July 24, 2015
Capitol Update

In this issue:


ASME ADVANCED MANUFACTURING FELLOWSHIP OPPORTUNITY AT DIGITAL MANUFACTURING & DESIGN INNOVATION INSTITUTE

ASME is pleased to announce an “Advanced Manufacturing Fellowship” opportunity at the Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute (DMDII) in Chicago, Illinois. The aim of DMDII is to focus on and accelerate the adoption of Digital Manufacturing and Design technologies in the U.S. manufacturing sector and to increase domestic manufacturing competitiveness by:

  • Fostering a highly collaborative infrastructure for the open exchange of Digital Manufacturing and Design information and research.
  • Facilitating the development, evaluation, and deployment of Digital Manufacturing and Design technologies.
  • Engaging with non-profits, educational institutions and companies to supply education and training in Digital Manufacturing and Design technologies to create an adaptive, leading workforce.
  • Serving as a national institute with regional and national impact on Digital Manufacturing and Design capabilities.
  • Linking and integrating US companies with existing public, private or not-for-profit industrial and economic development resources, and business incubators, with an emphasis on assisting small- and medium-sized enterprises and early-stage companies (start-ups).

The ASME Advanced Manufacturing Fellow will be expected to provide scientific, technical, curricular and intellectual leadership, and analytical support contributing to the advancement of the Institute’s goals, particularly as they apply to workforce development and educational outreach. Specifically, the Advanced Manufacturing Fellow would lead efforts to develop a “Digital Manufacturing and Design 101” type of course and curricula materials. The Fellow will serve as a liaison with internal and external partners, including policymakers, to help DMDII enhance its network of education and workforce development solution providers and help organize the development of the Body of Knowledge on Digital Manufacturing and Design process, both those emerging and those currently in practice, that offer promise for engineering design and technical implementation in the production process.
The ASME Advanced Manufacturing Fellow will also support the DMDII partners in the development and marketing of online, hybrid and traditional continuing education courses and workshops in the interest of developing the current engineering and technician workforce in industry, and provide instruction and content resources to engineering and technology faculty at universities and community colleges to assist in evolving their curricula to prepare the technical workforce of the near future with the latest in Digital Manufacturing and Design tools and techniques. Additional information about DMDII is available at http://dmdii.uilabs.org/
For more information on the Fellowship and to apply, please visit http://ppec.asme.org/latest-news/asme-advanced-manufacturing-fellowship-opportunity-digital-manufacturing-design-innovation-institute/


HOUSE ENERGY & COMMERCE COMMITTEE INTRODUCES DRAFT ENERGY PACKAGE

The House Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power held a markup of draft energy legislation this week, marking the first in a series of hearings that will formalize a comprehensive energy package for consideration later this year. The markup follows a series of hearings bipartisan negotiations to produce the building blocks of a comprehensive energy package.

The draft legislation’s initial focus falls under four broad categories: Modernizing and Protecting Infrastructure; 21st Century Workforce; Energy Security and Diplomacy; and Energy Efficiency and Accountability. Highlights for each section include:

  • Infrastructure reforms focus on FERC’s role and procedures in siting interstate pipelines as well as a host of grid/utility reliability, cybersecurity, and emergency preparedness policies and procedures.
  • Workforce reforms focus on improving education and training opportunities for energy and manufacturing-related jobs, and the bill includes new direct assistance to schools, community colleges, non-profits, and other types of training organizations.
  • Energy security policy reforms direct the Secretary of Energy to establish a new energy security valuation method for national energy policies, a North American energy security and cooperation plan, and a Strategic Petroleum Reserve readiness plan.
  • Energy efficiency reforms include a host of building code related measures and includes language related to voluntary verification programs for a range of air conditioning, furnace, boiler, heat pump, and water heater products.

A full summary of the legislation is available at: http://docs.house.gov/meetings/IF/IF03/20150722/103806/HMKP-114-IF03-20150722-SD004.pdf

The draft bill text is available at: http://energycommerce.house.gov/sites/republicans.energycommerce.house.gov/files/114/07-20-15%20EP%20Subcomm%20Draft.pdf


OBAMA ADMINISTRATION OUTLINES SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY PRIORITIES FOR THE FY 2017 BUDGET

Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) Director Dr. John P. Holdren has issued a memorandum outlining the Administration's multi-agency science and technology priorities for formulating Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 budget submissions to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The priorities will require investments in R&D; science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education; STEM workforce development; technology transfer; R&D infrastructure; and scientific-collection management.

The science and technology priorities include the following:

  • Global climate change. Agencies should advance the goals and objectives of the 2012-2021 U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) Strategic Plan, as well as the complementary science agenda that underpins the President's Climate Action Plan.
  • Clean energy. The President’s Climate Action Plan outlines several key objectives including promoting American leadership in renewable energy (including manufacturing for these technologies and a modernized electric grid); unlocking innovation in other key clean energy technologies; building a clean and efficient 21st century transportation sector; and cutting energy waste in homes, businesses, and factories.
  • Advanced manufacturing and industries of the future. Priority investments include nanotechnology, robotics, the Materials Genome Initiative, and cyber-physical systems and their application to smart cities.
  • Innovation in life sciences, biology, and neuroscience. Among the top priority programs are those that support fundamental biological discovery research that could generate unexpected, high-impact scientific and technological advances in health, energy, and food security.
  • R&D for informed policy-making and management. A diverse range of agency missions (e.g. natural resource management protecting health and the environment; global health security needs to prevent, detect, and respond to emerging infectious diseases) benefit from R&D that strengthens the scientific basis for decision-making.

The complete “Multi-Agency Science and Technology Priorities for the FY 2017 Budget” document may be read at: http://ppec.asme.org/key-issues/research-and-development/ under “Issue Reports”.


GRASSLEY, MURRAY, BLUNT, HEITKAMP LEAD BIPARTISAN CALL ON EPA TO BOOST BIODIESEL VOLUMES

Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Patty Murray (D-WA), Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) are leading a bipartisan group of 36 senators in urging the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to increase the proposed volumes it set for biodiesel production under the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). 

“While the proposal is a positive step for biodiesel, we remain concerned that the proposed biodiesel volumes for 2016 and 2017 fail to adequately recognize the domestic biodiesel industry’s production capacity and its ability to increase production,” the senators wrote to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy.   “Biodiesel is the first EPA-designated advanced biofuel under the RFS to reach commercial scale production nationwide. It is exceeding the goals that Congress envisioned when it created the RFS with bipartisan support in 2005, while creating jobs, generating tax revenues, reducing pollution, and improving energy security. We urge you to support continued growth in the domestic biodiesel industry by making reasonable and sustainable increases in the biodiesel volumes for 2016 and 2017 in the final rule.”

The senators noted that the EPA’s prior delays in setting biodiesel volumes led to tremendous uncertainty and hardship for U.S. biodiesel producers and thousands of their employees, causing reduced production and even shutdowns, leading to layoffs and lost economic productivity.

Also, the agency’s decision earlier this year to allow imports from Argentinean renewable fuel producers to participate in the RFS must be considered, and biodiesel volumes must be set at high enough levels to prevent displacement of domestic production, the senators wrote.

The EPA’s proposed volumes for 2014 through 2017 are expected to become final by November 30, giving the agency an opportunity to increase them before then.  The public comment period on the current proposal closes July 27th.

The text of the senators’ letter is available here: http://www.grassley.senate.gov/sites/default/files/judiciary/upload/EPA%20Biodiesel%20RVO%20July%2020%202015.pdf


NASA SELECTS LEADING-EDGE TECHNOLOGY CONCEPTS FOR CONTINUED STUDY

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has selected seven technology proposals for continued study under Phase II of the agency's Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) Program. The selections are based on the potential to transform future aerospace missions, introduce new capabilities or significantly improve current approaches to building and operating aerospace systems.

The selected proposals address a range of visionary concepts, including metallic lithium combustion for long-term robotics operations, submarines that explore the oceans of icy moons of the outer planets, and a swarm of tiny satellites that map gravity fields and characterize the properties of small moons and asteroids.

NASA selected these projects through a peer-review process that evaluated innovativeness and technical viability. All projects are still in the early stages of development, most requiring 10 or more years of concept maturation and technology development before use on a NASA mission.

NASA's Space Technology Mission Directorate innovates, develops, tests and flies hardware for use in future missions. Through programs such as NIAC, the directorate is demonstrating that early investment and partnership with scientists, engineers and citizen inventors from across the nation can provide technological dividends and help maintain America's leadership in the new global technology economy.

For a complete list of the selected proposals and more information about NIAC, visit:
http://ppec.asme.org/key-issues/research-and-development/ and look under “Regulations and Announcements”.


NSB WELCOMES NOMINATIONS FOR 2016 HONORARY AWARDS

Each year, the National Science Board (NSB) pays tribute to remarkable contributions and public service in science and engineering through its Vannevar Bush and Public Service awards. NSB is currently accepting nominations for its 2016 honorary awards through Thursday, October 1, 2015.

Named after the gifted visionary and dynamic public servant who was behind the creation of the National Science Foundation (NSF), NSB's Vannevar Bush Award honors life-long leaders who have made exceptional contributions toward the welfare of humankind and the nation through public service activities in science, technology, and public policy. Past recipients include former Lockheed Martin CEO Norman Augustine, former science advisor and NSF director Neal Lane, and Maxine Singer, former Carnegie Institution president. Nomination instructions are available on the Vannevar Bush Award website and all recipients are listed on the NSB site. Additional information can be found at: http://www.nsf.gov/nsb/awards/bush.jsp

NSB's Public Service Award honors individuals and groups for substantial contributions to increasing public understanding of science and engineering in the United States. These contributions may be in a wide variety of areas, including mass media, social media, education, training programs and entertainment. Moira Gunn, Host of Tech Nation, Craig Barrett, of Intel Corporation, and the PBS series "NOVA," are past awardees. A complete list of recipients, as well as nomination instructions, can be found on the award website at http://www.nsf.gov/nsb/awards/public.jsp


FERC EYES DEVELOPMENT OF SUPPLY CHAIN CYBER CONTROLS IN NEW RELIABILITY STANDARDS

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is working to improve the cyber security of the bulk electric system by proposing revisions to critical infrastructure protection (CIP) Reliability Standards. The revisions would address risks to communication networks and related bulk electric system assets and the development of standards for supply chain management security controls to protect the bulk electric system from security vulnerabilities and malware threats.

The revisions are included in a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that seeks comment on seven updated CIP Reliability Standards proposed by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC). NERC is the Commission-certified electric reliability organization, and the new Reliability Standards would address issues ranging from personnel and training to physical security of the bulk electric system’s cyber systems and information protection. The Commission’s proposal would modify the scope and applicability of certain CIP Standards to protect communication links and sensitive data among bulk electric system Control Centers, and seeks comments on controls for transient electronic devices used on the bulk electric system.

Regarding supply chain management, recent malware campaigns targeting supply chain vendors highlight a gap in protection under the CIP Reliability Standards. In this new type of campaign, malware is injected into hardware or software components used for operations, or tools used to perform maintenance or other services on network components when in the control of a hardware, software or maintenance vendor, prior to delivery to a customer.

FERC is seeking comment on the proposal, what would constitute a reasonable time frame to address supply chain management, and the features of such a standard. The goal is a forward-looking, objective-driven standard that encompasses activities in the system development life cycle from research and development, design and manufacturing to acquisition, delivery, integration, operations, retirement and eventual disposal of the equipment and services.

The controls should accommodate differences among companies with regard to procurement, vendor relations, system requirements, information technology implementation and privileged commercial or financial information, using the National Institutes of Standards and Technology (NIST SP 800-161) as guidance.  A standard pertaining to supply chain management security would:

  • Address only the obligations of entities registered under FERC reliability rules;
  • Be forward-looking and not require abrogation or renegotiation of contracts;
  • Set goals about what to do while allowing flexibility for how an entity achieves those goals;
  • Allow for exceptions given the diversity of acquisition processes; and,
  • Be specific enough so that compliance obligations are clear and enforceable.

FERC also directed NERC to provide additional information as to why its Reliability Standards propose to limit risks posed by transient devices such as flash drives to only medium- and high-risk bulk electric service cyber systems. Omitting low-risk cyber systems from the standards could create a gap in protection, as malware inserted by a flash drive or laptop computer at a single low-impact substation could propagate through a network of many substations without encountering a single security control under NERC’s proposal.

Comments on the proposal are due within 60 days of publication in the Federal Register. To read the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, visit http://ferc.gov/whats-new/comm-meet/2015/071615/E-1.pdf

Visit the ASME Public Policy Education Center at http://ppec.asme.org/ for daily news and policy developments, including the following:

ASME Government Relations
1828 L Street, NW, Suite 810
Washington, DC 20036
Website: http://www.asme.org/about-asme/advocacy-government-relations