Take a sneak peek at the new NIST.gov and let us know what you think!
(Please note: some content may not be complete on the beta site.).
FY 2006 Technology Administration Budget Highlights
The mission of the Technology Administration (TA) is to maximize technology’s contribution to America’s economic growth. In addition, the agency seeks to encourage the development of the technological infrastructure required to support U.S. industry through the 21st century; to foster the development, diffusion, and adoption of new technologies; and to create a business environment conducive to innovation.
The Technology Administration accomplishes its mission through the Under Secretary of Commerce for Technology and two major components, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the National Technical Information Service (NTIS):
The Under Secretary of Commerce for Technology serves as one of the principal officials responsible for the Administration’s technology policy, developing and promoting national policies and initiatives that use technology to build America's economic strength. The statutory role of the Under Secretary is to serve in a leadership capacity for the Technology Administration, including the supervision of NIST and NTIS.
The Under Secretary serves as an interagency leader on key Administration technology initiatives, leads the President’s National Science and Technology Council’s Committee on Technology, promotes Administration policies for innovation and industrial competitiveness, and provides leadership within the Department as chair of the Commerce Coordinating Council for Technology. The Under Secretary coordinates the civilian science and technology efforts of federal agencies and helps to shape federal civilian R&D priorities considering input from industry. The Under Secretary serves in a leadership role in a number of programs, such as the White House Digital Freedom Initiative and Advanced Manufacturing R&D initiative, as well as the Interagency Working Group on Advanced Technologies for Education. In fulfilling the policy role of the Technology Administration, the Under Secretary works in partnership with the private sector to develop and promote national policies and initiatives to build America's economic strength.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) strengthens the infrastructure—the technical support system—for American innovation, trade, safety and security, contributing to improved quality of life and job creation. NIST is explicitly charged by statute to reach out to industry and does so in a number of critical national science and technology priorities. NIST’s measurements and standards work addresses a significant portion of the nation’s modern technology-based economy—from the automotive to the biotechnology sector, from basic materials and manufacturing to information technology, and from companies with a handful of employees to the largest multi-national firms. Its Baldrige National Quality Program helps U.S. business and other organizations improve the performance and quality of their operations by providing clear standards and benchmarks of quality. The Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership Program helps smaller businesses adopt new manufacturing and management technologies. The Advanced Technology Program seeks to stimulate the development of high-risk, broad-impact technologies by U.S. firms. NIST also works closely with national measurement institutes worldwide, numerous international standards organizations, and the Department’s International Trade Administration to facilitate trade. These activities have a direct impact on U.S. companies seeking to compete in the global marketplace.
The National Technical Information Service (NTIS) operates a central clearinghouse of scientific and technical information that is useful to U.S. business and industry. NTIS collects scientific and technical information; catalogs, abstracts, indexes, and permanently archives the information, disseminating products in the forms and formats most useful to its customers; develops electronic and other new media to disseminate information; and provides information processing services to other federal agencies. NTIS promotes economic growth by collecting, organizing, and disseminating scientific, technical, engineering, and related business information produced by or for federal agencies and providing sophisticated services to other federal agencies that help them interact with and better serve the information needs of their own constituents.
FY 2006 Budget Summary for TA
Office of the Under Secretary
National Institute of Standards and Technology
National Technical Information Service
Office of the Under Secretary
President Bush requests $4.2 million for the Office of the Under Secretary for Technology. The Administration proposes the streamlining of the administrative and policy operations of the Technology Administration’s Office of the Under Secretary. Through a more streamlined policy operation, the Under Secretary will focus on providing policy guidance to the Secretary of Commerce and leading key Administration technology initiatives. The Under Secretary will continue to promote the development of national policies that maximize technology’s contribution to economic growth, job creation, and homeland security both inside and outside the federal government.
The Under Secretary serves as the interagency leader on efforts such as the President’s National Science and Technology Council’s Committee on Technology, the Intergovernmental RFID Council, the White House Digital Freedom Initiative, the Advanced Manufacturing R&D initiative, the Interagency Working Group on Advanced Technologies for Education, and the Commerce Coordinating Council for Technology. The Under Secretary will continue to oversee the management of the National Medal of Technology Program, the highest honor awarded by the President for technological innovation, and the Commerce Science and Technology Fellowship Program which places senior civil servants throughout the federal Government to develop a broader understanding of Federal R&D activities.
The Under Secretary, in overseeing the Technology Administration's operating units, its efforts to support and improve the American innovation system through its leadership of interagency working groups, community outreach events, and workshops, helps to identify barriers to and best practices of America's innovation system. TA will continue in its analysis and policy development roles in diverse, contemporary areas such as biotechnology, nanotechnology, advanced educational technologies, global outsourcing, IT workforce education and training, technology transfer, telehealth, electronics recycling, hydrogen fuel cells, and Internet privacy and security. In addition, the Department will propose legislation that will promote greater synergies in today’s converged marketplace.
“Innovation will be the single most important factor in determining America’s success through the 21st century,” according to a report recently issued by the Council on Competitiveness. Historically a force for innovation, NIST provides the nation’s scientists, engineers, and production workers with the tools and resources they need to maintain America’s position as the world’s most innovative society. The FY 2006 budget proposal calls for NIST to strengthen the infrastructure for American innovation, trade, safety and security—leading to better jobs and quality of life.
The NIST budget request for FY 2006 reflects the President’s priorities. The proposed budget covers strategic investments in Institute capabilities and still helps meet the President’s overall budget goals by saving more than $163 million compared with FY 2005 appropriations. This is done by shifting resources from lower priority programs. The President’s request for $532 million for NIST is divided into three appropriations in the federal budget:
$426.3 million—Scientific and Technical Research and Services (STRS), including $420.6 million for NIST’s laboratory research and $5.7 million for the Baldrige National Quality Program. This proposal stands firmly in a tradition of directing the Institute’s resources to address the pressing national priorities for innovation that can best be served by the Institute’s unique cross-disciplinary expertise in science and technology. In particular, NIST proposes three major research initiatives:
$58.9 million—Construction of Research Facilities (CRF) includes base resources for safety, maintenance, repair, and facilities upgrades. NIST also proposes two initiatives addressing long-term needs for facility maintenance and improvement.
Advances in Manufacturing (+$19.6 million)
Manufacturing remains a vital and essential component of the nation’s economy—it is one of the primary engines of real wealth generation, contributing some $1.5 trillion to our nation’s output and accounting for approximately 17 percent of the gross domestic product. Manufacturing is also a source of good jobs demanding a high level of skill and providing commensurately high pay—close to 41 percent of our nation’s labor force is involved directly or indirectly in manufacturing.
The growth of the global economy—the rapid exchange of goods and technologies—has placed unprecedented pressures on the nation’s manufacturing sector. Most observers agree that if the United States is to compete successfully, it must be on the basis of sustained, superior innovation in all aspects of manufacturing. We must lead the pack. The manufacturing sector long has appreciated this: manufacturing industries account for nearly 64 percent of all U.S. industrial research and development expenditures. Innovation must go further than new products and processes, however. The United States must innovate in the business of manufacturing, improving efficiencies and continuing the productivity increases that have sustained the manufacturing sector since the Second World War. The four components of this initiative will support world-class innovation in the manufacturing sector in three distinct but interrelated fields.
Measurements and standards are increasingly understood to be an important component of homeland security, whether in helping to mitigate the effects of disasters, both natural and man-made, or in helping to ensure the reliability of the new high-tech tools being brought to bear in the war on terrorism. As the nation’s lead agency for measurements and standards, NIST’s proposed research initiative on measurements and standards for homeland security concentrates on two areas of particular importance. NIST will continue to coordinate this work closely with the Department of Homeland Security and other agencies.
One of the most serious challenges NIST faces in its mission to provide the measurement infrastructure needed by the nation’s scientific and industrial communities is the requirement for the relatively small Institute to stay not only abreast of but, in many cases, ahead of rapidly changing developments across the broad range of science and technology. That requires insight, foresight, and agility. This initiative specifically addresses measurement capabilities in the following key areas:
Facilities Improvement Plan (+$32 million)
NIST is engaged in a long-range facility modernization program to make badly needed repairs and upgrades to its physical plant. NIST maintains about 50 specialized laboratories, offices and support buildings at its two major campuses in Gaithersburg, Md., and Boulder, Colo. Most of the Gaithersburg structures were built in the 1960s and the Boulder site is a decade older. The aging of these facilities has become a serious impediment to the Institute’s mission, hampering not only NIST work on the research frontiers of biotechnology, nanotechnology, and semiconductor technology but even routine activities such as the calibration of precision pressure gauges used to ensure the accuracy of airplane altimeters and other industrial pressure systems.
To meet these needs, NIST developed a long-range Facilities Improvement Plan laid out in a 1998 report to Congress (and updated in 2004). It included both the construction of badly needed new facilities such as the Advanced Chemical Sciences Laboratory and the Advanced Measurement Laboratory, as well as plans for the thorough renovation of existing structures and a maintenance program designed to address long-term maintenance needs and reduce an extensive backlog of needed maintenance work.
This initiative funds the next steps in that long-range plan and includes:
The recently completed NIST Advanced Measurement Laboratory (AML) is one of the world’s most sophisticated measurement and standards laboratory. Specialized AML labs are able to control environmental factors such as vibration, temperature, humidity, and surface and air cleanliness to the demands of NIST’s most advanced research in areas such as semiconductor manufacturing, nanomanufacturing, biotechnology, telecommunications, and advanced materials. In some labs, for example, temperature can be controlled to within one-hundredth of a degree Celsius across the entire room.
Maintaining and operating the AML poses special challenges because of the sophisticated and complex mechanical and electrical systems needed to maintain the rigorous environmental controls. Thorough and uncompromising preventive maintenance is required to keep the AML operating as designed and protect the nation’s investment in this unique laboratory. If the clean room mechanical systems ever slip from their exacting design parameters, for example, it will likely cost over $100,000 to decontaminate the clean room and return it to service. This initiative covers the needed increase to NIST’s research facilities budget to maintain the AML.
NIST PROGRAMS: Scientific and Technical Research and Services
NIST’s mission in support of measurement standards and measurement technology—a mission which embraces everything from validating the testing system used to assure the quality of concrete in new construction to the frontiers of quantum computing and quantum-level encryption—is funded under the Scientific and Technical Research and Services (STRS) account and conducted by the seven NIST Laboratories together with a Technology Services unit. The categories in the STRS portion of the NIST budget track roughly with the NIST organizational structure, but not exactly because much NIST research is multidisciplinary, involving two or more laboratories.
Electronics and Electrical Engineering ($50.8 million)
Predominantly funds the NIST Electronics and Electrical Engineering Laboratory (EEEL). EEEL supports the U.S. electronics and electric power industries, and the electrical equipment industry. The electronics industry alone employed approximately 1.6 million people (as of the end of 2002), and the products of these industries, representing approximately $750 million in U.S. shipments annually, support other major manufacturing and service industries—such as the automotive, aerospace, and health-care industries.
EEEL’s work includes maintaining and improving existing measurement references and standards, developing new measurement technologies and ways to tie needed measurements to fundamental national standards, and pursuing basic research on electronic devices and the processes used to manufacture them. The research concerns of EEEL are a catalog of today’s high-tech electronics, including the fundamental properties of semiconductors and semiconductor devices; new materials and technologies for magnetic data recording; electronics for information technology and communications; electronic measurement instrumentation; fiber optics; optoelectronics; superconducting electronics; radio-frequency electronics; and the new fields of microelectromechanical (MEM) devices and nanoscale electronic devices. The laboratory also provides the fundamental measurement expertise that underlies the nation’s electric power grids, helping to assure the accuracy of electric power and energy metering and the integrity of the system, and the foundation for all electrical measurements by maintaining the national standards for voltage, resistance, capacitance, current, and power.
EEEL also manages the NIST Office of Law Enforcement Standards (OLES), which helps homeland security, law enforcement, corrections, and criminal justice agencies ensure that the equipment they purchase and the technologies they use are safe, dependable, and effective.
Examples of EEEL’s planned work in FY 2006 include the development of new tools and technologies for measuring and controlling the flow of charge through individual molecules (in support of the rapidly developing field of molecular-scale electronics,) and developing new sensors for homeland security applications based on electromagnetic wave technologies ranging from radio waves up through gamma waves, microhotplates (for chemical gas sensing) and nanoengineering magnetic sensors.
Manufacturing Engineering ($28 million)
Predominantly funds the NIST Manufacturing Engineering Laboratory (MEL). MEL is a key element of NIST’s support for manufacturing, helping U.S. industry compete from the “high ground” of advanced manufacturing technologies and capabilities. The lab concentrates on technologies and standards that enable interoperable manufacturing systems, a strategy to make it easier to introduce, upgrade, and maintain state-of-the art technologies for integrated design, manufacturing, and quality control. This work includes researching and developing open-system standards for intelligent manufacturing systems, interface standards, and frameworks for integrating the whole.
Examples of MEL’s planned work in FY 2006 include developing the technology and measurement infrastructure to measure forces down to the unprecedented level of nanoNewtons—giving the U.S. automotive, aerospace, semiconductor, and biotechnology industries badly needed measurement traceability for applications ranging from ultrathin coatings on hard disk drives to scanning instruments for new molecular-scale devices; and establishing an industry-accepted suite of standards for discrete-event simulations—benefiting industries and groups ranging from manufacturing to homeland security first responders that rely on software simulation and visualization tools.
Chemical Science and Technology ($52.4 million)
Predominantly funds the NIST Chemical Science and Technology Laboratory (CSTL). CSTL is recognized as the world’s leading laboratory for chemical measurements and is the nation’s primary reference laboratory for chemical measurements—a purview that includes such critical industries as biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, chemical manufacturing, health and medical products, and energy production. CSTL measurements also support environmental research and monitoring, food and nutrition analysis, criminal forensics, and homeland security (especially for chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, or explosives threat detection). Today, CSTL has the most comprehensive array of chemical, physical, and engineering measurement capabilities of any place in the world.
The lab’s work in chemical measurement technologies ranges from gathering and validating key properties data for thousands of chemical compounds to developing sensitive new technologies for DNA analysis—work that has been used to help identify the remains of victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York. An expanding biotechnology program in CSTL is pursuing measurement research in tissue engineering, genetically modified organisms, and bio-nanoelectromechanical systems, and the lab is contributing to NIST’s expertise in microfluidics and molecular-scale electronics. CSTL maintains the national standards for measuring temperature, pressure, vacuum, leak rate, fluid flow, humidity, liquid density, volume, and air speed. In nanotechnology, CSTL researchers are measuring the chemical behavior of individual atoms and small groups of atoms.
Examples of CSTL’s planned work in FY 2006 include developing methods to rapidly measure genetic variation at the DNA level that can be applied to human identity testing or high-throughput pharmaceutical drug discovery, and theoretical and experimental studies of molecular electronic devices.
Physics ($46.7 million)
Predominantly funds the NIST Physics Laboratory (PL). The Physics Lab supports the nation’s measurement needs in optical, electronic, magnetic, and radiation technologies, as well as performing basic research on fundamental physical quantities. Fundamental physical phenomena underlie all but one of the basic standards of measurement—only mass is still defined in terms of a physical object. This is due in large part to NIST research over the years, and today NIST physics research is still pushing back the frontiers of the science. NIST’s two recent Nobel laureates and its MacArthur Fellow are PL researchers, studying quantum-level phenomena of ultra-cold atoms and ions.
PL’s expertise in radiation measurements impacts a broad range of science and industry, including the optical instrumentation industry, medical radiation, manufacturing, the biotechnology industry, and radiation detection and measurement systems used by the Department of Homeland Security. The Physics Laboratory also maintains the nation’s standards for time and frequency measurement, and is developing path-breaking new time and frequency standards, which impact a wide range of industries from financial networks (time-stamping of electronic transactions) to electric power (synchronization of power grids), navigation, and telecommunications.
Examples of PL's planned work in FY 2006 include producing standards for testing and performance of radiation detection equipment to help ensure their reliability and suitability for security applications (helping to protect the American public from terrorist threats at seaports, airports, and other key spots) and further development of methods of "teleportation" of a quantum state, a fundamental requirement in the field of quantum information (contributing to quantum communications systems that, in principle, cannot be intercepted without detection).
Materials Science and Engineering ($33.5 million)
Predominantly funds the NIST Materials Science and Engineering Laboratory (MSEL). Improvements in material properties—better ceramics, alloys, polymers, composites—drive advances in every other field, whether it’s new lightweight materials for the auto industry, improved semiconductor materials for electronics, or new bio-based materials for the emerging “tissue engineering” industry. MSEL is NIST’s technical leader for materials measurement and standards, with expertise in ceramics, polymers, metallurgy, neutron characterization, and materials reliability. The labs products include extensive libraries of materials data and reference materials to speed the development of new materials and the manufacturing processes needed to make them. The laboratory also manages the NIST Center for Neutron Research.
Building and Fire Research ($24.3 million)
Predominantly funds the NIST Building and Fire Research Laboratory (BFRL). Building construction in the United States is a major industry in aggregate—$1,306.8 billion in 2002, employing between 5 and 7 percent of the workforce—but the vast majority of construction firms are small and without the resources to conduct the sort of in-depth research needed to improve building practices. Fire protection and fire-fighting, largely handled by local communities, present a similar picture, and fire is a major problem in the United States, which has one of the worst fire fatality rates of the industrialized nations. In 2002, 3,600 lives were lost in fires, 22,000 more were seriously injured, and direct property loss reached $10 billion. NIST’s BFRL was established to meet the need for a continuing, high-quality research effort to support the construction and fire-safety communities—better buildings that are safer, built faster, at lower cost and higher quality, and that are less costly to operate and have less impact on the environment.
The lab has a long record of assisting in the investigation and analysis of major construction disasters, its most high-profile investigation being an analysis of factors leading to the collapse of the World Trade Center towers after the 9/11 terrorist attack. In 2002, recognizing the lab’s expertise, the National Construction Safety Team Act authorized NIST to form a team to investigate building failures where there has been a substantial loss of life or where there is the potential for a substantial loss of life and prepare recommendations in a manner similar to National Transportation Safety Board accident investigations.
Examples of BFRL’s planned work in FY 2006 include working with ASTM International to develop software, standard practices and guides, and training workshops for evaluating and choosing cost-effective strategies to mitigate the impacts of natural hazards and terrorism threats on buildings and facilities; and extending the capabilities of NIST’s current Fire Dynamics Simulator to predict the smoke and carbon monoxide produced by an under-ventilated fire, allowing more accurate prediction of the response of structures engulfed in fires and the hazards faced by emergency responders.
Computer Science and Applied Mathematics ($68.4 million)
Predominantly funds the NIST Information Technology Laboratory (ITL). Information technology (IT)—including computers, software, telecommunications products and services, Internet and online services, systems integration, and professional services companies—is one of the nation’s faster-growing industries, estimated at over $800 billion in 2001 and employing more than 9.9 million in 2002. More than that, it is an industry that impacts the lives of virtually every American, every day. ITL works to make this ubiquitous technology more usable, more secure, more scalable, and more interoperable than it is today through tests and test methods that help both developers and users measure, compare, and improve IT systems. The lab is also a focal point for developing and implementing computer security standards and procedures for the federal civilian agencies.
ITL develops test methods, data and standards, and other tools to speed the development and use of IT, from common technologies like wireless and the World Wide Web to new systems for “pervasive” wireless personal networks and next-generation Internet. The lab has an important program to improve the accuracy and interoperability of biometrics recognition systems, develops widely used IT security standards and guidelines, and supports the other NIST laboratories in the use of IT for mathematical modeling, statistical and numerical analysis, and scientific computing and visualization. ITL also participates in the Federal Networking and Information Technology R&D Program with the National Science Foundation, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Institutes of Health, and others. ITL also is responsible for working with the Election Assistance Commission on improved voting standards and systems.
Examples of ITL’s planned work in FY 2006 include support for homeland security and critical infrastructure protection by developing benchmark security standards and tests to help assure security procedures in areas such as cryptography, voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP), smart card security, server and router security, advanced authentication, IT risk management and certification and accreditation are properly implemented; and developing and evaluating technologies for advanced wireless applications, particularly in the fields of health care and emergency response.
Standards and Technology Services ($20.1 million)
Predominantly funds the NIST Technology Services (TS) operating unit. If the research developments of the NIST laboratories are to be useful, they must reach the intended users. This is primarily the work of NIST’s Technology Services. TS manages the more than 500 calibration services offered by NIST as well as the sale of more than 1,300 unique Standard Reference Materials (NIST-certified samples used to check the accuracy of measurement devices) and more than 60 on-line or single-user scientific information systems and reference databases.
In work that is vital to U.S. success in global trade, TS works closely with private-sector standards organizations in the United States and international standards bodies, including the International Organization for Legal Metrology (OIML), to help ensure that U.S. products are treated fairly in global commerce. In all, NIST participates in more than 100 national and international standards-developing organizations and keeps U.S. companies informed about other nations’ standards-related trade actions. TS also coordinates NIST support for the nation’s state and local weights and measures officials through the National Conference on Weights and Measures, ensuring that the produce scales, fuel pumps, taximeters, and other commercial systems measuring out $4.5 trillion of products and services annually are “traceable to NIST.”
Examples of Technology Service’s planned work in FY 2006 include its traditional work with the International Committee on Weights and Measures under the Meter Convention to establish a worldwide system of uniform and accurate measurement standards to support U.S. exports, work with the National Cooperation for Laboratory Accreditation to develop and maintain a U.S. system to recognize competent calibration and testing laboratory accreditation bodies to support U.S. exports, and work with state level weights and measures authorities to ensure uniform and accurate measurements for retail and wholesale trade throughout the United States. TS also will have the leadership role in the Expanding Access to Global Markets though the Measurements and Standards component of NIST’s Advances in Manufacturing initiative.
National Research Facilities ($47.9 million)
The NIST Center for Neutron Research (NCNR), a unique national resource, is the only U.S. research center currently providing the full range of neutron measurement capabilities needed by U.S. science and industry. The National Research Facilities budget funds the operation of the NCNR as well as the National Nanomanufacturing and Nanometrology Facility initiative.
Baldrige National Quality Program ($5.7 million)
The NIST STRS account also funds the Baldrige National Quality Program (BNQP). Created by the Congress in 1987, the BNQP has established a standard for performance excellence that helps U.S. businesses and other organizations continuously improve their competitiveness and productivity through rigorous quality and performance management practices.
Only a relative handful of institutions have won the program’s centerpiece, the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. Since 1988, only 62 Baldrige Awards have been presented to 59 organizations—but the BNQP has had a pervasive influence on U.S. industry, schools, and hospitals through the widespread dissemination of Baldrige “best practices.” Many thousands of organizations use the Baldrige criteria internally to assess and improve their performance, deliver greater value to their customers, and improve overall organizational effectiveness. The BNQP has been copied widely by state governments and other countries.
The Baldrige Award originally had categories for manufacturing, service, and small business. In 1999, the award was expanded to include categories in education and health care. In 2004, the award was expanded to include all non-profit organizations, including federal, state, and local government organizations.
NIST PROGRAMS: Industrial Technology Services
Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership Program ($46.8 million)
Since 1988 the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership Program (HMEP) has fostered a federal-state-local partnership program to give small and medium-sized manufacturers a nationwide network of not-for-profit centers to help them become more competitive and productive. HMEP centers serve manufacturers in all 50 states and Puerto Rico, promoting lean manufacturing techniques such as zero-defect quality programs, and helping even the smallest firms tap into specialists from across the country with manufacturing and business expertise in plant operations and on manufacturing floors.
The FY 2006 request for the HMEP reflects tough but necessary budget decisions that reflect national priorities and budget constraints, resulting in an approximate 50 percent reduction. By emphasizing increased revenue generation at the centers without compromising the mission to serve small manufacturers, the HMEP will maintain a national network of centers, while focusing resources based on centers’ performance and need.
Advanced Technology Program ($0)
Since 1990 the Advanced Technology Program has used cost-shared awards to encourage industry investment in high-risk, innovative technology R&D that promise broad benefits to the nation. Over the course of the program the ATP has made 768 awards. To date more than 200 new technologies developed with ATP support have been commercialized as products, processes, or services, and over 1,500 other potential applications have been identified. The Administration did not request and Congress did not provide funding for new awards in FY 2005. This budget proposes terminating the program in favor of higher-priority needs.