Friday, 22 April 1988
THE LONG-AWAITED OTA STAR WARS REPORT IS "ON HOLD" AGAIN!
The announcement in What's New two weeks ago that the Office of
Technology Assessment report, "SDI: Technology, Survivability and
Software," had been cleared was true -- but it didn't last. The
Strategic Defense Organization now contends that the last three
chapters have been reclassified in total after reconsideration by
a new member of the staff. After six months of negotiations and
rewriting to satisfy the censors, this comes as a shock. The
delaying tactics could continue until after the appropriations
debate, but congressional staffers familiar with the report point
out that key congressmen have been thoroughly briefed and predict
that the delay will not have a major impact on the debate. OTA
could presumably choose to go ahead and release the first nine
chapters -- before they get reconsidered.
. THE COALITION FOR NATIONAL SCIENCE FUNDING,
whose 50 members include scientific, engineering and professional
higher education associations, has begun distributing a slick,
colorful brochure to key members of Congress urging support for
the National Science Foundation at the level of the budget
request. The American Physical Society was among the first to
join the recently-formed coalition, which is seeking additional
members. There are no dues, beyond the expectation that member
organizations will purchase and distribute brochures. Meanwhile,
the NSF authorization for FY 89 looks healthy, except for the
Science and Technology Centers, which have been pronounced dead.
3. YOU MAY NEED A URINALYSIS TO GET AN NSF GRANT,
the way things
are going. Rep. Robert Walker (R-PA) introduced an amendment to
the NSF Authorization Act requiring institutions receiving NSF
grants to certify that they are drug-free. Oral Roberts
University might be the only school to qualify. The amendment is
given little chance of passage, but last year Mr. Walker managed
to slip an amendment into the NSF Authorization Bill, late in the
day when everyone was tired, to require the NSF Director to
submit a report to Congress detailing Soviet efforts "to
penetrate and compromise the science research programs of the
US." That amendment was deleted in conference with the Senate.
4. PROSPECTS FOR THE SUPER COLLIDER ARE GLOOMY.
generally understood when the SSC was proposed that it would be
funded with new money. However, without new revenues and
constrained by the deficit reduction agreement, there is no new
money. At hearings last week before the Senate Subcommittee on
Energy Research and Development, Chairman Wendell Ford (D-KY)
charged that funding for the SSC in the FY 89 request comes at
the expense of research in energy conservation, fossil energy,
and solar energy/renewable energy, as well as a slow-down of
CEBAF and RHIC. Ford grumbled that: "Maybe the game is just to
propose the project and blame Congress for failing to fund it."