Which fields must attain or maintain preeminence, based on goals such as economic importance, national security, unusual opportunity for significant discoveries, global resource or environmental issues, control of disease, mitigation of natural disasters, food production, a presidential initiative (such as human spaceflight), or an unanticipated crisis;
Which fields require increases in funding, changes in direction, restructuring, or other actions to achieve these goals; and
Which fields have excess capacity (e.g., are producing too many new investigators, have more laboratories or facilities than needed) relative to national needs and international benchmarks.
The committee believes that designing the budget process so as to secure an FS&T budget sufficient to ensure preeminence in select fields and world status in others will allow the United States to maintain continued world leadership. The FS&T budget process must be coupled to systematic review of investments by the nation's best scientific and technical experts, reporting to the highest reaches of government, to produce an appropriately balanced mix of activities. The committee emphasizes that wise federal investments will lead to the creation of new wealth in the future to an even greater extent than they have in the past. As a result, these investments will help reduce the federal deficit in the long run. After a period of budget constraints, reconfiguration, and adjustment, national needs may justify increased investments in FS&T.