[Back from vacation. Blogging resumes…]
The Administration has released its annual guidance (pdf) to Federal agencies instructing them on the areas of research and development they should make priorities in their forthcoming FY 2007 budget requests to the White House. The memo, a joint production of the White House Office of Science and Technology and budget gatekeepers, the Office of Management and Budget, “provides general guidance for setting priorities among R&D programs, interagency R&D efforts that should receive special focus in agency budget requests, and reiteration of the R&D Investment Criteria that agencies should use to improve investment decisions for and management of their R&D programs.”
As it was last year, High End Computing and Networking R&D remains a priority for the Adminstration, even at the expense of other items within the Networking and Information Technology R&D portfolio. HEC joins Homeland Security R&D, the National Nanotechnology Initiative, Priorities in the Physical Sciences, Understanding Complex Biological Systems, and Energy and Environment as focal points in the Administration’s R&D portfolio. Here’s the relevant language from the computing section:
While the importance of each of the Networking and Information Technology R&D (NITRD) program areas continues, investments in high-end computing and cyber infrastructure R&D should be given higher relative priority due to their potential for broad impact. Agency plans in high-end computing must be consistent with the 2004 Federal Plan for High-End Computing and should aggressively focus on supercomputing capability, capacity and accessibility issues by emphasizing coordination, leveraging the efforts of all agencies and, where appropriate, use of coordinated multi-agency investments. Advanced networking research (including test-beds) on hardware and software for secure, reliable, distributed computing environments and tools that provide the communication, analysis and sharing of very large amounts of information will accelerate discovery and enable new technological advances. Agency requests should reflect these program priorities by reallocating funds from lower priority efforts. Agencies supporting R&D in these and all NITRD areas are expected to participate in interagency planning through the NSTC to guide future investments. Reflecting the importance of cyber security, agencies should continue to work through the NSTC to generate a detailed gap analysis of R&D funding in this area.
Even though the FY 2006 budget process is still unsettled, this memo gives a good peek at the Administration’s thinking for FY 2007. Not surprisingly, the memo implies that next year’s budget will likely be as flat as this year, noting that
Agencies may propose new, high-priority activities, but these requests should identify potential offsets by elimination or reductions in less effective or lower priority programs or programs where Federal involvement is no longer needed or appropriate.
So, it will again be critically important that the computing community work with agencies to make sure that the right priorities are struck in this zero-sum game….