Policy Forum-- Issues in Information Technology Policy

a workshop delivered at CRA's Conference at Snowbird 2000
July 10, 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm

This session will feature briefings on the major issues in information technology policy (primarily at the federal level), advice on how the computing research community can get involved, and time for participants to discuss the issues and raise additional ones.  Topics will include federal support for information technology research, workforce policy, and intellectual property.

Daniel Reed (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; Chair, CRA Government Affairs Committee) [summary] [slides]
Eugene Spafford (Purdue University; Chair, ACM U.S. Public Policy Committee) [slides]
Lisa Thompson (Director of Government Affairs, CRA) [summary]

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Summary of Daniel Reed's remarks:

Advocacy by members of the community is critical to raising Congressional awareness of IT funding needs and research accomplishments.  Members of Congress DO respond to visits, calls, and letters from their constituents.  Hence, it is critical that the community participate actively in helping shape national policy for IT issues.   CRA is actively involved in sharing information with members of Congress and relevant agencies, including testimony to the relevant committees.  We need you to be active and get involved!  Visit the CRA web site and check out the government affairs pages.

Summary of Lisa Thompson's remarks:

CRA's Government Affairs program has been following several issues in Congress this year of interest to the computing research community, including:

1. NSF Appropriations: The House has passed an appropriations bill that includes a 3.4 percent budget increase for the NSF, just a fraction of the requested increase of 17 percent. While the amount provided for theComputer and Information Science and Engineering directorate is about 13 percent above current-year funding, it's about $90 million below what CISE has requested. The bill would also eliminate funding for the Terascale Computing Systems program. The Senate will not consider its version of the bill until September. Additional information can be found at: http://www.cra.org/govaffairs/advocacy/cran/alert_060900.html

2. DOD Appropriations: The Defense appropriations conference was completed in July. It includes cuts in DARPA's computing programs -- $59 million from funding requested for FY 2001. (Compared to this year's funding level, however, the final figures reflect an increase of $36 million.)

3. IT Research bill: The House has passed the Networking and Information Technology Research and Development Act (H.R. 2086), sponsored by House Science Committee Chair Rep. James Sensenbrenner, to respond to the recommendations of the PITAC report. The bill would amend the High Performance Computing and Communications Act to reauthorize HPCC programs at the major research agencies and establish a new NITR&D program for long-term fundamental research and terascale computing facilities. A Senate Committee has approved a much different bill, the Next Generation Internet 2000 Act (S. 2046), sponsored by Science, Technology, and Space subcommittee Chair Bill Frist, which would reauthorize networking research programs only. Moreover, the bill incorporates the Federal Research Investment Act (S 296), which would double the overall civilian R&D budget over 10 years, a proposal not widely supported among the sponsors of the NITR&D Act. Additional information can be found at: http://www.cra.org/govaffairs/issues/nitrd.html

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