what Mr. Stanley thought about that issue and whether, in fact, he views it as an issue that should be considered.
Mr. Stanley responded that there were several ways to address the issue. The National Academies, in a review of ATP published 2 years or so before, recommended that ATP look at the United States’ highest priorities and create opportunities for thematic competitions in sectors that are either important to national security or technologically relevant for the nation’s future. The program’s funding has, however, been held at a reduced level for a number of years, and it remains all but impossible to run focused competitions of this sort in the absence of “a certain baseline of allocation.”
Nonetheless, ATP management has, in observing submittals to its regular competitions, seen proposals that concentrate on particular areas that industry feels to be both important and relevant for the research of the ensuing 8 to 10 years, and ATP has succeeded in fashioning “virtual focused competitions” in those areas. For example, ATP has received a suite of proposals indicating a great deal of interest in optoelectronics. Similarly, new work has been identified in the areas of homeland security and technologies for assisted living and care for the elderly. Around 7 years earlier, ATP had started receiving proposals dealing with how the United States could improve its position in fuel cells, hydrogen, and various other alternative fuels. Thus, industry is using ATP in a variety of ways, and the program’s management can collect this data and show where the program fares in terms of focused competitions.
Dr. Edelheit then asked whether Mr. Stanley believed that, in the event that its funding rose, ATP would try to use at least some of the increase to develop areas of focus that made sense.
Mr. Stanley said that this question was a difficult one for him to answer: He worked for the President of the United States and so had to abide by his budgetary proposal to Congress, which calls for the elimination of ATP in fiscal year 2006 in favor of other national priorities. “In the event that were to change by some congressional disposition of funds, and the amounts were appropriate,” he acknowledged, “then certainly we could consider that. But, at this particular point, I have to wait and see what happens.”
Dr. Myers then directed a question to Dr. Nicholson. He recalled that Dr. Marburger had talked about the strength to be drawn from the diversity of the U.S. system, and he commented that that statement reflects what had been the view of the U.S. government for some time: “that we do not have an industrial