Mary Groesch: Absolutely. And I wasn't including the research training, which is a major effort for NIH.
Beverly K. Hartline: One of the things that we have been doing in the Office of Science and Technology Policy is working with the agencies and Dr. Horrigan and her colleagues at OMB. I wanted to take this opportunity to share with the group here—to the best of my recollection—the gist of a memorandum that went from Dr. Jack Gibbons, the director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, to all of the agencies that have science and technology elements.
The memo noted that OSTP is working with OMB to review the performance and strategic plans of the agencies with respect to R&D to ensure that these plans don't totally miss out on some element required by GPRA. We want to make sure that all agencies treat their science and technology elements in some visible way in their strategic plans. You heard today from agencies for whom science and technology are major components and can't be missed. However, there are many other federal agencies where science and technology are smaller, but we believe are nonetheless extremely important—for example, the Environmental Protection Agency, which has a $7 billion budget and only about $500 million or so that is in science and technology.
Of course, if you ask the highest levels at Commerce, Interior, and the other agencies what they are about, science is probably not the first word out of their mouths. And yet the science and technology activities that are supported in those agencies are essential to the regulatory and management activities that are the primary mission of the agency.
So we intend to make sure that all of the agencies include their science and technology programs in their strategic plans, so it can't be missed or mismanaged. We are also interested in making sure that (1) they address coordination within and among the agencies; (2) their performance measures accurately reflect the performance, contribution, and value of that agency in a way that even nonexperts can appreciate; and (3) the performance plan will lead to both meaningful numerical and alternative or qualitative types of performance goals and measures that can be accountable and to some extent audited. I use those words in the most broad definition; that is, they can't just be hand waved around, but they aren't only counting beans either.
We are interested in making sure that the documents have the potential to be useful to the agency managers and staff and, last but not least, we hope that they promote and do not interfere with scientific excellence, creativity, and innovation.
When you are doing things like GPRA, which look very prescriptive, the fear is that they will make everybody just go through a set of steps and check off some boxes. You could lose the excellence, the creativity, and the innovation that are certainly the hallmark of scientific research and the reason that the taxpayer puts money into these three agencies, and into many others as well.
Judith S. Sunley: I heard a rumor to the effect that the strategic plan from the Department of Defense had one page that referred to research and development. Given the large effort that the Department of Defense has in that area, it seems a little bit out of balance if you take the $70 billion, in our federal R&D effort, and recognize that half of that is defense oriented. I don't know if that rumor is true or not, but it illustrates the difficulty that OSTP has because there are a lot of other things on the mind of the Department of Defense as well.
Beverly K. Hartline: I don't know if that rumor is true either. Nonetheless, Judy's remarks are very cogent. The Department of Defense does spend some $35 billion a year in science in R&D, most of