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President’s Office of Science and Technology Policy

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  1. President’s Office of Science and Technology Policy Deborah D. Stine Specialist in Science and Technology Policy December 3, 2008

  2. Science and Technology (S&T) and Presidential Decision-making Decisions that involve: • Multiple Agencies • Budgetary, Economic, National Security, and Foreign Policy Dimensions • Issues with High Public Visibility • Ethical Issues, such as Stem Cell Research

  3. History of S&T Advice and Presidential Decision-making • Throughout U.S. History: Federal scientists and engineers or informal personal contacts. • 1941: President F. D. Roosevelt created the Office of Scientific Research & Development. • 1957: President Eisenhower created the Office of Special Assistant to the President for S&T. • 1962: President Kennedy created the Office of Science and Technology (OST). • 1973: President Nixon abolished the OST. • 1976: Congress established the OSTP. • 1989: President G.H.W. Bush appointed first Assistant to the President for S&T.

  4. National Science and Technology Policy, Organization, & Priorities Act • Established the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and its Director in the Executive Office of the President (EOP) in 1976. • OSTP is to “serve as a source of scientific analysis and judgment for the President.” • OSTP Director is to provide EOP with “advice on the scientific, engineering, and technological aspects of issues.”

  5. Overview of OSTP • Serves as a two-way communication conduit between the EOP and the federal and non-federal S&T community. • Director and up to four Associate Directors. • Number and issue focus of Associate Directors vary among Administrations. • FY2008 budget: $5 million • Fall 2008 staffing: 65 • 12 political staff • 19 non-political staff • 34 detailees and fellows

  6. Office of Science & Technology Policy (OSTP) Organization PRESIDENT President’s Council of Advisors on Science & Technology (PCAST) National Science & Technology Council (NSTC) OSTP Director Associate Director and Deputy Director for Science Associate Director and Deputy Director for Technology Chief of Staff& General Counsel Senior Director Homeland & National Security Senior DirectorScience Senior DirectorTechnology Assistant DirectorLife Sciences Assistant DirectorEnvironment Assistant DirectorSpace & Aeronautics Assistant DirectorTelecom & Information Tech Assistant DirectorNational Security Assistant DirectorHomeland Security Assistant DirectorTechnology R&D Assistant DirectorNational Security Emergency Preparedness Assistant DirectorPhysical Sciences & Engineering Assistant DirectorEducation & Social Science ADMINISTRATIVESTAFF FUNCTIONALSTAFF Administration Budget Office SupportComputing Security Legal affairs Legislative affairs Budget analysis Communications Source: OSTP.

  7. OSTP Funding, FY1977-FY2008 Source: Congressional Research Service based on Appropriation Acts and Committee Reports.

  8. OSTP Staffing Level, FY1977-FY2008 Source: Congressional Research Service based on OMB data.

  9. OSTP Political and Non-political Staff, Detailees, and Fellows, FY1998-FY2008 Source: Congressional Research Service based on data provided by OSTP.

  10. National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) • Predecessors: Federal Council for Science and Technology; Federal Coordinating Council for Science, Engineering, and Technology. • Established by Executive Order 12881 (1993). • Chaired by President; Managed by OSTP Director. • Coordinates federal government S&T policy. • Reviews S&T policy and programs for consistency with President’s goals. • Provides S&T information and knowledge during the development and implementation of federal policies and programs. • Promotes international S&T cooperation.

  11. National Science and Technology Council Committees Source: National Science and Technology Council.

  12. President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) • Predecessors: Science Advisory Board; Science Advisory Committee; President’s Science Advisory Committee; President’s Council on Science and Technology; White House Science Council; President’s Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology. • Established by Executive Order 13226 (2001). • Mechanism for the President “to receive advice from the private sector and academic community on technology, scientific research priorities, and math and science education.” • Co-Chaired by OSTP Director and non-governmental PCAST member.

  13. Issues for Congress • Title, Rank, Roles, and Responsibilities of OSTP Director. • Number and Issue Focus of OSTP Associate Directors. • Sufficiency of OSTP Budget and Staffing. • OSTP and NSTC Participation in Federal Agency Coordination, Priority-setting, and Budget Allocation. • OSTP Role in the Communication of Scientific and Technical Information by Federal Agency Scientists and Engineers. • Stature and Influence of PCAST.

  14. Some Options for Congressional Action • Continue President’s Autonomy Over OSTP • Reevaluate Need for OSTP in the EOP • Continue Current OSTP Legislative Guidance Mechanisms • Increase Intensity of OSTP Oversight Mechanisms

  15. Final Thought • When Congress evaluates the various policy options, a factor to consider is that the OSTP Director's influence in the EOP may depend more on the relationship between whomever is appointed to that position and the President than legislative action.

  16. For More Information Deborah D. Stine Specialist in Science & Technology Policy dstine@crs.loc.gov CRS Report RL34736 - The President’s Office of Science and Technology Policy: Issues for Congress CRS: Assisting the Congress with its deliberations and legislative decisions