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Letter to Congressional Leaders on Science and Technology Policy

January 15, 1993

Dear Mr. Speaker: (Dear Mr. President:)

My Administration has accelerated our national investment in America's future through increased support for science and technology. Had the Congress fully enacted my FY 1993 budget, investments in applied civilian R&D would have increased by 49 percent over the past 4 years. My Administration also has revitalized the Federal Government's ability to deal with science and technology. These actions included establishing the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology to insure high-level input from the private sector and restructuring the Federal Coordinating Council for Science, Engineering, and Technology to facilitate crosscutting multiagency R&D programs. Among these programs intended to harness science and technology to meet 21st century needs are Presidential initiatives on biotechnology, advanced materials, information technologies, and manufacturing.

To strengthen the educational foundations for growth, I convened the 1989 Education Summit and in 1991 transmitted to the Congress the AMERICA 2000 Excellence in Education Act to facilitate the educational reform needed to reach the National Education Goals set forth by the Summit. As part of this reform, my Administration has developed a strategic plan for education in mathematics, science, engineering, and technology that involves the coordinated efforts of 16 Federal agencies.

A particular strength of America's science and technology effort in my Administration has been its international leadership. The superiority of U.S. science and technology was manifested in the weapons systems that performed so admirably in Desert Storm, allowing us to win the war with minimal loss of life. As we restructure our military systems to face the greatly altered national security threats of the future, we must maintain an active and inventive program of defense R&D. Through our Global Change research program and a vigorous program of domestic initiatives, ranging from the revised Clean Air Act to my decision to accelerate the phaseout of the chemicals that degrade the Earth's ozone layer, we also have been an international leader in confronting the problems of the global environment. Under my Administration, the United States has provided more support for research on Global Change than all other countries put together -- research that is providing a scientific basis for environmentally and economically sound stewardship of the Earth. Finally, my Administration has extended the hand of cooperation in science and technology to many nations, forging new bilateral and multilateral agreements and seeking a truly international basis for proceeding with increasingly large and complex megaprojects in science that have the potential to produce fundamental knowledge of benefit to all humanity.

Despite the strength and overall health of our American science and technology enterprise, I must call the attention of the Congress to a number of areas of concern for the future. My Council of Advisors on Science and Technology has recently reported on signs of stress in our universities. Our precollege educational system still has far to go to meet our National Education Goals and to adequately prepare our work force and our citizens for the 21st century. Private sector investment in R&D is stagnating even as the competitive pressures of a global economy accelerate. In addition, the relationships between the critical elements of our science and technology enterprise -- universities, private industry, and the Federal Government -- are changing rapidly, even as the nature of science and technology itself is changing.

These considerations suggest that it is time to rethink our national policies for science and technology: to reexamine the role and the rationale for Federal support, to reconsider the structure of the Nation's R&D capacity, and to revitalize the mechanisms and educational institutions that support that capacity. These ideas as well as a review of selected science and technology policy initiatives in my Administration are described in the Biennial Report of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, which accompanies this Report.


George Bush

Note: Identical letters were sent to Thomas S. Foley, Speaker of the House of Representatives, and Dan Quayle, President of the Senate.

George Bush, Letter to Congressional Leaders on Science and Technology Policy Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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