September 25, 1995
Dear Mr. President:
At a time when difficult choices are being made in the allocation of scarce budgetary resources, the nature and extent of the Nation's investment in science and technology are being re-examined. Your Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) is acutely aware of the budget realities and wishes to assist you in evaluating the options among which you and the Congress must choose.
PCAST has an equally important responsibility to alert you when policy options may pose threats to the long-term economic security, national security or quality of life of Americans. The current budget climate has produced such threats.
To provide an explicit common framework for PCAST when providing this advice and in our individual dealings with Congress, colleagues and the public, we have drafted a set of "principles" which we respectfully submit for your consideration and comment. This statement reflects our belief that science and technology are significant contributors to the quality of life for all Americans. To preserve this critical investment for the future, the Federal government should continue stable funding for both basic and applied research and development and provide strong Federal support for research and education at universities, research institutions, and national laboratories. These principles are consistent with the Administration's policy statements "Science in the National Interest" (August 1994) and "Technology for America's Economic Growth" (February 1993), but also reflect the current debate driven both by fiscal stringencies and by differing views about Federal responsibility.
Your July 11 meeting with PCAST provided critical guidance, particularly through your powerful restatement of the Administration's commitment to investment through education and training and through science and technology. The FY 1997 Administration budget request will represent a crucial statement about the Administration's investment strategy under the deficit elimination plan. We hope that our set of principles may help shape that request, and we stand ready to provide advice on any specific issues.