March 8, 2019
Capitol Update

In this issue:


PENTAGON’S NEW “SPACE FORCE” PROPOSAL WILL FALL UNDER JURISDICTION OF THE AIR FORCE

The Pentagon recently sent a proposal to Congress calling for the establishment of a “Space Force,” which would fall under the jurisdiction of the U.S. military. More specifically, the Space Force would fall under the Department of the Air Force, similar to how the Navy oversees the Marine Corps, with the Secretary of the Air Force initially responsible for organization, training and equipping the new military service.

The proposal comes after President Trump ordered the creation of the Space Force last year. In discussing the proposal, Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan explained, “Our approach follows President Trump's bold vision for space and commits resources to deliver more capability faster, ensuring the United States can compete, deter, and, if needed, win in a complex domain.”

The Space Force is projected to cost $2 billion over five years. According to a fact sheet for the proposal, the Pentagon will request $72.4 million in its FY 2020 budget request to cover the costs of 200 personnel supporting the new service. The Space Force will be led by the new Under Secretary of the Air Force for Space, a civilian role that will be filled through a presidential nomination and subsequent Senate confirmation. Once the Space Force is up and running, the Pentagon predicts it will cost roughly $500 million to maintain on an annual basis. However, the proposal fact sheet notes that this figure “will be refined through detailed planning.”

To view the Pentagon’s proposal, click here: https://media.defense.gov/2019/Mar/01/2002095010/-1/-1/1/UNITED-STATES-SPACE-FORCE-LEGISLATIVE-PROPOSAL.PDF

To view the corresponding fact sheet, click here: https://media.defense.gov/2019/Mar/01/2002095013/-1/-1/1/SPACE-FORCE-FACT-SHEET.PDF


AMERICAN WORKFORCE ADVISORY BOARD HOLDS INAUGURAL MEETING AS PART OF ADMINISTRATION’S GOAL TO REVAMP WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS IN THE U.S.

The American Workforce Policy Advisory Board, which is co-chaired by the Secretary of Commerce, Wilbur Ross, and Advisor to the President, Ivanka Trump, recently held its first meeting at the White House. The Board was established pursuant to Executive Order 13845, Executive Order Establishing the President’s National Council for the American Worker, released last year, which calls for a national strategy “to ensure that America’s students and workers have access to affordable, relevant, and innovative education and job training that will equip them to compete and win in the global economy…”

The Advisory Board is comprised of 27 members who run the gamut from government, academia and industry.  The role of the Advisory Board is to work with the National Council in an advisory capacity to identify new ways to fight the skills gap, and improve workforce development and training programs through strong collaboration with industry and academia.

The board will meet on a quarterly basis. The public is welcome to submit statements or questions ahead of time for the board to consider during the meeting.

To view EO 13845 in full, click here: https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/executive-order-establishing-presidents-national-council-american-worker/

For further information on the Advisory Board, including a full list of members, click here: https://www.commerce.gov/americanworker/american-workforce-policy-advisory-board?utm_source=SSTI+Weekly+Digest&utm_campaign=d71d9461a6-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2019_02_28_03_57&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_ecf5992d4c-d71d9461a6-220224561


DIGITAL MANUFACTURING DESIGN AND INNOVATION INSTITUTE TO SPLIT WITH UI LABS AND BECOME ITS OWN INDEPENDENT ORGANIZATION

The Digital Manufacturing Design & Innovation Institute (DMDII) recently announced that it will be undergoing some changes, including a new name and CEO. DMDII is one of 14 institutes that comprise the Manufacturing USA network, a public-private partnership devoted to furthering American manufacturing. DMDII was established in 2014 thanks to $80 million in funding from the Department of Defense with a focus on advancing digital manufacturing and design technology capacities to allow factories to become more efficient and cost-competitive.

With the changes, DMDII will split from UI Labs allowing both to stand as independent organizations. With the split, DMDII is renaming itself MxD, which stands for manufacturing times digital. “Because of their success to date, both labs are now ready to stand on their own and continue to drive change and impact in their respective industries,” said Caralynn Nowinski Collens, UI LABS’ CEO. “They are in very strong positions to fully take control of their own futures in these high-growth markets.”

The newly independent MxD will receive up to $60 million in funding from the Department of Defense over the next five years. Manufacturing USA explains that the goal of the newly independent MxD is to drive the digital future of manufacturing, pioneering new technologies that make America’s industrial base and warfighters more resilient and agile.

For more information on Manufacturing USA and MxD, click here: https://www.manufacturingusa.com/institutes/mxd


NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH REACHES OUT TO U.S. RESEARCH INSTITUTIONS REGARDING UNDISCLOSED CONNECTIONS TO FOREIGN GOVERNMENTS

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recently sent dozens of letters to various U.S. research universities requesting information on specific researchers believed to have undisclosed connections to foreign governments.

In a letter sent to grant recipients last summer, NIH director Francis S. Collins wrote that “foreign entities have mounted systematic programs to influence NIH researchers and peer reviewers.” The letter also noted that the NIH might be in contact with these institutions further to discuss “specific applications, progress reports, policies or personnel from, or affecting, your institution.” In his original letter, Collins noted three areas of concern:

  • Diversion of intellectual property (IP) in grant applications or produced by NIH-supported biomedical research to other entities, including other countries;
  • Sharing of confidential information on grant applications by NIH peer reviewers with others, including foreign entities, or otherwise attempting to influence funding decisions; and
  • Failure by some researchers working at NIH-funded institutions in the U.S. to disclose substantial resources from other organizations, including foreign governments, which threatens to distort decisions about the appropriate use of NIH funds.

An adverse effect of these new letters is that many academic administrators are now hesitant to have any foreign ties whatsoever, including collaborations with foreign researchers located at U.S. universities.


MINNESOTA GOVERNOR TIM WALZ WANTS TO BE 100% SUSTAINABLY SOURCED BY 2050

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz recently introduced a new proposal mandating all energy will be derived from clean sources by 2050. The proposal is similar to one introduced by former California Governor Jerry Brown declaring that that state will receive all energy from clean sources by 2045. Governor Walz’s proposal builds on a goal set by former Governor Tim Pawlenty in 2007, which sought to have Minnesota receive at least a quarter of its electricity from renewable energy sources by 2025. The state has already surpassed this goal.

"The new policies will ensure reliable, affordable and sustainable electricity in Minnesota," Walz said. "They'll also give the state a cleaner, healthier environment and a strong clean-energy economy."

Along with receiving all electricity from renewable energy sources by 2050, the proposal also stipulates that if a utility company adds a new power generator, or replaces an old one, it should prioritize clean energy. Additionally, it expands a program currently in place that assists homeowners in improving their energy efficiency, and provides a greater number of low-income residents with assistance in energy saving projects.

A committee will hear the bill next week, before proceeding to vote on it.


DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY SEEKS PROPOSALS FOR TWO NEW OPPORTUNITIES IN HYDROGEN GENERATION AND FUEL TECHNOLOGY RESEARCH

The Department of Energy recently announced two new funding opportunity announcements (FOA).
The first FOA is for up to $31 million to advance the H2@Scale concept. H2@Scale is aimed at enabling affordable and reliable large-scale hydrogen generation, transport, storage, and utilization in the U.S. across multiple sectors. Topics under this FOA include:

  • Advanced hydrogen storage and infrastructure R&D (up to $9M) including novel materials or hydrogen carriers for transporting and storing hydrogen, and materials for hydrogen infrastructure components.
  • Innovative concepts for hydrogen production and utilization (up to $12M) including advanced water splitting materials, affordable domestic hydrogen production technologies, co-production of hydrogen for additional sources of revenue, and reversible fuel cell technologies.
  • H2@Scale Pilot - integrated production, storage, and fueling systems (up to $10M) including innovative approaches that successfully integrate and optimize the complete system encompassing hydrogen production, storage, distribution, and use.

Concept papers are due April 8, full applications are due May 22.
For further information, including application requirements and instructions, click here: https://eere-exchange.energy.gov/#FoaId600decec-1f68-4c10-bda1-9ed3aadb0735
The second FOA is a $51.5 million opportunity for technology research for trucks, off-road vehicles, and the fuels that power them. These fuels include natural gas, biopower, and hydrogen; heavy-duty freight electrification; hydrogen infrastructure and fuel cell technologies for heavy-duty applications; and energy efficient off-road vehicles.
Topics for this FOA include:

  • Gaseous Fuels Research and Technology Integration for Medium- and Heavy-duty Vehicles (up to $16.5 million) – This topic includes multiple sub-topics, including novel materials for high density gas storage and transport, advanced waste to energy technologies, and technology integration that focus on lowering the cost of and overcoming technical barriers to the use of medium- and heavy-duty natural gas and hydrogen fueled vehicles.
  • Battery Electric Heavy-duty Freight Vehicles (up to $18 million) – Projects will  target specific technical barriers to advanced batteries, electric drive systems, and charging systems, and demonstrate solutions per requirements in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.
  • High Throughput Hydrogen Fueling Technologies for Medium- and Heavy-duty Transportation (up to $6 million) – Projects will develop technologies for fast-fill hydrogen storage and fueling components.
  • High-durability, Low Platinum Group Metal Membrane Electrode Assemblies (MEAs) for Medium- and Heavy-duty Truck Applications (up to $6 million) – Projects will focus on innovative membrane, catalyst, and electrode structures to improve fuel cell durability for heavy-duty truck applications.
  • Energy Efficient Commercial Off-road Vehicles (up to $5 million) – Projects focused on improving the system-level efficiency of off-road vehicles, including technologies such as fluid power systems, high efficiency engines, hybridization, and connected and automated control concepts.

Concept papers for this FOA are due March 29, full applications are due May 15.
For further information, including application requirements and instructions, click here: https://eere-exchange.energy.gov/default.aspx#FoaId4940c6dc-dfe5-43ea-b5ac-f03bf0ea8c83

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