August 10, 2018
Capitol Update

In this issue:


WHITE HOUSE ESTABLISHES FY2020 RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT PRIORITIES

The White House recently released a memo detailing its research and development (R&D) priorities for 2020. The FY 2020 Administration Research and Development Budget Priorities highlights the administration’s intentions for maintaining U.S. leadership through eight “R&D Priority Areas” and five “R&D Priority Practices.” The priority areas focus on specific aspects of R&D that the administration wishes to bolster and assert its dominance. The eight priority areas are:

  • Security of the American People
  • American Leadership in Artificial Intelligence, Quantum Information Sciences and Strategic Computing
  • American Connectivity and Autonomy
  • American Manufacturing
  • American Space Exploration and Commercialization
  • American Energy Dominance
  • American Medical Innovation
  • American Agriculture

The corresponding priority practices provide a roadmap to support the missions of the priority areas. These practices include educating and training a workforce for the 21st Century Economy, transferring technology from laboratory to marketplace, and maximizing interagency coordination and cross-disciplinary collaboration.

The memo shares many of the same priorities as the administration’s 2019 budget request, in which the White House increased defense R&D spending by almost one-third, but cut non-defense funding by 19 percent. There is also overlap with the administration’s FY 2019 R&D priorities.

To view the FY 2020 Administration Research and Development Budget Priorities in full, click here: https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/M-18-22.pdf


NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT PASSES HOUSE AND SENATE WITH SIGNIFICANT FUNDING FOR RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

The John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for FY19 (NDAA) was recently sent to the President after being approved by both the House and Senate. The NDAA, which authorizes appropriations for the Department of Defense (DOD), includes several directives for innovation and research.

The bill stipulates the creation of a National Defense Science and Technology Strategy, along with stronger coordinated defense research initiatives in artificial intelligence and quantum information science. It allocates over $300 million in funding towards research and development (R&D), including over $10 million in quantum information science and $15 million for microelectronics research and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Electronics Resurgence Initiative. It also grants $75 million to Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering Michael D. Griffin’s office to strengthen relations between DOD, academia, and the commercial technology industry to encourage more private sector investment in the development of new defense technologies.

“This year’s NDAA represents an important opportunity to implement an effective approach to confront a growing array of threats around the world. The administration’s National Defense Strategy outlined a framework for identifying and prioritizing these threats. Through the NDAA, Congress is fulfilling its duty to provide America’s service members the resources and tools they need to succeed. I thank my colleagues for supporting this much-needed legislation and I look forward to the President quickly signing it into law,” said Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain (R-AZ).

To view the full NDAA, click here: https://tinyurl.com/ydg7h4a8


SPACE FRONTIER LEGISLATION GAINS TRACTION AS IT PASSES SENATE COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE, SCIENCE AND TRANSPORTATION

In keeping with the administration’s renewed pledge to strengthen its space program, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation recently passed a new bill to streamline and clarify the role relevant government agencies would play in achieving this goal. The Space Frontier Act (S. 3277), introduced to the Senate last month,lays out the new roles and expectations for agencies such as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the Federal Aviation Administration for working with the private sector. The bill also authorizes the extension of the International Space Station to 2030.

Earlier this year, President Trump signed the Space Policy Directive 2: Streamlining Regulations on Commercial Use of Space (SPD 2), which shares many similarities with the House’s American Space Commerce Free Enterprise Act (H.R. 2809) which was recently passed by the House. However, there is a key difference between the House and Senate space bill in the authorization of “non-traditional” commercial space activities such as satellite servicing, asteroid mining and commercial lunar landings. Under the Senate bill, this activity would be authorized by the Department of Transportation, overseen by a political appointee in the Office of Commercial Space Transportation.

Conversely, both the House bill and the Administration’s SPD 2 want these activities to be overseen by the Department of Commerce. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross has proposed combining the Office of Commercial Remote Sensing Regulatory Affairs and Office of Space Commerce to create the Space Policy Advancing Commercial Enterprise (SPACE) Administration to hold oversight.

The Space Frontier Act will next go to the full Senate for a vote. If it passes the Senate, it will proceed to the House to vote before heading to the President to be signed into law.

To view the current text of S. 3277- The Space Frontier Act if 2018, click here: https://tinyurl.com/y7kz5nbn

To view the text of H.R. 2809- The American Space Commerce Free Enterprise Act, click here: https://tinyurl.com/yav68q3

To view the full text of SPD 2, click here: https://tinyurl.com/yauqt9q9


DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY SOLICITS FEEDBACK TO IMPROVE OFFSHORE RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT FACILITIES

The Department of Energy (DOE) recently announced a Request for Information (RFI) on behalf of the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s Wind Energy Technologies Office (WETO). The RFI seeks public input to help identify weaknesses and improve offshore wind research and development (R&D) test facilities.  WETO is an office that operates under the DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) that is tasked with research and developing innovating technologies that will also help lower costs and accelerate the development of wind power.

"Testing of offshore wind components and scale-prototypes is critical to help advance America's offshore wind industry," said Undersecretary of Energy Mark Menezes. "Through this request we are looking to better understand our U.S. offshore wind testing capabilities, and how we can improve those facilities to compete in the global market."

In particular, the RFI is seeking information on:

  • Facilities that can conduct unique offshore wind R&D in the United States.
  • Needed upgrades to existing facilities or new facilities for the United States to be at the cutting edge of offshore wind R&D.
  • S pecific tests and analyses that could be carried out at existing, upgraded, or new facilities in order to advance the U.S. offshore wind industry.

All RFI submissions must be submitted electronically and received by 5pm EST on September 14.

For more information on this RFI, as well as a list of additional RFIs currently open for submission with WETO, click here: https://tinyurl.com/ydcpxzcr


WORKING PAPER STATES FEDERAL FUNDING FOR RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT HAS BENEFITS AT THE LOCAL LEVEL

A new working paper from researchers at the University of Michigan suggests that federal research and development (R&D) funds provided through the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) have had a significant impact on economic development at the local level. The paper, titled “Local Fiscal Multiplier on R&D and Science Spending: Evidence from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act” explains that ARRA funding had a greater impact on the economy at the local county level, with “larger than comparable results for federal stimulus in general as well as federal stimulus on health or infrastructure.”

ARRA was signed into law in 2009. It was developed to help end the recession by spurring customer spending and saving jobs from being cut.  It granted approximately $7.6 billion in funding towards scientific research to agencies such as the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy and the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

The working paper looked at the changes in employment through ARRA at the local level, to examine what effects this increased federal spending on R&D had. They found that for every one million dollars spent on research between 2009 and 2013, 27 jobs were added with an estimated job-year cost of approximately $15,000. The paper does make a point of noting that federal R&D funds tended to be awarded to counties that were more educated than other types of funding.

To view the working paper in full, click here: https://tinyurl.com/ybfsk2wv


NEW ARPA-E ELECTRIC GRID MODERNIZATION CHALLENGE LOOKS TO IMPROVE STATE OF GRID SOFTWARE

The Department of Energy recently announced a funding opportunity announcement (FOA) for Challenge 1 of the Advanced Research Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) Grid Optimization (GO) Competition. The GO Competition is a series of challenges the spur the development and evaluation of grid software solutions with the overall goal being the modernization of electric grid software.

Challenge 1 of the GO Competition is an algorithm competition that examines the security-constrained optimal power flow (SCOPF) problem facing the electric power sector and contain the following basic features:

  • An alternating current (ac) formulation
  • Security constraints (more information to come)
  • Pre-contingency (base-case) operational constraints and post-contingency operational constraints
  • Preventive and corrective actions
  • Transmission (line/transformer) contingency modeling and the corresponding
  • Generator contingency modeling
  • Bus-branch model
  • Load modeling (more information to come)
  • Some constraint violations are included in the objective function

Applications for Challenge 1 must be submitted by September 7. The competition is open to all parties that satisfy the applicable requires specified on the GO Competition website.

To review qualification requirements and for more information about the Go Competition, click here: https://gocompetition.energy.gov/

To apply, click here:  https://tinyurl.com/y9foebt5