Friday, 20 May 94 Washington, DC
1. BROWN TO APPROPRIATORS: $14.15B FOR NASA OR ELSE...WE'LL TALK.
Reluctant to draw a sharp line in the political sand--but willing
to suggest it--Rep. George Brown, Chair of the Science Space and
Technology Committee, said in a press conference yesterday that
if the NASA FY '95 appropriation falls below $14.15B, he would
either oppose the Space Station or try and reduce funding for it.
"I won't accept any more cuts in the base program to fund the
Station." He's prepared for some give and take though. The SS&T
Committee's FY '95 NASA authorization cuts funding for the Earth
Observing System and eliminates the Mars Surveyor. "My highest
priority is preserving science, but it can't get all it wants."
2. "OBSOLETE" U.S. COMPUTER IN IRAQ LEADS TO DEBATE OVER EXPORTS.
Evidence of U.S. computers in Iraq's nuclear program prompted a
General Accounting Office (GAO) investigation into the export
controls of "dual-use" products. A summary of the GAO report was
delivered on Wednesday before the Governmental Affairs Committee
to Senator John Glenn (D-OH) who wants to make sure that "Uncle
Sam doesn't become a nuclear Johnny Appleseed." At the same time,
no one wanted Sam to severely limit exports--"sensitive" dual-use
products are a $40B/yr U.S. industry. "Technology control is not
the answer; we have to deal with the cost-benefit calculation of
proliferators," said Robert Einhorn of the State Department. And
in 10 years, he admits, the spread of chemical and biological
weapons will be a far greater threat than nuclear proliferation.
3. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE PROGRAMS CALL FOR "FOCUSED" RESEARCH.
The NSF supports "strategic" research; the Office of Science and
Technology Policy encourages "research that will address national
goals"; and the Energy Department promotes "customer-oriented"
research. Now, the Advanced Research Projects Agency of DOD is
calling for submissions for the new "Focused Research" Technology
Reinvestment Program. Most of ARPA's $150M program is "focused"
on computer technology: the information superhighway, software
development, and high-density data storage. In addition, the DOD
intends to "focus" $587M over the next five years on development
of flat-panel displays. And ARPA plans to call for roughly $350M
more in proposals come August for the second phase of TRP's in
"somewhat more general research areas." But "focused" may be a
misnomer anyway--"earmarked" is more like it. Last year
appropriators earmarked 30% of the $600M in TRP money.
4. ENERGY DEPARTMENT RELEASES CARTOON VERSION OF STRATEGIC PLAN.
Apparently in the spirit of Total Quality Management, the new DOE
Strategic Plan brochure comes with a motivational poster. DOE
management is drawn as a group of small lively smudges piloting
Spaceship Quality down a colorful twisting highway. Banners on
the road proclaim "Empowerment," "Customer-Oriented," and "Make
It Happen." 3-D glasses and Scratch n' Sniff card not included.