US science policy

Una Smith smith-una at
Thu Jul 1 11:23:59 EST 1993

CRA Electronic News Bulletin--June 28, 1993
Juan Antonio Osuna


The House Science, Space and Technology Subcommittee on Science held
the second of two hearings June 15 on the mission of the National Science

Subcommittee chair Rick Boucher (D-VA) asked NSF officials for guidance
in drafting legislation to reauthorize NSF. The agency's five-year
authorization expires this year. NSF's Acting Director Frederick Bernthal and
National Science Board Chair James Duderstadt reaffirmed that NSF should
continue to focus on basic research and not substantially alter its mission.

The administration wants NSF to broaden its mission to include more
applied research. NSF officials claim basic research is an essential component
for achieving these goals and one that NSF has a special role in nurturing.

In a white paper titled "In Support of Basic Research," submitted for the
record, the National Science Board states:

>Basic research is not intended--nor should it be expected--to
>advance short-term goals. Rather, it is an investment that, like
>education, takes time to mature but has tremendous practical
>payoffs in the long run. Assuring the knowledge base appropriate
>for economic growth, long-term job creation and social well-being
>requires a conscious commitment to strong and consistent long-term
>support for basic research and education. Providing requisite
>support for this process is a matter of strategic national importance.

In another discussion, Rep. Ann Eshoo (D-CA) raised the issue of the
disproportionate ratio of males to females on the National Science
Board. "Why is there only one woman on the National Science Board?" she
bluntly asked Duderstadt. 

Eshoo said she planned to send the President a letter on the
under-representation of women. Later this year, Clinton is expected
to appoint nine new members to the 22-member board.

"We are acutely sensitive of the under- representation of women
and minorities," Duderstadt remarked.


The House Subcommittee on Science reported legislation HR 1757, the
"National Information Infrastructure Act of 1993," to the full committee
during a Thursday markup.

Introduced by subcommittee chair Rick Boucher, HR 1757 expands the
High-Performance Computing and Communications Act of 1991 to bring
libraries, local governments, schools and health care providers onto national
computer networks. Formerly known as the "High-Performance Computing
and Networking Applications Act of 1993," the bill calls for computing
research and demonstration projects related to applications such as digital
libraries, education and health care.

The marked-up bill contains several significant changes, particularly with
respect to NREN.

Before the markup, representatives from the regional telephone companies
and the research and education community (including CRA) deliberated for
weeks over wording limiting use of the federally funded portion of the
Internet. The telephone companies are concerned that federal support
of networking impedes their entry into the business. Education and
research groups argue that government support creates new technologies
and uses, enhancing future markets.

Compromise language hammered out and agreed to by the two groups was
accepted by the subcommittee. Unresolved is whether similar compromise
language can be put in the Senate version of the bill, S4, which still has the
older, harsher restrictions originally proposed and supported by the regional
telephone companies.

(CRA-member departments and labs can obtain a SINGLE hard copy of the
revised bill by sending a request to josuna at


President Clinton approved and signed into law June 8 a bill to make more
federal information available electronically.

The Government Printing Office Electronic Information Access
Enhancement Act of 1993 (Pub. L. No. 103-40) ensures the public
electronic access to:

*       the Federal Register,
*       the Congressional Record,
*       other publications distributed by the superintendent of documents,
*       a directory of government electronic information, and
*       information that other federal agencies specifically request to be
        made electronically available.

Although GPO would grant federal depository libraries free access to these
resources, it would charge the public enough to recuperate costs.

The new GPO law is based on two identical bills introduced by Rep. Charlie
Rose (D-NC) and Sen. Wendell Ford (D-KY) on March 11.


Dr. Arati Prabhakar has been confirmed as the director of the National
Institute of Standards and Technology. The first woman to hold the post,
Prabhakar previously served at the Defense Advanced Research Projects
Agency and spent a year at the congressional Office of Technology
Assessment under an OTA fellowship.


Dr. Anita Jones, chair of the University of Virginia Computer Science 
Department, has been confirmed as director of DoD's Defense Research
and Engineering.

Jones was a founder and vice president of Tartan Laboratories and
currently serves on the Defense Science Board.


The Blue Ribbon Advisory Panel postponed from June 17 to August 11 the
date for releasing its report on high-performance computing to the National
Science Board. During the spring, the panel met several times to discuss
trends in supercomputer technology and the future of the national
supercomputer centers.


The congressional Office of Technology Assessment released a background
paper June 23, titled "Advanced Network Technology," which provides an
overview of network technology trends and of federal programs that
support research in high-speed networks.

Copies can be obtained by sending $5 to:

U.S. Government Printing Office
P.O. Box 37194
Pittsburgh PA 15250-7954

Request GPO stock number 052-003-01326-6


CRA soon will release an updated summary of bills relevant to computing
researchers. Anyone interested in receiving an electronic copy should E-mail
a request to josuna at


      Una Smith      Department of Biology       smith-una at
                     Yale University
                     New Haven, CT  06511

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