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The Advanced Materials and Processing Program and the Restructuring of Materials Science and Technology in the United States: From Research to Manufacturing: Proceedings of the 1993 Solid State Sciences Committee Forum Session I: Welcome and Keynote Address The 1993 Solid State Sciences Committee Forum was opened by the chairs of two of the sponsoring groups, David Litster of the Solid State Sciences Committee and James Williams of the National Materials Advisory Board. After welcoming the audience, they turned the meeting over to Robert White, president of the National Academy of Engineering, who introduced the keynote speaker, Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-New Mexico). Dr. White noted that Senator Bingaman has been involved in a wide range of legislation related to science and technology, including introduction of the National Critical Technologies Act and the Advanced Manufacturing Act. New Forms of Cooperation and the Impact on Competitiveness, Senator Jeff Bingaman Senator Bingaman outlined two objectives for his talk: (1) describe the evolution of technology policy over the past half dozen years, and (2) outline the challenges of the coming years in implementing and building on government-industry partnership programs put in place over the last few years. Evolution of a Technology Policy For several decades after World War II, the Department of Defense (DOD) was clearly the world's dominant customer for advanced technologies ranging from computers to aircraft. By 1987 this was no longer true, and for the first time in 50 years dependence on foreign firms was emerging as a potential national security threat. Technology had gone global. If we were to maintain technological superiority in our weapons systems, DOD had to begin adjusting to the new realities of worldwide technology development. This appeared to be particularly true with regard to technologies with commercial applications. Interest in the impact of these trends and DOD's efforts to adjust to them led me to develop a statutory requirement for an annual Defense Critical Technologies Plan. Prioritization of defense R&D seemed to be the first logical step in developing a new approach. In 1989 we received the first annual plan, which identified 22 critical technologies for the Defense Department. The trends were becoming clear: (1) dual-use technologies dominated the list; (2) commercial applications led defense applications in those areas; and (3) the United States was no longer dominant, with Japan ahead on 6 of 22 technologies. From an economic perspective, it was clear that every advanced industrialized nation was making a commitment to technology development not for national security reasons but because they saw it as central to economic growth. Even more so today than six years ago, global competition prevents any one country from dominating all technologies of economic or military significance. But it is crucial that we maintain a strong technology base in this country and seek to ensure that U.S.-based firms are among the global leaders in the highest-leverage technologies and industries. From a defense perspective, we need to do so simply to stay abreast of rapid technological developments that could result in unforeseeable future threats to our country. Technology is the currency of national power, and we need to constantly replenish our stock of this currency to ensure the qualitative superiority of our weaponry. At that time, we saw that economic security and national security were rapidly converging, and it became very clear that the Defense Department's efforts to nurture critical technologies needed to be integrated into a broader national effort. What followed over the next five years was a series of efforts, which I am sure most of you are familiar with, aimed at the development of a national technology policy. These efforts were characterized by:
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The Advanced Materials and Processing Program and the Restructuring of Materials Science and Technology in the United States: From Research to Manufacturing: Proceedings of the 1993 Solid State Sciences Committee Forum Fostering government-industry partnerships in DOD and Department of Energy (DOE) laboratories in dual-use critical technologies where U.S. industry could both contribute to defense needs and benefit from federal investments. Developing national policies and institutions directed toward critical technologies through (1) the creation of a National Critical Technologies Panel chaired by the White House Science Advisor; (2) a requirement that the Federal Coordinating Council on Science, Engineering, and Technology (FCCSET) develop strategic plans in each of the national critical technologies, just as it had done in the High-Performance Computing Initiative championed by then-Senator Gore; and (3) the establishment of a Critical Technologies Institute to assist the Science Advisor in both efforts. The Advanced Materials and Processing Program being discussed today is one result of these requirements. I cannot tell you that these efforts have all been neatly coordinated and smoothly built one on the other. For those who followed technology policy formulation in Washington, it must have appeared that we were taking one step back for every two steps forward, particularly during the ideological gridlock of the last few years. But a general consensus began to emerge, and congressional efforts culminated last year (1992) in the broad-based defense reinvestment and conversion initiative. The Clinton-Gore campaign was reaching similar conclusions, as outlined in their position papers from last fall, and their efforts began in earnest in February with the release of the administration's technology policy. These initiatives—the defense reinvestment package and the Clinton technology policy —are part of a long-term, fundamental shift in federal technology policy, one that will profoundly change the way the federal government pursues research and development. Erich Bloch has referred to these changes as a "paradigm shift," in reference to Thomas Kuhn's description of how scientific theories evolve through the slow accumulation of data followed by a rapid shift in the ground rules. In my view this is an apt analogy. The ground rules shifted rather abruptly with the end of the Cold War, and we will be figuring out how to operate under the new paradigm for some years to come. The Challenge We need to figure out how government and industry can cooperate for competitive gain. It is obvious to me that we need a strategy for creating high-wage jobs and technological leadership for the country in the future, and cooperation will be a major part of that strategy. The imperative to focus on this today is economic, but in the long run it is also required by our national security needs. The mix of firms and industries that make up our industrial base is constantly in flux. We see the so-called “downsizing” of many of our best-known corporate giants (General Motors, IBM, the Bell companies and many others). We also see new firms and entire industries emerging and providing high-wage employment both here and overseas in the semiconductor and software development industries, as well as in areas such as advanced materials and biotechnology. Questions arise as we view this: Will the new mix of jobs provide us with our fair share of high-paying employment? Will the new mix of technological and industrial capabilities that we have meet our long-term national security needs? Put another way: Can we have an economy which enhances our standard of living and provides for our future security needs by continuously creating high-wage jobs, while at the same time modernizing the economy to create new technology and new products? One way to look at the challenge is to identify some of the key factors in developing a national technology infrastructure which will sustain our ability to compete in the global market.
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The Advanced Materials and Processing Program and the Restructuring of Materials Science and Technology in the United States: From Research to Manufacturing: Proceedings of the 1993 Solid State Sciences Committee Forum National Technology Infrastructure Some essential components of a national technology infrastructure are: Science and engineering education, Government-industry partnerships, A network of national laboratories, Setting technical standards, Foreign technology monitoring, and Technology and trade policy coordination. Science and Engineering Education There are several aspects of education that I would like to address. First, education for scientists and engineers should be aimed at developing future technologies. In the last couple of years, we have been developing a manufacturing engineering education program. This program is an effort within the Defense Department to provide matching grants to colleges and universities to support and develop programs in manufacturing engineering. Increased support for university programs was a recommendation in the Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) report on the state of U.S. manufacturing, Making Things Better. Although $25 million was authorized and appropriated for this program in FY92 and FY93, none of the 1992 funds were expended because of a lack of Bush administration support for the program. We expect a solicitation to be released from the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) in March, 1994, along with solicitations for other programs included in the defense conversion package approved last year (1992). Secondly, education is needed for the skilled technicians required to ensure our manufacturing strength. For FY93, $5 million was appropriated for the Manufacturing Experts in the Classroom program, which is aimed primarily at two-year colleges and vocational education institutes. This program would help to bring experienced manufacturing personnel into the classroom to better tie technician training programs to industry needs. Thirdly, we need to promote general technological literacy for the population. Government-Industry Partnerships Policies in this area should depend heavily upon industry initiatives, should focus on the commercialization of products, and should help to facilitate the integration of defense and non-defense firms. Partnerships designed to accomplish these goals are the central feature of the defense reinvestment and conversion package passed as part of the FY93 defense bill. The package included $305 million for government-industry partnerships in critical technologies, including $30 million for partnerships in materials synthesis and processing, as well as $200 million for federal-state partnerships in manufacturing and technology extension. A major challenge for this year (1993) is effectively implementing these efforts. ARPA and the Interagency Technology Reinvestment Project organized to implement the partnership programs are to be commended for their efforts thus far. The process they have developed serves as a model for interagency technology cooperation. I will be the first to say that we do not know if industry will be interested in all of these programs. The political situation last year (1992) somewhat precluded a more bottom-up approach, and we hope to learn enough from the implementation process, and industry input as that process goes forward, to make any changes that might be needed. In my view the importance of the Technology Reinvestment Project lies in the lessons we will learn as we figure out how to operate effectively under the new paradigm. Industry has a large role to play. The key to partnerships is industry input, and the materials industry, as a pervasive supplier rather than a high-profile, finished-product industry, has a more difficult challenge than many other sectors in getting federal attention. What is needed is a consensus position that the varied materials companies in the United States can advocate to Congress and the Administration. The Suppliers of Advanced Composite Materials Association (SACMA) and the United States Advanced Ceramics Association (USACA) recently took a strong step in that direction with
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The Advanced Materials and Processing Program and the Restructuring of Materials Science and Technology in the United States: From Research to Manufacturing: Proceedings of the 1993 Solid State Sciences Committee Forum the release of their joint agenda. This effort needs to be expanded to include other materials organizations to the extent possible. More needs to be done in the technology area as well. Materials road maps need to be developed to help guide federal materials R&D and the Advanced Materials Processing effort within FCCSET in particular. The Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) 15-year road map is a model for the type of industry efforts required to truly bring the federal research establishment into partnership with industry. Integrating the National Laboratories The Department of Energy and Department of Defense laboratory systems are unique research resources that need to be integrated into a national technology infrastructure. In facilities, equipment, and personnel, these laboratories have unparalleled capabilities. These capabilities developed out of national security needs that are not as pressing today as they were during their buildup. However, many of the concerns that led to the development of laboratory facilities will remain in the future. Just as special efforts will be required to maintain a robust defense industrial base, special efforts must also be made to maintain the facilities and people at the core of the DOD and DOE research base. The question is how to sustain these critical research capabilities with a declining defense budget. In my view, the laboratories need to be integrated into a national technology infrastructure that serves the national technology base. In my view, this would involve the establishment of national user facilities and pilot centers, and broad, generic cooperative agreements with particular sectors in addition to the Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) activity they are currently involved in. The DOE laboratories have a wide range of unique facilities, equipment, and expertise in the area of advanced materials, and our challenge is to make that expertise available to U.S. industry to support competitiveness. Again, industry has a large role to play in this effort, and again, the SIA semiconductor road map serves as a model. SIA has taken its road map to the DOE laboratories and asked how the laboratories could help. Working together, the DOE laboratories and the SIA have identified some areas of emphasis for the laboratories and have begun to flesh out cooperative research programs. A similar effort within the materials industry would be very beneficial. Setting Technical Standards A fourth issue we face is the development of an effective and timely mechanism to define technical standards so that products can be readily commercialized and used. In the advanced materials industry in particular there is a great need for timely standards development. As the largest buyer of advanced materials, the Defense Department has in the past set de facto standards through its purchases. As the defense budget declines and commercial applications of advanced materials increase, DOD can no longer play this role. The government needs to help fill that vacuum, but not through a government standards-setting effort—the result would be too slow and too limited to be effective. The government needs to provide support to industry in the form of a standards infrastructure that facilitates the setting of industry-developed standards in an agile environment in a way that can speed the application of new materials in the market. Foreign Technology Monitoring We need to help industry in defining what government can do to monitor technological development in other countries. One way we have tried to address this is through the U.S.– Japan Management Training Program, an initiative that provides grants to colleges and universities to develop programs that teach Japanese language, culture, and business practices to scientists, engineers, and managers. This initiative is modeled after the MIT–Japan program, which for many years was the only effort of this kind in the United States. There are now eight university programs receiving funding under these programs.
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The Advanced Materials and Processing Program and the Restructuring of Materials Science and Technology in the United States: From Research to Manufacturing: Proceedings of the 1993 Solid State Sciences Committee Forum We need to do a much better job of learning from others in all areas of technology development. Better integrated government-supported information services for industry and government would address that need. Technology and Trade Policy Coordination We need to look at enforcement of our trade laws so as to ensure that there are adequate and equal incentives for job creation here in the United States. The Motorola philosophy has been that the company needs to compete in Japan if it is to be competitive in the United States. If we cede the Japanese market to Japanese companies, those companies will eventually compete here, and the lack of competition in their home base will be used to its full advantage. This philosophy has been proven true many times in many sectors, most often to the detriment of our country. In my view the federal government needs to recognize this fact up front and do a better job of supporting industry efforts to break into foreign markets in high-technology areas. Concluding Remarks There are obviously a great number of other issues we must address in adjusting to the paradigm shift. Some are just as critical as the ones I have mentioned, including such areas as development of a national information network and the need to spur private R&D investments through changes in the tax laws. Ultimately the U.S. standard of living and our technological and industrial strength will be determined by the success of private firms in our economy, but that success can be substantially promoted or retarded by the policies we adopt in government. The job of designing and refining these policies to meet the change in requirements of economic competition is a complex undertaking. But the fact that it is complex does not mean we can forego the responsibility. The 21st century will demand no less sophistication of us than we will find exhibited by our competitors. The job is to bring government and industry together into a partnership that can meaningfully address the challenge of retaining our industrial strength. After a question-and-answer period, the forum moved to Session II, at which various representatives of the interagency Advanced Materials and Processing Program (AMPP) spoke. Summaries of the talks and panel discussions from this and the subsequent three sessions follow.
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