July 13, 2018
Capitol Update

In this issue:


DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE RELEASES NEW DIGITAL ENGINEERING STRATEGY

The Pentagon recently released a set of guidelines explaining how it plans to incorporate digital engineering into its oversight of the country’s defense systems. The “Digital Engineering Strategy” is broken down into five strategic goals that explicitly outline this plan through a digital engineering initiative. As technological developments continue to advance at a rapid pace and transcending all areas of society, the Department of Defense (DOD) is looking to keep pace with these changes by “transforming its engineering practices to digital engineering, incorporating technological innovations into an integrated, digital, model-based approach.”

The five strategic goals listed in the report are:

  • Formalize the development, integration and use of models to inform enterprise and program decision making
  • Provide an enduring, authoritative source of truth
  • Incorporate technological innovation to improve the engineering practice
  • Establish a supporting infrastructure and environments to perform activities, collaborate, and communicate across stakeholders
  • Transform the culture and workforce to adopt and support digital engineering across the lifecycle

Michael D. Griffin, DOD Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering explained in the report that “The goals promote the use of digital representations of systems and components and the use of digital artifacts as a technical means of communication across a diverse set of stakeholders. The strategy addresses a range of disciplines involved in the acquisition and procurement of national defense systems, and it encourages innovation in the way we build, test, field, and sustain our national defense systems and how we train and shape the workforce to use these practices.”

To review the strategy in full, click here: https://www.acq.osd.mil/se/docs/2018-DES.pdf


DIRECTOR OF LABORATORY OPERATIONS BOARD TIPPED TO BE NEW ACTING ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR ENERGY EFFICIENCY AND RENEWABLE ENERGY OFFICE

It is being reported that Director for National Laboratories and Director of Laboratory Operations Board, Cathy Tripodi is tipped to become the new Acting Assistant Secretary for the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Office (EERE). The Laboratory Operations Board is the main forum for DOE leadership to address management challenges, as well as monitor efficiency and effectiveness for areas that affect the National Laboratories. The board is comprised of senior management from both DOE and the National Laboratories. Ms. Tripodi has been with the DOE since the beginning of 2017.

The White House previously nominated Dan Simmons to lead EERE. Mr. Simmons also joined DOE in 2017, prior to which he served as Vice President at the Institute for Energy Research.  He had already started the confirmation process with a confirmation hearing before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources last month. However in recent email correspondence with Politico, Mr. Simmons’ former chief of staff announced that “…Daniel has moved to Environmental Management to serve as an adviser to their leadership team.”

For further information about the DOE EERE Office, click here: https://www.energy.gov/eere/office-energy-efficiency-renewable-energy


ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY NO LONGER ENFORCING PRODUCTION CAP ON HIGHER-POLLUTING GLIDER TRUCKS

The Environmental Protection Agency recently announced that it will no longer enforce the 2018-2018 production cap on glider trucks. Glider trucks are essentially refurbished engines that are capable of producing up to 55 times the amount of air pollution compared to brand new engines with modern emissions controls. Prior to this announcement, the EPA had a cap on the number of glider trucks manufacturers could produce a year. The 2018-2019 limit imposed in January was 300.

While they may be capable of producing more air pollution, many manufacturers argue that glider trucks are significantly less expensive to operate. In July of last year senior officials from three glider makers wrote to Administrator Pruitt asking him to reconsider the Phase 2 Rule, established in 2016, placing stringent requirements on glider trucks. In their letter, the glider makers argued that these strict new regulations would be detrimental to the industry and “significantly curtail American manufacturing and effectively shut down the glider industry and the nearly 20,000 jobs it supports across the nation.”

Prior to the imposition of the production cap, in 2015 roughly 10,000 glider trucks were sold nationally, a number that constituted approximately four percent of new heavy-duty truck sales. EPA spokeswoman stated that the agency is considering delaying the production limit cap until December 2019, by which time it hopes to have permanently repealed the cap.

To view the 2017 letter written to Administrator Pruitt, click here: https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2017-07/documents/hd-ghg-fr-fitzgerald-recons-petition-2017-07-10.pdf


FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION CONSIDERING NEW BIRD-INGESTION OPERATION REQUIREMENT FOR AIRPLANE ENGINES

The Federal Aviation Administration recently announced that it is considering a new requirement that airplane manufacturers can demonstrate that their aircraft engines can remain operational even after ingesting a medium sized bird. In a new federal register notice of proposed rulemaking, the FAA states that manufacturers must show that if a bird is sucked into one of the engines during take-off or landing, with the fan operating at the lowest expected speed, the engine would still remain operational.

The action comes nine years following US Airways Flight 1549, which was forced to make an emergency landing on the Hudson River in New York after it struck a flock of geese after taking off from LaGuardia airport. Following the incident, the FAA started looking in to how to improve engine durability and avoid similar incidents in the future. In 2015, the Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee produced a report that modern fan blades are wider than those when the initial “medium flocking bird” test was developed, consequently the standards and regulations need to be updated.

To view the official notice in the Federal Register, click here:   https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2018/07/06/2018-14270/medium-flocking-bird-test-at-climb-condition


KEEPING COAL AND NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS OPEN FOR TWO ADDITIONAL YEARS HAS GOOD AND BAD EFFECTS STATES NEW REPORT

Earlier this summer, the Department of Energy (DOE) submitted a proposal to purchase electricity from several coal and nuclear power plants to strengthen the electric grid and prevent the “premature” retirement of these power-generating facilities. As previously reported in the June 8 edition of Capitol Update, the proposal asserts that resilience of the grid relies on a sturdy source of power and that “Recent and announced retirements of fuel-secure electric generation capacity across the continental United States are undermining the security of the electric power system because the system’s resilience depends on those resources.”

In response to this proposal, Washington-based independent, nonprofit research group Resources for the Future (RFF) examined what would happen should the retirement of these coal and nuclear power plants be delayed by two years. Their findings were recently published in the report, “Retirements and Funerals: The Emission, Mortality, and Coal-Mine Employment Effects of a Two-Year Delay in Coal and Nuclear Power Plant Retirements.” The report finds a mix of positive and negative consequences should the proposal go into effect. Among the positives, keeping the coal and nuclear power plants open two additional years would support 790 coal-mine jobs. Conversely, the report also finds that this delay would “be likely to reduce economy-wide employment.”

To read the DOE proposal, click here: https://www.scribd.com/document/380740746/DOE-Coal-Nuke-Subsidy-Plan-1

To read the RFF report, click here: http://www.rff.org/files/document/file/RFF%20WP%2018-18.pdf

The articles contained in Capitol Update are not positions of ASME or any of its sub-entities, unless specifically noted as such. This publication is designed to inform ASME members about issues of concern being debated and discussed in the halls of congress, in the states and in the federal agencies.

ASME Government Relations
1828 L Street, NW, Suite 810
Washington, DC 20036

Website: http://www.asme.org/about-asme/advocacy-government-relations

Paul Fakes is the Regulatory and Government Relations Manager, Technology Policy. He covers Standards and Energy and Environment.

Samantha Fijacko is the Senior Government Relations Representative. She covers Advanced Manufacturing, Robotics and R&D.

Anne Nadler is the Government Relations Representative. She covers Bioengineering, STEM Education and R&D.