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Press Releases :: July 31, 2008

Committee Looks to Improve Major Federal Information Technology R&D Program

(Washington, DC) – Today, the House Committee on Science and Technology held a hearing to review the federal, interagency research initiative in networking and information technology, the Networking and Information Technology Research and Development (NITRD) Program.  The NITRD Program was established by the High-Performance Computing Act of 1991 (P.L. 102-194).

The NITRD program has developed the computing and networking infrastructure needed to support leading edge research and to drive the technology forward for a range of commercial applications that benefit society broadly.

“Networking and information technology is an essential component of U.S. scientific, industrial, and military competitiveness,” said Chairman Bart Gordon (D-TN).  “The technical advances that led to today’s computing devices and networks, and the software that drive them, evolved from past research sponsored by industry and government, often in partnership, and conducted by industry, universities, and federal labs.”

Recently, the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) made an assessment of the NITRD program.  PCAST raised some questions about whether the NITRD program is allocating its resources efficiently and made a series of recommendations for improvement.

The Committee held the hearing to receive the views of expert witnesses on the findings and recommendations of the PCAST assessment of the NITRD program, as the first step in developing legislation to amend the 1991 Act in ways to make the program more effective.  The witnesses also stressed the importance of fully funding the America COMPETES Act (PL 110-69).

The Science and Technology Committee was instrumental in enacting the original legislation, which authorized a multi-agency research program to accelerate progress in the advancement of computing and networking technologies and to support leading edge computational research in a range of science and engineering fields.  The statute established a set of mechanisms and procedures to provide for the interagency planning, coordination, and budgeting of the research and development activities carried out under the program.

The FY 2009 budget request for the NITRD program is $3.548 billion, an increase of $0.207 billion or approximately 6 percent, over the FY 2008 level of $3.341 billion.

For more information, please visit the Committee’s website.  




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