The House has passed its version of the FY 2013 Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations Bill that provides funding for the National Institute of Standards and Technology. The Senate Appropriations Committee has approved its version of this measure.
The House and Senate reports contain the below funding and policy recommendations. Language within each report stands, unless there is a conflict that will be resolved in the final conference report. This final conference report, likely to be written in late fall, will also resolve differences in recommended funding levels. Percentage changes shown below are calculated compared to the current year.
National Institute of Standards and Technology:
FY 2012 appropriation is $750.8 million FY 2013 Administration request is $857.0 million FY 2013 Senate recommendation is $826.0 million, an increase of $75.2 million or 10.0 percent FY 2013 House recommendation is $830.2 million, an increase of $79.4 million or 10.6 percent
Scientific and Technical Research and Services:
FY 2012 appropriation is $567.0 million FY 2013 Administration request is $648.0 million FY 2013 Senate recommendation is $623.0 million, an increase of $56.0 million or 9.9 percent FY 2013 House recommendation is $621.2 million, an increase of $54.2 million or 9.6 percent
“Cybersecurity. -- The Committee supports the administration’s strong request for cybersecurity activities within NIST, which includes: $10,000,000 for the National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence; $26,000,000 for the Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative; and $24,000,000 for the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace. In addition, the Committee directs NIST to maintain funding for the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education at $4,000,000.
“The Committee encourages DOC [Department of Commerce] to fund multidisciplinary programs of study and research that focus on tackling cybersecurity issues on a global scale. When establishing criteria for external grant funding, consideration should only be given to institutions of higher education, including community colleges, designated by the National Security Agency as Centers of Academic Excellence for Information Assurance Education and Centers for Academic Excellence for Information Assurance Research.
“Centers of Excellence. -- The Committee supports the administration’s proposal to create Centers of Excellence that will produce collaborations between NIST, academic, and industry specialists on research focused on innovations in measurement science and new technology developments. Similar collaborations have already yielded significant benefits in areas of nanomaterials, healthcare, batteries and electrochemical energy conversion, and advanced photovoltaic devices. As part of the agency’s 2013 spending plan, NIST is directed to provide an updated framework for creating an appropriate number of new centers of excellence from within the funds provided.
“Greenhouse Gas Measurements. -- The Committee maintains support for NIST’s greenhouse gas measurements programs and is aware of the need to develop prototype greenhouse gas observation networks for measuring carbon dioxide and methane in the atmosphere at local scales. In order to increase confidence in greenhouse gas emissions inventories and to improve current measurement and standards infrastructure, NIST is directed to leverage existing assets and services from the private sector that maintain high quality atmospheric weather monitoring systems.
“Facility Security. -- The Committee continues to provide funding for NIST to maintain security operations for its laboratories and facilities. The Federal Protective Services [FPS] has previously proposed to take over NIST’s security operations, yet the Committee has not received a plan from the administration that would detail the transfer of security funding and responsibility from NIST to FPS. Therefore, the Committee does not grant such a transfer during fiscal year 2013.”
“The recommendation provides funding above the current year for metrology infrastructure and standards to support biomanufacturing, standards to support nanomanufacturing, the Materials Genome Initiative, measurement science and standards to support smart manufacturing, the NIST Manufacturing Fellowship Program, secure and interoperable communications, and disaster resilience and natural hazards risk reduction. The Committee encourages NIST, as Federal coordinator for the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education, to explore establishing a training program at NIST dedicated to cybersecurity education for veterans. The Committee encourages NIST to continue to explore the research field of graphene ribbon and carbon-based nanomanufacturing.
“Centers of Excellence. -- The recommendation includes $20,000,000 as requested to establish four Centers of Excellence which are designed to focus on innovations in measurement science and emerging technology areas, including advanced communications, advanced manufacturing, biomanufacturing, cyberphysical systems, or quantitative biology. NIST shall use its existing organizational structure to implement this program and not develop another program office.
“National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC). -- The recommendation does not include funding for NSTIC. The Committee understands that fiscal year 2012 funding for pilots will not be obligated until the end of fiscal year 2012. NIST shall report to the Committee no later than 120 days after enactment of this Act listing the pilots funded and then, subsequently, regarding the results of these pilots. These reports shall also detail the activities and accomplishments of the National Program Office and Steering Group. NIST may support the work of the National Program Office in fiscal year 2013 with remaining balances of fiscal year 2012 appropriations. The report mentioned above shall include a spending plan for any such proposed use of fiscal year 2012 balances.”
Industrial Technology Services:
FY 2012 appropriation is $128.4 million FY 2013 Administration request is $149.0 million FY 2013 Senate recommendation is $143.0 million, an increase of $14.6 million or 11.4 percent FY 2013 House recommendation is $149.0 million, an increase of $20.6 million or 16.0 percent
“The Committee’s recommendation provides $143,000,000 for Industrial Technology Services. The recommendation is $14,557,000 above the fiscal year 2012 enacted level and $6,000,000 below the budget request. Supporting the Nation’s manufacturers, especially small businesses, is critical to keeping America innovative in a global marketplace. The Committee’s recommendation provides $128,500,000 for the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership Program and $14,500,000 for the Advanced Manufacturing Consortia.”
“This amount includes $128,000,000 for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) program, which is $443,000 below fiscal year 2012 and the same as the request.
“Manufacturing Extension Partnership program (MEP). -- The MEP consists of 60 centers around the country that work with small- and medium-sized manufacturers to deliver technical assistance to improve their manufacturing processes. The Committee expects the MEP program to reduce overhead costs, which represent 13 percent of the total program budget in fiscal year 2012, and use this funding to provide direct assistance to additional manufacturers. The GAO shall evaluate the extent to which the MEP program achieves administrative efficiencies and provide a report to the Committee by February 5, 2013.
“The Committee is disappointed that the Secretary has not submitted the report requested in the statement accompanying Public Law 112–55 regarding the MEP program and directs the Secretary to submit this report no later than May 1, 2012.
“National Innovation Marketplace (NIM). -- Within the amount provided for the MEP program for fiscal year 2013, not less than $2,500,000 is for the NIM, a web-based tool being developed by NIST to help companies, communities, colleges and universities, inventors, and entrepreneurs accelerate supply chain connections and facilitate partnerships. The Committee commends the Department’s efforts to increase participation in the NIM, but notes that significant work remains to ensure that potential participants are aware of and able to access this helpful resource. The Committee directs the Department to provide, no later than 60 days after enactment of this Act, a specific and detailed plan for publicizing and promoting the NIM, with an aim toward greatly increasing participation throughout the country and across the Nation’s economy. The Committee directs the Department to include in this plan specific timetables paired with specific numerical goals for each category of NIM participant.
“Advanced Manufacturing Technology Consortia. -- The Committee recommendation includes $21,000,000, the full amount requested, to establish industry-led Advanced Manufacturing Technology Consortia to identify and prioritize research projects supporting long term industrial research needs. NIST shall provide a report and overall assessment to the Committee by February 5, 2013, that includes actual and planned obligation and expenditure data for each activity funded as well as a description of the activities, accomplishments, research areas identified, and long-term goals and milestones of the Advanced Manufacturing Technology Consortia program. The Committee expects NIST to allocate no more than $1,000,000 under this program for administrative costs and to ensure that competitive research awards under this program benefit all industry members and are based on open access to intellectual property.”
The reports also contain language on Construction of Research Facilities.