings to the airlines and a significant global market for new U.S. products and services. GPS has found many unexpected civil and commercial applications, from surveying and mapping to commercial vehicle fleet management and air traffic control. More and more people are experiencing first-hand the use of GPS in personal automobile navigation, routing, and fleet management. In the aeronautics arena, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has defined the technical standards for GPS receivers to be used in civilian aviation, and a DOD-DOT team is working to identify and resolve issues related to augmentation of the current GPS system for use in air traffic management.
Finally, federal research and development will help to ensure the long-term environmental compatibility of the aviation system. New technologies hold the promise of even greater increases in energy efficiency and further significant reductions in noise and potentially harmful chemical emissions.
Government ReformsOver the past two years, the Administration has been working to improve the federal research and development enterprise in many ways. We recognized that, in order to confront today's challenges, significant changes were needed in the way we plan and fund federal research and development. The traditional single agency, single disciplinary approach to problem solving no longer adequately addresses the complex issues of the science and technology environment. Multi-dimensional problems can only be addressed by bringing together natural and social scientists, economists, engineers, and policymakers. For too long, science has been largely decoupled from informing public policy choices, such as regulatory decisions.
Box: Risk Analysis: Linking Science and Environmental Policymaking
Factors within and outside our control -- what we eat and drink; the air we breathe -- influence the risks we face in our daily activities. Informed decisions, at the personal or community level, can reduce risks at considerably less expense than the cost of response.
Policies to address risks to public health, safety, and the environment must be fair, effective, and affordable. The Administration has taken several steps to advance risk analysis, a key linkage between science and policy, including establishing the following priorities for investigation:
The Administration is working within and across agencies to improve the methods by which risks are evaluated and the ways in which the resulting information is integrated with economic, social, and other considerations in making decisions that will ensure the protection of public health, safety, and the environment.
The National Performance Review recommended creating a National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) to coordinate and implement science and technology policy. Created by Executive Order in November 1993 (Appendix 1), the NSTC provides an example of how those seeking to reinvent Government can work with existing resources to more efficiently and effectively serve the needs of the American people. For the first time, the United States has a comprehensive, coordinated, Cabinet level body devoted to the federal research and development enterprise. The principal purposes of the NSTC are to:
The NSTC is a virtual department -- a coalition of agencies that coordinate their efforts, divide tasks, and share resources to advance science and technology. This forum for direct communication between agencies cuts through bureaucracy and encourages the identification of common goals and objectives.
Committees of the NSTC developed principles and priorities that gave direction to the research and development budget development process for FY 1996. They coordinated research and development budget recommendations for accomplishing national objectives with the focus on broad national goals. In coming years, the Administration will work toward refining this process of identifying priorities and providing guidance to the agencies to ensure that, in a time of limited funding, the highest priorities of the nation will be advanced.
The 9 Committees of the NSTC span the entire federal research and development enterprise (Appendix 2). They developed strategic implementation plans that further articulate the goals and objectives of specific science and technology areas. This strategic planning initiative required the agencies to review major science and technology initiatives in terms of appropriate agency roles, milestones, performance measures, resources, private sector input, and international issues. We will use these plans to gauge progress. Though changing national needs and the success or failure of different research avenues may require periodic reassessment of the goals now set, the framework that has been created is flexible enough to easily reorient to new opportunities and new priorities.
The NSTC also provides a means for interagency development and review of major science and technology policy decisions. NSTC Presidential Decision Directives are one mechanism used to implement major policy decisions. The NSTC review process ensures that all the agencies impacted by a decision have the opportunity to provide input.
The NSTC process led to a decision to converge the polar orbiting environmental satellite systems of the Departments of Defense and Commerce. This decision should save the American taxpayer several hundred million dollars by the turn of the century. Another Presidential Decision issued in 1994 directed continuation of the Landsat remote sensing satellite program and restructured federal agency responsibilities for acquiring and operating the next satellite (Landsat-7). This decision insures the continuity and availability of the Landsat remote sensing capability which is used for civil, commercial and national security purposes. A third NSTC Presidential Decision articulated the new national space transportation policy and established clear roles and responsibilities for the principal agencies.
The NSTC process has been useful for improving the efficiency of federal research and development programs. As an example, a 1994 NSTC Presidential Review Directive ordered an interagency review of the federal government's 3 largest laboratory systems -- the Department of Defense, the Department of Energy, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The NSTC is integrating the laboratory system reviews being conducted by the individual agencies and will produce a report with options and recommendation concerning the role and future of the 3 laboratory systems. Also in 1994, 4 agencies signed a memorandum of understanding to establish, jointly fund, and oversee a data bank containing atomic coordinates and related structural information for biological macromolecules.
The NSTC is committed to outreach and collaboration with the private sector and the public to ensure that federal science and technology policies reflect the full spectrum of the Nation's needs. A primary means of obtaining input from outside the federal government is through the sponsorship of forums and workshops designed to bring together a variety of stakeholders in a given area. The NSTC has convened and is planning for several forums to engage a broad cross-section of industry and academic leaders in the debate on critical science and technology issues, including:
In 1995 and beyond, the NSTC will continue to sponsor and co-sponsor a variety of events to ensure that the goals and priorities of the Administration reflect the needs of the public. It is essential that resources be directed to those areas of highest priority, and it is only through continued communication with stakeholders that we can ensure that those priorities are identified.
Another very effective means of obtaining input from outside the federal sector is through consultation with the President's Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST). (Appendix 3) The goal in creating the PCAST was to ensure, through the involvement of the private sector, that federal science and technology policies are reflective of our nation's needs. The PCAST consists of a group of 18 highly qualified individuals from industry, education and research institutions. (Appendix 4) These individuals are an extremely diverse and talented group and provide the NSTC with an invaluable resource pool for use in developing successful science and technology policies.
America's welfare hinges as never before on the way we manage the opportunities and the hazards of new concepts in science and technology. We are in the middle of a science and technology revolution. But America's federal science and technology enterprise has changed to match the needs of a dynamic economy.
Through the NSTC we have reorganized the federal science and technology enterprise without the creation of a large, new bureaucracy. We have produced a research and development budget that, within the spending limits established by the new covenant with America, ensures a better world for our children and their children. We have integrated federal science and technology programs with efforts in the private sector and internationally in order to maintain a strong, vibrant, sustainable economy.
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