Apologies for the dearth of timely updates recently. As many readers familiar with the congressional calendar are aware, Congress disappears for the entire month of August so that members can find their way back to their home districts, partake in a few county fairs and local parades, and generally get a longer-than-usual glimpse of how people outside the Beltway actually live. Consequently, you can see the tumbleweeds blow through the streets of DC until about Labor Day.
Now that Congress is back in town and focused on confirming a Chief Justice, dealing with the aftermath of Katrina, and finishing all the must-pass appropriations bills — ideally before the end of the fiscal year on Sept 30th (they’ve finished just 2 of 12) — things are already heating up quickly, so expect this space to get a bit busier as well.
For example, three events worthy of note are scheduled for this Thursday (September 15th). First, at 10 am, the House Science Committee will revisit federal support for cyber security R&D in a hearing that will focus on the risk cyber vulnerabilities pose to critical industries in the U.S. and what the federal government can do to help. Scheduled to testify are:
Mr. Donald “Andy” Purdy, Acting Director, National Cyber Security Division, Department of Homeland Security; Mr. John Leggate, Chief Information Officer, British Petroleum Inc.; Mr. David Kepler, Corporate Vice President, Shared Services, and Chief Information Officer, The Dow Chemical Company; Mr. Andrew Geisse, Chief Information Officer, SBC Services Inc.; and Mr. Gerald Freese, Director, Enterprise Information Security, American Electric Power.
Presumably, the committee hopes to hear from the industry representatives how significant the cyber threat is to their industries what the Department of Homeland Security is doing about it. Hopefully the committee and the industry witnesses press DHS about its minimal efforts to engage in long-range research to counter the threats. The hearing, like all Science Committee hearings, will be webcast live (10 am to noon) and archived on the Science Committee website.
Also on Thursday are two policy lunches on Capitol Hill relevant to federal support for R&D. The Forum on Technology and Innovation, an offshoot of the Council on Competitiveness and co-chaired by Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) and Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), will hold a policy briefing on “Basic Research — The Foundation of the Innovation Economy.” Scheduled to speak are George Scalise, president of the Semiconductor Industry Association; Carl A. Batt, Director of the Cornell University/Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research Partnership; and Brian Halla, Chairman of the Board and CEO of National Semiconductor. The event is scheduled from 12:30 pm – 2:00 pm, in the Senate Hart building, room 209. Readers in DC can register to attend here. It looks like the forum archives video of their events, so those unable to attend might want to check afterwards for the video stream.
Over on the House side, unfortunately at exactly the same time, is a briefing put on by the House R&D Caucus (CRA is a member of the advisory committee for the caucus) focused on the R&D tax credit. The event is sponsored by the R&D Credit Coalition, which is chock full of industry representatives. From the invite:
Microwaves, laptops, car airbags, life-saving medical technologies and even your MP3 player have one thing in common.
U.S.-based research helped create these innovative products. Research makes our lives better.
Come learn how we can encourage U.S.-based research through the strengthening and extension of the R&D Credit. See real examples of how research continues to improve America.
The briefing will be in 2325 Rayburn House Office Building, from Noon – 1:30 pm. DC-area folks wishing to attend can find the RSVP info here (pdf). Apparently attendees can also sign-up to drive “the latest hydrogen fuel cell cars,” which could be fun.
The presence of so many U.S. manufacturers and companies on the panels and sponsor-cards for the briefings should add a little heft to the message of both events. I only wish that they hadn’t been scheduled for almost exactly the same time….