4
A New Mission for U.S. Technology

The United States has experienced more than two decades of declining economic performance relative to a number of its major trading partners as well as its own historical economic record. Since the mid-1970s, a number of public- and private-sector initiatives have been launched to reverse this decline. To date, however, these responses have been ad hoc and narrow, affecting too small a fraction of the economy and, in the opinion of the committee, not commensurate with the magnitude of the challenge facing the nation. Stronger measures are required. What and how strong these should be is a matter of judgment and cannot be determined without more aggressive experimentation and learning on the part of both public- and private-sector players. The committee is convinced that the long-term costs of inadequate measures are likely to be far greater than the consequences of "overdoing it" for a few years, especially if programs are structured to maximize the amount of organizational learning that takes place in the process.

The committee believes that the most challenging mission of the U.S. technology enterprise now and in the near future is to work with other elements of the national economy to arrest and reverse the recent relative decline of U.S. economic performance and lay the foundation for sustained national economic prosperity into the next millennium. Clearly, the burden of meeting this challenge lies primarily with the private sector. Nevertheless, the committee believes that both state and federal governments can and should contribute significantly to this mission by stimulating more effective development, use, and diffusion of technology throughout the U.S. economy through closer cooperation, coordination, and joint action with each other and with private-sector players.



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4 A New Mission for U.S. Technology The United States has experienced more than two decades of declining economic performance relative to a number of its major trading partners as well as its own historical economic record. Since the mid-1970s, a number of public- and private-sector initiatives have been launched to reverse this decline. To date, however, these responses have been ad hoc and narrow, affecting too small a fraction of the economy and, in the opinion of the committee, not commensurate with the magnitude of the challenge facing the nation. Stronger measures are required. What and how strong these should be is a matter of judgment and cannot be determined without more aggressive experimentation and learning on the part of both public- and private-sector players. The committee is convinced that the long-term costs of inadequate measures are likely to be far greater than the consequences of "overdoing it" for a few years, especially if programs are structured to maximize the amount of organizational learning that takes place in the process. The committee believes that the most challenging mission of the U.S. technology enterprise now and in the near future is to work with other elements of the national economy to arrest and reverse the recent relative decline of U.S. economic performance and lay the foundation for sustained national economic prosperity into the next millennium. Clearly, the burden of meeting this challenge lies primarily with the private sector. Nevertheless, the committee believes that both state and federal governments can and should contribute significantly to this mission by stimulating more effective development, use, and diffusion of technology throughout the U.S. economy through closer cooperation, coordination, and joint action with each other and with private-sector players.

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UNDERLYING TRENDS AND RESULTING CHALLENGES The committee believes that the trends (see Chapters 2 and 3) that have affected the competitive environment for U.S.-based firms in the last two decades will continue well into the next decade. These underlying trends can be summarized as follows: The technical intensity of most manufacturing and service industries will continue to grow at an accelerating pace, and commercial technology will become increasingly science-based and interdisciplinary. National security's claims on, and contributions to, the U.S. technology base will continue to diminish. National defense capability (and technological leadership) will become increasingly dependent on technologies developed and applied first in the commercial sphere. The current revolution in production systems will continue to spread throughout industrialized and industrializing economies, transforming the organization of effective product and service companies and their relationships with customers and suppliers, as well as bringing a new level of attention to the optimal use of human talents in the workplace. International competition will continue to intensify, as world industrial and technological capability becomes increasingly distributed among an expanding population of industrialized nations. Local and regional clusters of industrial activity and the associated human, physical, and social capital (accumulated work force skills and know-how, financial and educational institutions, supporting legal and regulatory structures, supplier and distributor networks, etc.) will continue to play a major role in the competitive economic performance of nations. They continue to provide a countervailing force to rapid internationalization. Internationalization of economic and technological activity will continue to grow, however, deepening the interdependence of national economies, and, to a significant extent, blurring the distinction between the domestic and foreign policies of nations. These powerful trends have revealed and exacerbated major weaknesses in the U.S. technology enterprise, weaknesses that are closely interrelated and severely compromise the nation's ability to develop, acquire, and use technology to defend and advance the welfare of its citizens. The committee identified the most important weaknesses to be the following: Outmoded managerial philosophies, organizational frameworks, and human resource strategies of many U.S. public- and private-sector producers of goods and services. Insufficient investment in, and poor quality of, U.S. work force training and continuing education, particularly at the level of the nonsupervisory work force.

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Inadequate investment by U.S.-based companies in competitive production processes, plant, and equipment. The low civilian R&D intensity of the U.S. economy and the insufficient breadth of the nation's civilian R&D portfolio, including underinvestment in growth- and productivity-enhancing technologies that are high-risk or whose benefits are difficult for individual investors to appropriate—"infrastructural" and "pathbreaking" technologies. 1 In many U.S. companies and federal laboratories, lack of awareness of and interest in technology originating outside their institutional boundaries, beyond national borders, or outside their normal technological scope. Lack of a strong institutional structure for federal technology policy in support of economic development and the segregation of technology policy from domestic and foreign economic policy at the federal level. These challenges demand a combined public- and private-sector response that is more aggressive, coherent, and broadly dispersed across economic sectors than has been the case in the United States in recent decades. If the United States is to reverse its recent relative competitive decline and restore its economic performance to a level commensurate with its geopolitical position, U.S. public- and private-sector participants must move collectively and forcefully to achieve the goals of the national technology strategy set forth below. FOUR GOALS OF A NEW NATIONAL TECHNOLOGY STRATEGY The committee identified four major goals for U.S. government technology policies and private-sector technology strategies. If the United States is to prosper and remain a world economic and technological leader, public- and private-sector participants must work together to achieve the following goals: Foster the timely adoption and effective use of commercially valuable technology throughout the U.S. economy. Increase civilian R&D investment in the U.S. civilian economy and close emerging gaps in the nation's civilian technology portfolio. Access and exploit foreign technology and foreign high-tech markets more effectively to advance the interests of U.S. citizens. Create a strong institutional framework for federal technology policy in support of national economic development, and integrate the planning and implementation of federal technology policy with that of national domestic and foreign economic policy. Effective pursuit of these four goals demands that the nation's policy mechanisms address the intersection of technology policy with domestic

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and international economic issues more directly and build working relationships between government and the private sector. Since private companies and markets are the primary movers in the nation's commercial technology enterprise, public technology policies for economic development should be shaped by market forces and should enlist market mechanisms and the capabilities of the private sector to the greatest extent possible. Given the difficulty of the task and the federal government's relative inexperience in technology policies designed explicitly to foster national economic growth, the U.S. approach to technology policy in this arena should be one of aggressive experimentation and continuous learning. RECOMMENDED POLICY ACTIONS As first steps toward each of these four overriding goals, the committee recommends a limited number of specific, priority policy actions and guidelines. Goal 1: Foster the timely adoption and effective use of commercially valuable technology throughout the U.S. economy. The United States must move swiftly and successfully to (1) improve business practices that drive the development and application of technology, and (2) increase the scope and effectiveness of the nation's investment in worker training and continuing education, particularly for the nonsupervisory work force. These two areas of weakness are reflected in the low rate of investment of U.S. companies in modern production processes and equipment. A revolution in industrial production systems, first cultivated by the Japanese, has been spreading throughout the industrial world since the late 1960s. During the past decade, this revolution and the wave of intense international competition it has helped engender have prompted a small yet growing population of U.S. companies to modernize their managerial and organizational practices as well as their production plant. In an effort to accelerate the widespread adoption of productivity-enhancing technology and organizational practices throughout the U.S. economy, several modest though promising initiatives have been launched at the state, federal, and regional levels. These have included publicly sponsored industrial and technology extension programs at both the state and the federal level, privately organized consortia and industrial networks, public finance companies designed to entrain private capital to help small companies overcome the obstacles to raising capital for technology investments, and many other imaginative and promising programs.2

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Likewise, in an attempt to meet the human resource demands of modern production and innovation systems, U.S. state and federal governments, universities, and companies have all begun to take small steps toward redressing major gaps in U.S. work force training and education. These steps have included the development of manufacturing engineering curricula and research programs at a number of U.S. universities, the development of successful customized training and modernization programs administered by the states, municipal or regional vocational education and apprenticeship programs, and significant investment in new training technologies and methods by the nation's armed forces (Carnevale et al., 1990a,b; U.S. Congress, Office of Technology Assessment, 1990b). In addition, increased national interest in work force training as a result of the recent presidential campaign has provided new momentum to a number of more ambitious training and education proposals, including calls for the introduction of a training levy or training tax credits for U.S. companies and the development of a broad-based national apprenticeship program. Given the apparent success of many relatively small public and private initiatives in technical extension and work force training and education, and the prospect of significantly increased federal action in these areas during the next few years, the committee recommends that the federal government take the following actions to build on existing successful efforts (both publicly and privately sponsored), and to accelerate and focus the nation's response. Policy actions to achieve Goal 1: RECOMMENDATION 1: Catalyze the development of a dense national network of public and private providers of industrial modernization services that is capable of meeting the diverse technical, managerial, training, and related needs of 20–25 percent of the nation's small and medium-sized manufacturing companies by the year 2000. Expand the National Institute of Standards and Technology's Manufacturing Technology Centers program and State Technology Extension Program as a first step toward this objective.3 RECOMMENDATION 2: Support experimentation with a wide range of public and private initiatives at the federal, state, and local levels to increase the quantity and improve the quality of school-to-work transition programs and of job-related training and continuing education for the nation's nonsupervisory work force. Such initiatives could include expanded support for apprenticeship programs, vocational training programs, cooperative work-study programs, training consortia, and training demonstration projects and outreach programs, as well as the development of training certification and standards schemes. The possibility of funding such initiatives with a combination of training levies and training tax credits should be explored.4

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RECOMMENDATION 3: Establish a high-prestige national fellowship program, to be administered by the National Science Foundation, for advanced study of the technical and organizational aspects of manufacturing. Structure the program not only for university graduate students and faculty but also for practitioners from industry.5 The committee believes it is important that federal policymakers recognize what these programs and initiatives should, and should not, be called upon to address. An expanded federal role in industrial modernization should be defined in close collaboration with state governments and private-sector organizations that are, or should be, involved in the process. In particular, federal initiatives such as the MTC program should not seek to replace existing public- and private-sector providers of industrial modernization services, but rather to serve as a "reference librarian" or "broker" for their services, to help them learn from each other, and to stimulate local initiatives to increase the density in coverage of modernization services nationwide. Nor should federal programs in this area focus exclusively on stimulating the diffusion of technological hardware. Indeed, it is far more important that these centers support the widespread adoption of advanced, yet proven, production technology, including both modern production equipment and its essential complements, modern methods of work organization and management.6 In work force training and continuing education, the primary role of the federal government should be to help coordinate, rationalize, and identify gaps in the system, bearing in mind that close cooperation with state governments, private industry, educators, and organized labor will be crucial. Federal initiatives should give particular attention to approaches that combine the teaching of highly specialized (less transferable) job-related skills with curricula that cultivate the basic skills, education, and growth potential of the work force. Moreover, it must be recognized that such supply-oriented initiatives are unlikely to be effective without parallel efforts to expand demand for higher-skilled workers. These efforts include industrial modernization programs, such as the MTC network, that promote reorganization of the workplace to take advantage of enhanced and more broadly applicable skills.7 The manufacturing fellowship program should place as much emphasis on practice as on theory. It should be explicitly designed to break down dysfunctional cultural walls between scientists and engineers engaged in research, invention, and conceptualization and their counterparts engaged in transforming new ideas and broad concepts into products and production systems. The fellowship program should be designed to address all elements of manufacturing systems, including services delivery within these

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systems, and it should recognize explicitly that the production and innovation challenges to goods-producing industries are equally important for service industries. Goal 2: Increase civilian R&D investment in the U.S. economy and close emerging gaps in the nation's civilian technology portfolio. If the United States is to remain a leader in the development and commercial exploitation of new product and process technologies, it must take immediate steps to increase civilian R&D investment in the U.S. economy to a level more comparable with that of its foremost industrial competitors. U.S. companies must be encouraged to expand the scope of their R&D activities in areas downstream from proof-of-concept and to integrate R&D with design, production engineering, production, and distribution more than in the past. In addition, the nation must move to bridge widely acknowledged gaps in that part of the U.S. technology base whose benefits cannot be readily captured by single companies and therefore tend to be viewed as a "public good." The committee applauds many recent efforts (both established and proposed) to stimulate private-sector R&D activity.8 However, the committee is convinced that the United States cannot significantly increase civilian R&D intensity or close critical gaps in the nation's R&D portfolio unless the federal government experiments more aggressively with a wider range of policy options than it has to date and mounts stronger efforts to develop measures of their effectiveness. At the same time, the committee strongly believes that the guiding principle for public policies designed to raise the level or broaden the scope of U.S. industrially relevant research and development activity should be to harness market forces and distributed private-sector intelligence to the greatest extent possible.9 Hence, in the committee's opinion, direct and indirect incentives to private-sector R&D investments are, in most cases, preferable to direct public subsidies of R&D. For these reasons, the committee recommends that the federal government take the following actions. Policy actions to achieve Goal 2: RECOMMENDATION 4: Replace the current incremental Research and Experimentation (R&E) Tax Credit with a permanent tax credit on the total annual R&D expenditures of a company to encourage an increase in the cycles. In addition, extend the R&E tax credit to cover industry-sponsored level and the stability of industrial R&D activity across business R&D in universities and other institutions, and the industrial contribution to R&D performed as part of a consortium that involves government laboratories.10

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RECOMMENDATION 5: Use public procurement, selective tax credits, accelerated depreciation schedules, regulation, and other demand-oriented policy instruments to pull innovation and increased private-sector investments in technologies expected to yield particularly high returns to U.S. society as a whole. These include technologies that produce environmentally benign and energy-efficient products and services and technologies that reduce the cost of health-care delivery.11 RECOMMENDATION 6: Experiment more aggressively with options for direct federal support of the development and diffusion of a broad portfolio of commercially relevant or promising ''infrastructural" and "pathbreaking" technologies. Rely on industry leadership and involvement in project initiation and design, and on significant private-sector cost sharing to ensure commercial relevance. Options include expansion of the Advanced Technology Program and the Small Business Innovation Research program,12 public funding of additional private-sector managed industrial consortia like SEMATECH, creation of an independent federal Civilian Technology Corporation,13 and significant expansion of NIST's measurement, standards, and testing activities.14 The committee believes that these three courses of policy action should form the core of the federal government's response to the nation's civilian R&D challenge. At the same time, the committee also cautions against a number of potential pitfalls that the government should seek to avoid. First, the committee believes that aggressive efforts to raise the volume of national investment in civilian R&D without devoting greater attention to the relative productivity or "quality" of that increased investment would be a costly mistake. For this reason, it is important that the federal government monitor public R&D programs and private R&D practices more closely than it currently does, and adjust its programs as well as the official tax definition of R&D to prevent abuse and wasteful investments. Second, all federal initiatives designed to influence the growth and direction of private-sector R&D investment through indirect demand-shaping policies should allow as much discretion as possible to private firms operating in competitive markets to determine the most effective technological path toward designated societal objectives. Initiatives involving direct federal subsidies should include an explicit "sunset" clause and exit plan for all participants, and should be required to show how U.S. companies that are not participants in the subsidized consortium will be able to gain access (for example, through purchase or license) at a reasonable price to the technology and expertise developed.15 Moreover, to avoid pork barrel politics and the buildup of vested interests, the committee believes it is critical that the federal government develop explicit and objective criteria

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and processes for the selection and evaluation of projects or target technology areas.16 Finally, much can and should be done to enhance the useful supplemental role of many federal laboratories in "infrastructural" research and technological exploration of use to industry and to civilian missions of federal agencies. However, it would be unrealistic to expect a major contribution to more downstream commercial technology development from most of the nation's federal laboratories. With the exception of NIST, these laboratories lack a strong tradition of working closely with private-sector producers of commercial products and services. The recent proliferation of Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs) between federal laboratories and private companies or consortia may help some of the participating federal laboratories develop greater competence in industrially relevant work. To the extent these public-private partnerships do not detract from the core R&D mission of participating federal laboratories, and meet the same criteria for other more direct federal subsidies of precompetitive R&D described above, their creation should be encouraged. However, since it is still too early to judge the overall effectiveness of CRADAs, the committee believes federal funding of mission-oriented laboratories for commercially relevant R&D should be approached with caution and in an experimental mode with periodic review to appraise its economic impact. Goal 3: Access and exploit foreign technology and high-tech markets more effectively to advance the interests of U.S. citizens. Although many U.S. multinational corporations have become more effective at tapping foreign technology and foreign high-technology markets—through transnational corporate alliances, joint ventures, and foreign direct investment—a majority of U.S.-based firms remain insufficiently aware of, and alert to, either the threats of the opportunities presented by foreign technical capabilities. This deficiency in the nation's technology enterprise and economic competitiveness is compounded by a lack of coordination between technology policy and foreign economic policy. While the committee believes that "not-invented-here" attitudes and shortsighted corporate strategies explain a great deal, it also recognizes that there are significant asymmetries of access among the national markets and technology enterprises that often disadvantage U.S.-based firms abroad. These issues can be addressed only through constructive international negotiation. The absence of adequate coordination between U.S. technology and foreign economic policies has so far made it very difficult for the U.S. government to assess the impact of actions in one policy area on outcomes in the other, and it has occasionally resulted in neglect of U.S. technological interests in U.S. trade negotiations.17

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During the past decade, federal agencies such as the National Science Foundation, the Department of Commerce, and the Department of Defense have made numerous attempts to encourage U.S. citizens and companies to exploit more fully the acknowledged capabilities of foreign firms in particular technological areas. Examples include the international fellowship programs and the Japanese Technology Evaluation Program (JTEC) in the National Science Foundation and the Japanese Technical Literature Service and the U.S.-Japan Manufacturing Technology Fellowship program in the Department of Commerce.18 At the same time, recent events and trends in international markets have prompted sporadic efforts at coordination of technology and foreign economic policymaking in the federal government. Intellectual property rights and government R&D subsidies have assumed an increasingly important status in U.S. international trade negotiations, whether as part of the latest round of multilateral negotiations under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (the Uruguay Round) or in the negotiations of the North American Free Trade Agreement. Building on these initiatives, the committee recommends three policy actions to increase U.S. access to foreign technology and markets, improve coordination of U.S. technology and foreign economic policy, and strengthen the U.S. position in future multilateral negotiations concerning technology and trade. All three are consistent with the objectives of an open trading system and current U.S. obligations under international treaties and agreements. Policy actions to achieve Goal 3: RECOMMENDATION 7: Stimulate the expansion and institutionalization of U.S. public- and private-sector capabilities for global technological scanning and benchmarking. Most of these activities should be carried out by industry associations or industrial consortia with some sharing of costs and planning responsibility with federal government agencies. 19 RECOMMENDATION 8: Develop a capacity within the federal government for seeding and stimulating international R&D consortia (private-sector, public-sector, or mixed) in areas of recognized foreign technological strength where gains to U.S. participants are expected to be substantial. This is an important subset of the options for direct federal support of commercially promising "infrastructural" and "pathbreaking" technologies recommended above.20 RECOMMENDATION 9: Improve coordination and cooperation between agencies with lead responsibility for domestic and foreign economic policy and agencies with lead responsibility for science and technology policy by (1) rotating high-quality midlevel staff between these agencies,21 (2) establishing a technology and trade committee of the Federal Coordinating Council for Science, Engineering, and Technology, and (3) making the integration of technology policy with domestic and foreign economic policy an explicit objective of the newly created National Economic Council.22

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In general the committee believes that maintaining the openness of the U.S. market to foreign competitors that abide by existing international agreements on trade and investment provides incentives for U.S.-based firms to seek out foreign technology and markets and to innovate. At the same time, the committee also recognizes that some major differences in national business practices, industrial structure, and public policies are beyond the reach of existing international agreements. Such differences often result in significant asymmetries of access among national markets and national technology enterprises.23 Over the long term the United States must provide leadership in the negotiation, establishment, and administration of more far-reaching multilateral agreements and arbitration mechanisms to reconcile differences in national policies and business practices that distort trade, investment, and technology flows.24 Nevertheless, given the relative openness of U.S. markets and the growing influence of foreign markets on the structure and health of the U.S. technology enterprise, it is essential that the federal government develop an interim strategy to advance U.S. national interests. Specifically, in seeking to reduce asymmetries of market and technology that disadvantage U.S.-based companies, the U.S. government should look for countering strategies that are more likely to lead to mutual benefits for the United States and its trading partners than to negative consequences for both sides. This may include unilateral actions, such as countering another government's trade-distorting R&D subsidies with its own R&D subsidies rather than restoring to retaliatory tariffs or quotas.25 Goal 4: Create a strong institutional framework for federal technology policy in support of national economic development, and integrate the planning and implementation of federal technology policy with that of national domestic and foreign economic policy. The federal government's response to the technology and competitiveness challenges facing the nation's economy and its civilian technology enterprise has been inadequate. Many programs and initiatives dispersed throughout the federal government address various aspects of the nexus between technology and economic development. Some are clustered within the Technology Administration of the Department of Commerce, but many are appended to federal agencies whose primary missions and expertise have little to do with the

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technology needs of the U.S. civilian economy. Although many of these programs have been judged successful in their own right, they are ad hoc and limited, do not serve as a basis for learning by experience, and are largely peripheral to the concerns and interests of the federal government's principal domestic and foreign economic policy agencies. In recent years there has been some movement in the federal government to improve coordination of federal technology policy initiatives among the diverse federal agencies through the revitalized Federal Coordinating Council for Science, Engineering, and Technology, administered by the Office of Science and Technology Policy. However, there have also been numerous calls for the establishment of an institutional focus for federal technology policy in service of national economic development that would go beyond coordination of the relevant efforts of multiple agencies.26 Each of these proposals has defined the purpose, functions, and organization of the proposed institutional focus somewhat differently. Drawing on what it perceives to be the strengths of existing initiatives and previous proposals, as well as its own understanding of the primary institutional challenges facing U.S. technology policy at the federal level, the committee recommends that Congress and the administration take the following action together. Policy Action to Achieve Goal 4: RECOMMENDATION 10: Establish an institutional focus within the federal government to monitor, harness, and supplement the many existing federal programs and capabilities that currently support, or could support, more effective development, use, and diffusion of technology throughout the U.S. economy. This institutional focus should work for the early incorporation of technological considerations into the formulation and implementation of U.S. economic policy. The committee considers it essential that such an institutional focus, whether it resides in an existing or a newly created agency or department, assume a leadership role in the highly decentralized federal technology policy apparatus to advance U.S. economic growth and development and the broader societal goals that economic growth makes possible. In addition to any specific programmatic responsibilities that it may assume, this new institutional focus should include the following four functions in its core mission: Develop and articulate an internally consistent national techno-economic strategy for the benefit of the U.S. public and of all the various players who contribute to the U.S. technology enterprise and national economic development.

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Monitor transnational public and private technology alliances to develop reliable methods of evaluating the benefits and costs of such alliances to both the United States and foreign participants. Analyze the effects of differences in business practices among countries and their consequences for the competitive performance of U.S. companies, industries, and workers, and develop recommendations for (1) unilateral changes in U.S. practices and (2) changes to be negotiated in the practices of other countries to level the competitive playing field. Promote the coordination of trade policy, foreign investment policy, macroeconomic policy, tax policy, public-sector procurement, regulatory policy, work force training, technology extension, public technology investment selection, and other elements of U.S. economic and technology policy. The committee believes that many of the capabilities required for the performance of these functions already exist, dispersed throughout the federal bureaucracy. However, no leading institution or forum helps coalesce, develop, and harness these pieces to inform and advance a more coherent national strategy for technology in service of economic development. The committee also believes that any of several existing or proposed government entities might fulfill the role of institutional focus, and it does not offer specific recommendations concerning the roles of, and relationships among, existing or proposed federal entities. The committee strongly believes that as Congress and the administration address this institutional challenge, their principal concern should be with bringing technology most effectively to bear in pursuit of national economic development, not with advancing and diffusing technology in and of itself. For this reason, the committee recommends against institutional solutions that do not include strong linkages between technology policy and other domains of domestic and foreign economic policy. While it makes the task of policy coordination more difficult, the highly distributed nature of both technology policymaking and economic policymaking in the United States is a source of U.S. strength that should be built upon. Accordingly, the committee considers it neither practical nor desirable for the new institutional focus to centralize the many existing programs and initiatives of a wide range of federal agencies that work with and support industry and universities to strengthen the civilian industrial technology base. NOTES 1.   See Chapter 1, pp. 17–18. and Chapter 3, pp. 76–80, for discussion of emerging areas of underinvestment in the U.S. technology base and definitions of "infrastructural" and "pathbreaking" technologies. These concepts were taken from Alic et al. (1992, chapter 10). 2.   To promote the diffusion of advanced production technology and "best" managerial and organizational practices throughout U.S. industry, the federal government has initiated a number of relatively small-scale programs. These include NIST's Manufacturing Technology Centers (MTC) program and State Technology Extension Program (STEP), NSF's Engineering Research Centers, the new DOD National Manufacturing Extension Program, DOD support for the privately organized and managed National Center for Manufacturing Sciences (NCMS) consortium, and the Department of Commerce's Malcolm Baldrige Quality Award and Baldrige Institute. For background information and evaluations of these and other initiatives, see Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy, (1992); Manufacturing Technology Centers Third-Year Review Panel (1992), National Academy of Engineering (1984, 1989), U.S. General Accounting Office (1991). For information concerning the many state level technology extension programs, see Carnegie Commission (1992a), Clarke and Dobson (1991); Feller 1992a,b; Shapira et al. (1992). For discussion of the current and potential role of regional industrial networks, see Hatch (1991), Rosenfeld (1992), Rosenfeld et al. (1992). For promising examples of ways state and federal funds might be used to focus the allocation of private funds on technology/industrial modernization investments by small manufacturing firms, such as Michigan's Business and Industrial Development Corporations (BIDCOs) or Pennsylvania's investments in private seed capital funds through the Ben Franklin Partnership Program, see Bygrave and Timmons (1992).

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3.   The MTC and STEP programs are essentially pilot projects. Since the MTC program's inception only seven Manufacturing Technology Centers have been established. The MTC program's fiscal 1993 budget authority was roughly $17 million in federal funds with centers attracting an approximately equal amount in cash or in-kind contributions. The five operational centers (two additional centers are in the startup phase) have provided some level of service to more than 3,500 companies since they were established. STEP is currently funded at little over $1 million dollars. Preliminary reviews of these programs have been favorable (Manufacturing Technology Centers Third-Year Review Panel, 1992; Shapira et al., 1992). Many proposals have been made in the last two years for expanding the fledgling MTC and STEP programs into a more comprehensive national industrial extension network. See, for example, "Manufacturing for the 21st Century: Turning Ideas into Jobs," September 8, 1992, Clinton/Gore Campaign; National Center for Manufacturing Sciences (1992b); Shapira et al., (1992); U.S. Congress, House (1992b, 1993b), U.S. Congress, Senate (1993). The committee applauds the administration, Congress, and other public-and private-sector contributors for their efforts to develop some form of national industrial modernization service network. It should be noted that among the proposals put forward by these parties, there is wide variation in estimates of how many MTCs and associated "outreach" satellite institutions are needed to meet the nation's needs and at what level of funding. Estimates vary according to different assumptions about what types and level of services the MTCs and associated local or regional entities should provide or broker, how they will interact with other public and private service providers, and the extent to which MTCs will be able to support their activities through user fees. The committee believes that the national industrial modernization network it proposes could assume any number of organizational forms, with different levels of claims on federal, state, and private-sector resources. Therefore, the committee does not make specific recommendations regarding the appropriate size of the MTC or STEP programs except that they should be expanded from their current pilot project scope. In any case, the committee believes it is essential to develop a systematic program to develop and apply criteria for monitoring the effectiveness of these programs before vested interest makes it politically difficult to phase out the less successful mechanism. 4.   For further elaboration of these and other proposed initiatives, see Carnevale (1991); Carnevale et al. (1990a,b); Lynch (1992); Marshall and Tucker (1992 a,b); Mishel and Teixeira (1992); National Center on Education and the Economy (1990); U.S. Congress, Office of Technology Assessment (1990b); U.S. General Accounting Office (1990b).

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5.   Despite limited progress in recent years in increasing the scope and status of manufacturing education and research within U.S. universities, there remains a crying need to get both U.S. industry and U.S. universities to take manufacturing, in both its technical and organizational aspects, much more seriously. The committee believes that a relatively small, high-prestige fellowship program would go a long way toward helping to seed similar fellowship programs and greater university and industry interest and collaboration in the development of manufacturing studies. 6.   In the design of industrial modernization services, it is best to recognize that small companies are not uniformly in need of technological help—many can afford to invest in new production technology, are technologically sophisticated, and can get good technical advice at a reasonable price. Most small companies to do not regard technology as a key to survival or business success. Therefore, the job of industrial extension is as much a job of basic business consulting/advising as it is of technology transfer, and the success of any individual extension operation will depend as much on the talent and experience of the personnel delivering services as on the policy design. The committee considers the 10 "best practices" for industrial modernization programs distilled by Shapira et al. (1992) as a particularly useful baseline for designing and evaluating federal and state programs designed to catalyze the national industrial modernization network: 1. Competent, quality, core staff is essential. 2. Programs should focus on the customer and meet the localized needs of existing small and medium-sized enterprises. 3. Programs need to go beyond problem solving and stimulate firms to pursue a technology upgrade path. 4. Technology should be pragmatic. 5. Programs should be integrated; services should be seamless to firms. 6. Public, private, profit, and nonprofit sectors and organizations all play important roles in modernization. 7. Industrial modernization needs to promote change as well as offer services. 8. Industrial modernization programs need scale, stability, and a long-term perspective. For this reason, MTCs should charge industrial clients reasonable fees for specific services rendered, but should not be expected to be self-supporting since they provide public as well as private benefits. 9. Industrial modernization has to work at the system level as well as the individual firm level. 10. Assessment and evaluation are critical. For a review of the MTC program and an evaluation of the barriers to diffusion of advanced manufacturing technology and production methods among small and medium-size companies, see also National Research Council (1993). 7.   In the national debate about training, there has been too little recognition that the problem of work force skills is as much one of demand as of supply. All too many U.S.-based businesses are not organized to take advantage of a higher-skilled work force. For further discussion of this point see Chapter 3, pp. 69–74, as well as Carnevale (1991) and Mishel and Teixeira (1992). 8.   The federal government has adopted a number of recent programs to increase private-sector investment in R&D, bridge critical gaps in the nation's industrial technology base, and improve management of public- and private-sector R&D. These programs have included (a) support of industrial R&D consortia such as SEMATECH, the National Center for Manufacturing Sciences (NCMS), and the Battery Consortium; (b) promotion of Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs) between federal laboratories and U.S. industrial enterprises; (c) launch of the Department of Defense's Computer-aided Acquisition and Logistics Supply System (CALS); (d) establishment of the Advanced Technology Program (ATP) in the National Institute of Standards and Technology; (e) establishment of dual-use critical technology partnership programs administered by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA); and (f) a significant increase in funding for the Small Business Innovation Research program. For information concerning these programs, see Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy (1992), National Institute of Standards and Technology (1992), Public Law 102-484 (FY 1993 Defense Authorization Act), U.S. Congressional Budget Office (1990), U.S. General Accounting Office (1991, 1992a,c). Proposed new initiatives in this area include increasing and making permanent the R&E Tax Credit to U.S. companies, plans for further changes to federal government procurement practices (particularly those of the Department of Defense) to draw more extensively and effectively on the U.S. commercial technology base, efforts to expand significantly the funding of "dual-use" technology development by DARPA, a tenfold expansion of NIST's relatively modest ATP program (currently funded at $6 million), and the establishment of a civilian technology corporation (a government-financed venture capital corporation). See, for example, Carnegie Commission on Science, Technology, and Government (1990), Bloch (1991), Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy (1992), Hufbauer (1992), National Institute of Standards and Technology (1992), U.S. Congress, House (1992a,b; 1993a,b), U.S. Congress, Senate (1992, 1993).

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9.   A problem with the great majority of ongoing and proposed efforts in this area is the uncertainty in how and whether such publicly supported R&D initiatives will actually lead to commercialization. All of these initiatives involve the generation of technical knowledge that is largely in the public domain. The hope is that, by reducing the technical risks involved, the cost sharing by government will make follow-on private investments in commercialization less risky and hence more attractive to the private sector. But this depends on a favorable market and investment climate for follow-up. It remains to be seen whether events will work out this way, and private-sector follow-through needs to be carefully monitored. One of the most important functions of the "institutional focus" recommended later in this chapter (pp. 101–103) is to do this monitoring and evaluation of the initiatives with particular attention to understanding the incentives and disincentives to follow-on private investments in commercialization. Even if the technical risks are substantially reduced by federal cost sharing upstream, serious downstream market risks remain, and it is much more difficult for the federal government to find mechanisms for reducing these risks. Many of these mechanisms lie more in the domain of economic, regulatory, and other nontechnical policy areas than in the domain of technology policy. The government does, and should, create the climate and some ground rules in the area, but industry must take the direct action. This is one of the prime reasons for seeking better integration of technological and economic considerations in the development of an effective national competitiveness policy. 10.   The current U.S. incremental R&E Tax Credit provides for a credit of 13.2 percent (or a 20 percent credit, of which 50 percent is treated as taxable income) for the excess of current R&D over the base amount for that year. The credit applies to 100 percent of in-house R&D and to 65 percent of contract R&D. This contrasts, for example, with a 20 percent tax credit for all company-financed R&D in Canada, a 50 percent incremental tax credit in France, and a 20 percent incremental tax credit in Japan, where small and medium-sized firms have the option of a 6 percent credit on total R&D expenditures. While there remains some uncertainty over the exact effect of R&D tax credits on research spending by industry, recent studies by Bailey and Lawrence (1990, 1992) and Hines (1991) suggest that even modest tax incentives can have sizable impacts on private-sector R&D spending. Arguing for a package of reforms in U.S. corporate tax law which he estimates will raise net U.S. tax revenues by more than $12 billion annually, Hufbauer (1992) estimates that a shift from the current 20 percent incremental R&D tax credit to a 10 percent tax credit on total corporate R&D would cost the U.S. Treasury roughly $7.5 billion in forgone revenues each year. While the committee has not studied Hufbauer's full package of proposed reforms in any detail, it considers Hufbauer's recommendations a useful starting point for policy discussions of this issue.

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11.   There are some interesting precedents in the old National Bureau of Standards' Experimental Technology Incentives Program (ETIP) for using both regulation and public procurement to provide initial markets for socially beneficial technology such as water heaters with minimal lifetime costs (as opposed to first cost). See Lewis (1975, 1976) and National Research Council (1976). Considering the total volume of federal government purchases of goods and services (including health care), the potential for pulling private-sector commercial technology investments in the direction of broad social and economic goals is significant. For discussion of the technological challenge facing U.S. health care delivery systems, see Carnegie Commission (1992b). 12.   Since receiving its first appropriations in fiscal year 1990, ATP's funding level has increased from $10 million to $67.9 million in fiscal year 1993. The FY 1994 NIST authorization bill—which was not enacted—would have authorized $1.4 billion over five years for the program. NIST has noted that "strong arguments can be made for an ATP program with funding in the range of $500 million to $1 billion per year" (National Institute of Standards and Technology, 1992). With respect to the appropriate level of funding for an expanded ATP program, the committee concurs in the following assessment by the Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy Panel on the Government Role in Civilian Technology: The ATP program has had a promising start. It is not possible, at this early stage, to determine the program's success; nor should congressional or executive branch policymakers expect to see immediate, dramatic results. The panel has concluded, however, that the ATP's budget in the past has been insufficient to have a significant impact on U.S. technology commercialization efforts. An evaluation of ATP by an independent panel of experts, on an ongoing basis, would permit periodic determination of the desirable size of the program (Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy, 1992, p. 67). Legislation introduced in 1992 in both House and Senate (H.R. 5631 and S. 3382) called for the establishment of an independent government Civilian Technology Corporation (CTC) and included a provision for absorbing the ATP into the new CTC if this were deemed advisable. Subsequent bills introduced by both the House and Senate in early 1993 call for major expansion of the ATP within NIST (U.S. Congress, House, 1993b; U.S. Congress, Senate, 1993). See note 13 below for further details. The Small Business Innovation Research program was significantly expanded by Congress in the fall of 1992. See Chapter 1, note 15. 13.   The establishment of a Civilian Technology Corporation "to increase the rate at which products and processes are commercialized in the United States," was first proposed by the Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy Panel on the Government Role in Civilian Technology in its 1992 report. In 1992, both houses of Congress introduced bills (H.R. 5631 and S. 3382) "to establish an independent government Civilian Technology Corporation to support the efforts of American industry in the development of key technologies of the future." These bills proposed that a newly established CTC be funded at a level of $5 billion and be authorized to make technology development awards (in the form of grants, cooperative agreements, or contracts) for the purpose of supporting industry-led projects to develop critical civilian technologies. In addition, it proposed that the CTC be authorized to provide loan guarantees and loans (including conditional interest-free loans) and take warrants and voting and nonvoting equity in qualified joint ventures and qualified individual firms and equity investments in order to assist these private-sector parties to develop and commercialize critical civilian technologies. In January 1993 the House reintroduced the proposal in the Civilian Technology Act of 1993 (U.S. Congress, House 1992a, 1993a; U.S. Congress, Senate, 1992). The House and Senate versions of the National Competitiveness Act of 1993 (H.R. 820 and S.4), introduced in early 1993, contain provisions for a "Civilian Technology Loan Program" and a "Civilian Technology Development Program," to be administered by the Commerce Department, that would fulfill much the same role as the proposed CTC (U.S. Congress, House, 1993b; U.S. Congress, Senate, 1993).

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14.   NIST's direct appropriations for operating funds for fiscal year 1993 were about $300 million per year, and its total budget (including other agency funds) was approximately $450 million. NIST's intramural programs are funded at a level of $220 million for fiscal year 1993. Another way in which the federal government currently supports industrially relevant ''infrastructural" research and development is through the Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs) between private companies and federal laboratories. See Chapter 1, note 15, and Chapter 4, p. 99. 15.   The committee considers the following six guidelines for federal government support of precommercial research and development developed by the Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy (1992) Panel on the Government Role in Civilian Technology to be very useful in this regard: — Include significant private-sector cost sharing as well as strong industry leadership and involvement in project initiation and design to ensure the commercial relevance of the work. — Ensure that project selection is based on technical and economic assessments of the merits of a specific program and is as insulated from distributional politics as possible. — Develop a broad portfolio of investments across technical fields to complement federal mission-oriented research. — Keep participation open to foreign-owned firms, provided they bring novel technological capabilities or other complementary assets to the enterprise and there is reciprocal access to the home country's indigenous consortia. — Ensure rigorous, technical, and economic evaluation of all projects, taking into account the knowledge and experience of potential customers for the results. 16.   See Alic et al. (1992, pp. 370, 374–379). 17.   One example is the enforcement and interpretation of antitrust regulations without reference to international competition, although this has been largely remedied by recent legislation. A broader problem has been the tendency to extend U.S. domestic requirements to foreign subsidiaries of U.S.-headquartered corporations. Some of the worst effects, however, have arisen not from inconsistencies among different policy areas, but from misguided policies that have had opposite effects from those intended. Classic examples here include the use of "voluntary" import quotas for automobiles and the U.S.-Japan Semiconductor Trade Agreement, which have handed windfall profits to Japanese companies and enabled them to invest in up-market developments. See, for example, Crandall (1987), Flamm (1990), Mowery (1992). For more favorable assessments of the Semiconductor Trade Agreement, see Yoffie (1992) and Tyson (1992a,b). For several perspectives on the relationship between U.S. trade and technology policy, see Harris and Moore (1992). 18.   For information on the JTEC (formerly JTECH) program, see Gamota and Frieman (1988) and Rogers (1991). For details on the recently announced U.S.-Japan Manufacturing Fellowship Program, see U.S. Department of Commerce (1993). The Japanese Technology Literature Act of 1986 (Public Law 99-382) amends the Stevenson-Wydler Act to direct the Department of Commerce improve availability of Japanese technical literature to U.S. businesses, scientists, and engineers. See also U.S. General Accounting Office (1990a).

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19.   Both the House and Senate versions of the National Competitiveness Act of 1993 contain provisions for expanding and better coordinating the federal government's "collection, evaluation and dissemination of information on foreign science and technology, specifically information assessing foreign capabilities relative to comparable United States capabilities," See U.S. Congress, House (1993b) and U.S. Congress, Senate (1993). 20.   Presumably the proposed increase in federal benchmarking capabilities in the House and Senate versions of the National Competitiveness Act of 1993 would help federal agencies (in their close collaboration with U.S. industry) to identify potential areas for international R&D collaboration that might merit public-sector support. (See note 19 above.) Nonetheless, any arrangements of this sort may entail some risk of asymmetrical benefits; hence, they need to be justified by real potential mutual benefits. The federal government needs to be able to assess objectively both the mutual and the relative gains to the United States and its foreign partner, both retrospectively and prospectively, to provide guidelines for future policy in this area. The committee believes that this need constitutes an important argument for establishing some sort of institutional focus for economic or technological policy in the federal government. See the committee's final recommendation and rationale on pages 101–103. 21.   The Senior Executive Service is ostensibly set up to do this, but, in fact, staff members do not rotate among the big federal agencies. 22.   These initiatives should be viewed as a complement to the committee's final recommendation for the establishment of an institutional focus for federal technology policy in support of national economic development; see pp. 101–103. 23.   It is important to recognize that some policy actions by the U.S. government have produced trade distortions disadvantageous to U.S. firms. See note 17 above for discussion of the unintended consequences of U.S. policy actions affecting trade in automobiles and semiconductors. Another often-cited example is Section 861 of the U.S. corporate tax code, which provides incentives for U.S.-owned multinational companies to locate a larger share of the research, development, and evaluation activities offshore than they would in the absence of these incentives. For further discussion of Section 861, See Bailey and Lawrence (1991) and Mettler (1992). The committee believes the federal government should work to identify and remove such policies. 24.   Achieving stable international agreements in these areas represents a long-term challenge that will require considerable negotiation, policy experimentation, and learning. For further discussion of this challenge and possible U.S. responses to it, see Bergsten and Graham (1990), Moran (1992), Mowery (1992), Ostry (1990), Tyson (1992a,b), Yoffie (1992). 25.   Tyson (1992a,b) argues for a similar "positive-sum" interim approach for U.S. foreign economic policy in general. 26.   For example, in 1985 the President's Commission on Industrial Competitiveness called for the creation of a cabinet-level Department of Science and Technology. Others have proposed establishment of a civilian DARPA and a Civilian Technology Agency or a Civilian Technology Corporation. There have also been calls for reorganization of the Department of Commerce into a new Department of Technology, Industry, and Trade. For details see President's Commission on Industrial Competitiveness (1985). Carnegie Commission (1991), Committee on Science, Engineering and Public Policy (1992). See also Kline and Kash (1992). For a review of other recent proposals along these lines, see Mogee (1991).