February 20, 2015
Capitol Update

In this issue:

 

DOE to Create Office of Technology Transitions

The Department of Energy (DOE) has announced that it will be creating an office dedicated to promoting technology transfers (OTT) from the laboratory to the market.

The office will work closely with the national laboratories and engage with industry to commercialize technology and strengthen the global competitiveness of U.S. industries based on scientific and technological innovations. The new office will oversee the dedicated 0.9 percent of DOE's research and development budget that the 2005 energy bill required to be directed to advance technology transfer and commercialization. It will be managed by the Director of Technology Transfer, a position that has remained officially unfilled since early 2013.

Jetta Wong, a senior official from the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, will be acting director of OTT and is under consideration for the final appointment, Secretary of Energy Moniz said. The secretary said he hopes to fill the director role within the next few months.

For more detailed information, refer to: http://energy.gov/articles/energy-department-announces-new-office-technology-transitions

 

ARPA-E Announces Start-up Companies, Strategic Partnerships and Private Sector Funding at 2015 Innovation Summit

The Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) highlighted that many of its innovative projects are making significant technical and commercial progress towards ensuring America’s economic and energy security. At the start of the sixth annual ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit, the Agency emphasized that its projects are continuing to form new companies, strategic partnerships, and secure private sector funding to help move ARPA-E technologies closer to the market and provide options to transform the U.S. and global energy landscape.
 
At least 30 ARPA-E project teams have formed new companies to advance their technologies and more than 37 ARPA-E projects have partnered with other government agencies for further development. Additionally, 34 ARPA-E projects have attracted more than $850 million in private-sector follow-on funding after ARPA-E’s investment of approximately $135 million and several technologies have already been incorporated into products that are being sold in the market. To date, ARPA-E has invested approximately $1.1 billion across more than 400 projects through 23 focused programs and two open funding solicitations (OPEN 2009 and OPEN 2012).

The full list of ARPA-E projects that have formed start-up companies, fostered public partnerships and secured follow-on private-sector funding is available at: http://ppec.asme.org/key-issues/energy/

The Agency also released three videos at this year’s ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit that highlight the achievements of several ARPA-E projects, as well as the Agency’s unique Technology to Market program. The new videos feature project teams from AutoGrid, Arkansas Power Electronics International, Inc., Ambri, Inc., BlackPak, Inc., Baldor Electric Company and EaglePicher Technologies, LLC. The videos are available on ARPA-E’s YouTube channel at: https://www.youtube.com/user/ARPAEGOV

 

GAO Lists Energy, Environment Programs on 'High Risk List'

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) included several energy and environment government programs on its list of federal projects at high risk of waste and fraud. The full list can be found at http://gao.gov/products/GAO-15-290

GAO's "high risk list" cites wide-ranging problems across the federal government, ranging from Medicare and Medicaid to the IRS, as well as cybersecurity and care of military veterans. GAO issues the report every two years at the start of the new Congress.

Also included on the watchdog's report are the Department of Energy's (DOE) handling of radioactive waste sites; U.S. EPA's backlog in assessing toxic chemicals; funding to repair and rebuild the nation's infrastructure; a potential gap in weather data as more satellites fall into disrepair; and, managing climate change risks to the federal government.

The 404-page report may be viewed at: http://ppec.asme.org/key-issues/energy/

Both the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs and the House Oversight and Government Reform committees held hearings on the GAO report on its release date. Additional information about these hearings can be found at: http://www.hsgac.senate.gov/hearings/risky-business-examining-gaos-2015-list-of-high-risk-government-programs and http://oversight.house.gov/hearing/gaos-high-risk-report-25-years-problematic-practices/, respectively.

 

President Issues Memorandum on the Domestic Use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) included several energy and environment government programs on its list of federal projects at high risk of waste and fraud. The full list can be found at http://gao.gov/products/GAO-15-290

GAO's "high risk list" cites wide-ranging problems across the federal government, ranging from Medicare and Medicaid to the IRS, as well as cybersecurity and care of military veterans. GAO issues the report every two years at the start of the new Congress.

Also included on the watchdog's report are the Department of Energy's (DOE) handling of radioactive waste sites; U.S. EPA's backlog in assessing toxic chemicals; funding to repair and rebuild the nation's infrastructure; a potential gap in weather data as more satellites fall into disrepair; and, managing climate change risks to the federal government.

The 404-page report may be viewed at: http://ppec.asme.org/key-issues/energy/

Both the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs and the House Oversight and Government Reform committees held hearings on the GAO report on its release date. Additional information about these hearings can be found at: http://www.hsgac.senate.gov/hearings/risky-business-examining-gaos-2015-list-of-high-risk-government-programs and http://oversight.house.gov/hearing/gaos-high-risk-report-25-years-problematic-practices/, respectively.

 

NIST Requests Round Two Comments on its Cryptographic Standards Process

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is seeking comments on a revised draft document that details the principles and processes it will follow to develop its cryptographic standards and guidelines. Comments will be collected through March 27, 2015.

This second draft of NIST IR7977: NIST Cryptographic Standards and Guidelines provides more detail and identifies new policies and procedures that were not in the draft released for a two-month comment period in February 2014. The updates reflect feedback received in the public comments and a July 2014 report by an independent review committee.

The revisions to the first draft include new principles to ensure the usability of standards and guidelines and to encourage innovation while protecting intellectual property. The second draft also details how NIST will ensure balance, transparency, openness and integrity in its development of cryptographic standards and guidelines, and poses several questions to reviewers.

The document contains an expanded section on engaging NIST's primary cryptographic stakeholders within federal agencies, voluntary standards developing organizations and the research community. The new processes will ensure that NIST attributes to the NSA all algorithms, standards or guidelines contributed by the agency's staff, and acknowledges all comments received from the NSA.

The draft also includes a more detailed explanation of the steps NIST will follow to develop a new cryptographic standard or guideline—from the initial identification of the need and requirements, development and review of a standard or guideline, through maintenance and possible withdrawal of existing standards and guidelines.

NIST plans to finalize NIST IR 7977 in 2015, after reviewing and considering all comments received on this draft. The document can be found at http://ppec.asme.org/key-issues/standards/ under “Regulations and Announcements”. Comments may be submitted to crypto-review@nist.gov

 

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