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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1999. The Pervasive Role of Science, Technology, and Health in Foreign Policy: Imperatives for the Department of State. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/9688.
×

The Pervasive Role of Science, Technology, and Health in Foreign Policy

Imperatives for the Department of State

Committee on Science, Technology, and Health Aspects of the Foreign Policy Agenda of the United States

Office of International Affairs

National Research Council

NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS
Washington, D.C.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1999. The Pervasive Role of Science, Technology, and Health in Foreign Policy: Imperatives for the Department of State. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/9688.
×

NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS
2101 Constitution Ave., N.W. Washington, D.C. 20418

NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competencies and with regard for appropriate balance.

This project was sponsored by the Golden Family Foundation and the Carnegie Corporation of New York. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the view of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project. The Golden Family Foundation and the Carnegie Corporation do not take responsibility for any statements or views expressed.

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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1999. The Pervasive Role of Science, Technology, and Health in Foreign Policy: Imperatives for the Department of State. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/9688.
×

COMMITTEE ON SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, AND HEALTH ASPECTS OF THE FOREIGN POLICY AGENDA OF THE UNITED STATES

Robert A. Frosch, Chair,

Harvard University

John D. Axtell,

Purdue University

Harry Barnes,

The Carter Center

Gail H. Cassell,

Eli Lilly & Co.

Sue E. Eckert,

Institute for International Economics and Brown University

Robert W. Fri,

The Smithsonian Institution

David Hamburg,

Carnegie Corporation of New York

Ronald F. Lehman II,

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Thomas E. Lovejoy,

The World Bank

David D. Newsom,

University of Virginia

Roland W. Schmitt,

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Eugene B. Skolnikoff,

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Philip M. Smith,

McGeary & Smith

Robert M. White,

The Washington Advisory Group

Ex-officio Members

David Challoner, Foreign Secretary,

Institute of Medicine

Harold Forsen, Foreign Secretary,

National Academy of Engineering

F. Sherwood Rowland, Foreign Secretary,

National Academy of Sciences

Staff

John Boright, Executive Director,

Office of International Affairs

Glenn Schweitzer, Study Director

Kelly Robbins, Program Officer

Mickelle Rodgers, Program Assistant

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1999. The Pervasive Role of Science, Technology, and Health in Foreign Policy: Imperatives for the Department of State. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/9688.
×

The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences.

The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. William Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Kenneth I. Shine is president of the Institute of Medicine.

The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts and Dr. William Wulf are chairman and vice-chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1999. The Pervasive Role of Science, Technology, and Health in Foreign Policy: Imperatives for the Department of State. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/9688.
×
   

Career Opportunities

 

39

   

Promotions and Rewards

 

41

   

Training

 

42

   

Civil Service Officials

 

43

   

Information Technologies

 

45

4

 

STH Expertise at U.S. Embassies and Missions

 

48

   

Overview

 

48

   

Framework for Staffing STH Needs in U.S. Embassies

 

55

   

Supporting Field Operations

 

59

   

Reporting from the Field

 

59

   

Integration of State and USAID Field Capabilities

 

60

   

Embassy Interactions with U.S. Government Visitors

 

61

5

 

Interagency Interests and Opportunities

 

62

   

Overloading the Capabilities of the Department

 

62

   

Types of Interagency Interactions

 

64

   

Improving Interagency Processes

 

67

   

Transferring Responsibilities for Selected Activities

 

67

   

The Circular 175 Process

 

69

   

Role of the Department in Implementing STH Agreements

 

70

   

Relations with the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP)

 

71

   

Rotation of Personnel from the Departments and Agencies

 

71

   

Budget Support

 

72

   

Sustained Partnerships

 

72

6

 

Epilogue

 

74

 

 

Appendixes

 

 

   

A Request for the Study from the Department of State

 

79

   

B Selected Studies on Science, Technology, and Foreign Affairs

 

80

   

C Biographies of Committee Members

 

83

   

D Interim Recommendations of the Committee (September 1998)

 

90

   

E Senate Act 886

 

93

   

F Affiliations of U.S. Government Officials and Other Specialists Consulted by Committee and Staff

 

96

   

G International Affairs Strategic Goals

 

101

   

H Standard Field Position Description—Scientific and Technological Affairs Officer

 

103

   

I Goals, Strategies, and Objectives in the Program Plan of the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs

 

106

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1999. The Pervasive Role of Science, Technology, and Health in Foreign Policy: Imperatives for the Department of State. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/9688.
×

Preface

ORIGIN AND BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

In April 1998, the Department of State requested that the chairman of the National Research Council (NRC) initiate a study of the contributions that science, technology, and health (STH) expertise and activities can make in the formulation and implementation of foreign policy and of how the Department might better carry out its responsibilities to that end (see Appendix A). This request followed many months of informal discussions between the two organizations about the increasing importance of the STH aspects of foreign policy and the rapid growth of the related international interests of many U.S. government departments and agencies, industry, universities, and other nongovernmental organizations. Before undertaking a study, the NRC staff consulted with more than 20 senior officials of the Department who, without exception, indicated that they would be interested in considering the conclusions and recommendations to be developed. The Golden Family Foundation and the Carnegie Corporation of New York generously agreed to provide financial support for the study.

There had been growing criticism by U.S. scientists and foreign policy experts during congressional hearings and in Science and other publications of the inadequate attention being given to STH by the Department. In addition, in 1998 and 1999 the American Association for the Advancement of Science offered its suggestions for strengthening STH capabilities

Page viii Cite
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1999. The Pervasive Role of Science, Technology, and Health in Foreign Policy: Imperatives for the Department of State. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/9688.
×

within the Department.1 To many, it appeared that the Department was reducing its STH capabilities even though the STH dimensions of foreign policy were rapidly expanding. Concerns centered on the following actions by the Department:

  • Redirection of personnel resources that had been devoted to a broad range of STH activities to a more narrow emphasis on environmental diplomacy: While environmental issues were growing in importance and additional resources were urgently needed to address emerging global environmental issues, other aspects of STH were also having an increased impact on foreign policy.

  • Elimination of the science and technology "cone" as one of the cones that provided the framework for assignments and promotion within the Foreign Service personnel system: While the science and technology cone may have become a glass ceiling for some Foreign Service Officers (FSOs) with interests in STH-related issues, a more satisfactory approach to career development was not offered for these personnel.

  • Reduction in the number of Science Counselor2positions at U.S. embassies and filling of the remaining positions primarily with FSOs with little background in STH activities.

  • Delay in providing leadership for the Bureau for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs (OES), including a delay of more than 18 months in appointing the Assistant Secretary.

Whatever the reasons for these actions or lack of actions, they were widely interpreted within the U.S. STH communities as signaling a decline of

1  

 Information regarding relevant hearings held by the House Committee on Science in March 1998 may be found at http://www.house.gov/science/science_policy_study.htm. In addition, the Council of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) passed a resolution entitled "Science and Technology Counselors at U.S. Embassies" in February 1998. Other AAAS officials have written to the Department on the issue, including AAAS Board of Directors Chair Mildred Dresselhaus, who wrote to the Secretary of State on October 23, 1998 (copy available from NRC Public Access Records Office, 202-334-3543). See also Anne Keatley Solomon, "The Science and Technology-Bereft Department of State" Science vol. 282 (November 1998): 1649–1650; J. Thomas Ratchford, ''Put Science and Technology Back into Foreign Policy" Science vol. 282 (November 1998): 1650; James D. Watkins, "Science and Technology in Foreign Affairs," Science vol. 277 (August 1997): 650–651.

2  

 Over the years the terminology used for specialists assigned by the Department to the embassies has varied—Science and Technology Counselors; Environmental, Science, and Technology Counselors; Science Attachés; Science Officers; and Environmental Officers, for example. For this report the titles of Science Counselors and Science Officers are used to include positions with slightly different names as well.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1999. The Pervasive Role of Science, Technology, and Health in Foreign Policy: Imperatives for the Department of State. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/9688.
×

interest within the Department in activities that should be central aspects of the nation's foreign policy agenda.

As indicated in Appendix B, during the past four decades many studies have been undertaken on science, technology, and foreign policy. Studies sponsored by Congress have resulted in legislative mandates for enhancing the role of STH in the Department by establishing OES and by requiring annual reports to Congress on science, technology, and diplomacy. Although OES continues its activities, the annual reporting terminated in 1995. Other studies have been sponsored by the Department itself, particularly with regard to broadening activities within OES and to staffing U.S. embassies to address STH-related activities. During the past 15 years, the National Academies also have carried out a number of studies of selected aspects of STH and foreign policy. Other nongovernmental organizations and scholars have conducted relevant assessments. Of particular interest is a set of four reports directly related to the topic prepared in 1992 and 1993 by the Carnegie Commission on Science, Technology, and Government.

During the fall of 1998, the Henry L. Stimson Center released a report, Equipped for the Future, Managing U.S. Foreign Affairs in the 21st Century, and the Center for Strategic and International Studies issued a report, Reinventing Diplomacy in the Information Age. These reports address many aspects of the formulation and implementation of foreign policy; and they include some suggestions that are relevant to the STH dimension of foreign policy, particularly with regard to more effective use of information technologies within the Department and greater involvement of nongovernmental organizations and other private-sector institutions in the foreign policy process. In addition, for the past three years the U.S. Institute of Peace, in its Virtual Diplomacy Program, has promoted better understanding of the role of new information technologies in diplomacy.

A number of conclusions and recommendations included in this report were also set forth in earlier studies. Some were accepted and implemented by the Department for a period of time (e.g., technically trained Science Counselors at key embassies, an advisory committee on science and technology), but then the Department changed its approach. Others have been rejected altogether (e.g., organizational restructuring of the Department). Thus, the report may at times seem repetitious of previous efforts. The committee believes, however, that even if suggestions similar to its own recommendations have been rejected in the past, they should be raised again because of the rapid technological changes underway throughout the world, which call for new directions in the formulation and implementation of foreign policy. A key concern of the committee is to ensure that the changes recommended in this study, if accepted, are not simply temporary fixes but rather are institutionalized for the long term.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1999. The Pervasive Role of Science, Technology, and Health in Foreign Policy: Imperatives for the Department of State. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/9688.
×

ROLE OF THE NRC COMMITTEE FOR THIS STUDY

In June 1998, the chairman of the NRC appointed a 17-member interdisciplinary committee to carry out this study. Biographies of committee members are included in Appendix C.

At the request of the Department, the committee issued a preliminary letter report in September 1998 so that recommendations could be considered in connection with the preparation of the Department's fiscal year 2000 budget request. The recommendations were directed to immediate and practical steps that the Department could take in two areas: (1) providing leadership within the Department on STH-related issues and (2) strengthening the available base of STH expertise.3

Following issuance of the preliminary report, the committee divided into three subcommittees to address the following topics in more detail: personnel policies and practices of the Department, with special attention to the STH aspects of these policies; the SIH capabilities of selected bureaus and offices within the Department; and the effectiveness of the interactions between the Department and other government departments and agencies involved in international STH policies and programs (referred to as "other departments and agencies"). This report contains the findings and recommendations of the committee based largely on the work of the subcommittees as well as on other information available as of August 1999.

The committee has given special attention to the April 1999 announcement by Undersecretary for Global Affairs Frank Loy of five steps underway to strengthen the capabilities of the Department to address STH-related issues. These steps are

  1. Appointment of a Science Advisor to the Secretary of State;

  2. Organization of informal roundtable discussions of specific STH-related foreign policy issues involving both Department officials and distinguished members of the STH community;

  3. Establishment at the Foreign Service Institute (FSI) of a short course in science and technology for new FSOs and a training program in environment, science, and technology for foreign nationals serving at U.S. embassies;

  4. Long-term and short-term assignments within the Department of more scientists from the other departments and agencies and from academia; and

3  

 See http://www.nap.edu/readingroom/books/sth for the entire report. The recommendations are set forth in Appendix D of this report.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1999. The Pervasive Role of Science, Technology, and Health in Foreign Policy: Imperatives for the Department of State. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/9688.
×
  1. Assessment of the relevance to current policies of each of the 33 bilateral science and technology "umbrella" agreements and evaluation of measures to improve the effectiveness of the environmental "hubs" where diplomats with responsibilities for reporting on environmental developments are stationed in various regions of the world.

These steps, if fully implemented, would be important in strengthening the Department's capabilities to deal effectively with STH-related issues while responding to several recommendations in the committee's preliminary letter report. However, there have been only limited activities within the Department to transform the announcement into action or to respond to other initial recommendations of the committee despite continuing discussions between the committee and the Department during the past year. The committee considers its initial recommendations to be still valid and important and therefore has incorporated them into this report as appropriate.

In June 1999, the Senate passed an amendment to the Department's authorization bill establishing the position of Science Advisor to the Secretary of State reporting through the Undersecretary for Global Affairs, with the Science Advisor's responsibilities to be determined by the Secretary. The amendment also requires the Department to provide a report to Congress on its plans for implementing the recommendations in this NRC report within six months of the report's release. In addition, the Senate bill includes a provision establishing the position of Assistant Secretary for Verification and Compliance reporting to the Undersecretary for Arms Control and International Security Affairs. This new position would provide an important interface between policy and STH concerns in one specific area. As of August 1999, this bill was awaiting action by the full Congress and the President (see Appendix E).

SCOPE OF THE REPORT

The committee considered the STH dimension of foreign policy in a broad sense and decided to concentrate its detailed investigations and recommendations on leadership within the Department in addressing issues with STH content, personnel policies and practices of the Department as they affect STH competence, STH capabilities of relevant bureaus and offices of the Department, and interactions of the Department with other departments and agencies involved in STH activities. The committee recognized that a very broad set of highly differentiated skills is needed to address the wide range of STH-related issues. The report indicates circumstances in which generalists are in a position to address such

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1999. The Pervasive Role of Science, Technology, and Health in Foreign Policy: Imperatives for the Department of State. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/9688.
×

issues and sets forth a number of specific issues requiring more specialized expertise.

Throughout the process of preparing this report, the committee was mindful of the resource constraints faced by the Department. Indeed, Department officials repeatedly cited many competing priorities for additional resources, such as security requirements in U.S. embassies following the terrorist bombings of the embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, unanticipated humanitarian efforts in the wake of Hurricane Mitch, and resettlement activities in Kosovo. The committee appreciated current congressional reluctance to restore significant reductions in the government's international affairs budget that have been made in recent years. However, the case for strengthening the Department's STH capabilities is sufficiently compelling that modest immediate shifts of resources within the Department to begin to implement the committee's recommendations are fully warranted. For the longer term, the Department, in cooperation with the U.S. STH communities, should be able to provide Congress on a continuing basis with more persuasive evidence of the contribution of international STH activities to the security, political, and economic interests of the country and of the dangers from loss of U.S. leadership in many areas that can result from continuing to skimp on the STH-related resources available to the Department.

Also, the committee was aware of the major organizational and personnel adjustments taking place within the Department as the result of the incorporation of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (ACDA) and the U.S. Information Agency (USIA) into the Department and the likely reluctance within the Department and Congress to consider other far-reaching structural changes in the immediate future. Nevertheless, the committee considered that the interrelationships between STH developments and foreign policy are so profound that significant organizational and personnel adjustments will be essential in the years ahead, and this report offers recommendations concerning such changes. Initial steps along the lines recommended by the committee can be undertaken within the current organizational structure and personnel constraints. Mean-while, planning for more extensive changes to meet the Department's expanded STH requirements should be undertaken promptly.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

Throughout the study, many government officials and nongovernmental specialists took time to help committee members and staff obtain important insights concerning a wide variety of opportunities and problems in the foreign policy process. A large number of offices of the Department were enormously helpful in providing information and sugges-

Page xiii Cite
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1999. The Pervasive Role of Science, Technology, and Health in Foreign Policy: Imperatives for the Department of State. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/9688.
×

tions concerning issues of interest to the committee. Similarly, a variety of other departments and agencies contributed valuable perspectives that were important in reaching the conclusions set forth in this report (see Appendix F).

This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the NRC's Report Review Committee. The purpose of such an independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making the published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their participation in the review of this report: John F. Ahearne, Sigma Xi Center; Frederick Bernthal, Universities Research Association, Inc.; Justin Bloom, Technology International; Lewis M. Branscomb, Harvard University; D. Allan Bromley, Yale University; Edward E. David, Jr., EED, Inc.; Gerald P. Dinneen, Honeywell Inc. (retired); E. A. Hammel, University of California, Berkeley; Rodney Nichols, New York Academy of Sciences; Princeton Lyman, Overseas Development Council; and Peter H. Raven, Missouri Botanical Garden. These individuals have provided constructive comments and suggestions, but it must be emphasized that responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution.

The committee expresses its appreciation to the many individuals and institutions that assisted in this effort. It also is grateful for the assistance of the NRC staff. Any errors in this report are the committee's own.

Robert A. Frosch, Chair, Committee on the Science, Technology, and Health Aspects of the Foreign Policy Agenda of the United States

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1999. The Pervasive Role of Science, Technology, and Health in Foreign Policy: Imperatives for the Department of State. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/9688.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1999. The Pervasive Role of Science, Technology, and Health in Foreign Policy: Imperatives for the Department of State. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/9688.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1999. The Pervasive Role of Science, Technology, and Health in Foreign Policy: Imperatives for the Department of State. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/9688.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1999. The Pervasive Role of Science, Technology, and Health in Foreign Policy: Imperatives for the Department of State. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/9688.
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Issues involving science, technology, and health (STH) have moved to the forefront of the international diplomatic agenda. Other vital issues linked to technological developments pervade longer-range foreign policy concerns. Thus, STH considerations are often central to the Department of State’s bilateral and multilateral interactions with other governments. STH aspects play a large role in discussions of such critical topics as nuclear nonproliferation, use of outer space, population growth, adequate and safe food supply, climate change, infectious diseases, energy resources, and competitiveness of industrial technologies. In addressing these issues, expert STH knowledge is essential to the anticipation and resolution of problems and to the achievement of foreign policy goals. The Department, recognizing that it requires strengthened capabilities to address such an array of topics, asked for suggestions by the National Research Council as to how it could better deal with foreign policy issues with STH content.

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