FY 2013 Appropriations Committee Reports: National Institute of Standards and Technology

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Publication date: 
11 May 2012

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

Senate report:

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.”

House report:

“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

Senate report:

“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.”

House report:

“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.