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The Government Role in Civilian Technology: Building a New Alliance
billion per year would be sufficient to significantly affect commercialization efforts in a broad range of high-risk technologies through pre-commercial R&D funding. As noted in Chapter 2, current programs in the mission agencies that focus on pre-commercial R&D are not funded at a level that impacts private sector markets in a significant, measurable way. Funding of $5 billion would enable the CTC to make the necessary investments to affect technology commercialization rates in the United States in a wide range of sectors.
The CTC would be required to submit to Congress and the President a report on its activities after four years and again when the review begins—no later than the tenth year of operation. Depending on the results of the review, funding for the CTC might be augmented. Because it would be an experiment, if an independent review panel found that the corporation failed in its objectives, the corporation would be dissolved. This feature provides another important advantage over housing such an organization within the executive branch structure. Once agencies are created they are rarely dismantled, even when their mission or utility in meeting program objectives has diminished significantly.
Organization and Structure
The CTC would operate outside the existing government agency structure. The corporation, aimed at providing financial support to industry under the guidelines for all three options listed above, would also be insulated (to the extent possible) from overt political direction by either Congress or the executive branch. It would be guided by a board of directors, comprised of private citizens nominated by the President, and subject to confirmation by the Senate. This organizational structure offers several benefits, specifically when measured against the operation and real-time oversight of an executive branch agency. The CTC, by being separate from both the executive branch and Congress, would be closer to a "customer" in industry or to a potential adopter of the resulting R&D and technology results of projects conducted under its sponsorship.
The board would operate in the same manner as any private board of directors. It would choose a chief executive and would approve the selection of CTC projects. The CTC would be staffed by individuals with technical, business, and administrative expertise in civil research and technology development. It would also include a strong economics staff. The board would be called to consult frequently with officials of executive branch agencies, including the director of the Office of Management and Budget, the secretaries of energy and defense, the director of the National Science Foundation, and the director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy. Close consultation with these officials would help a CTC avoid dupli-