October 16, 2015
Capitol Update

In this issue:


Since 1973, ASME has sponsored over 100 Federal Fellows, providing them with an opportunity to serve a one-year term in the Administration or U.S. Congress. Fellows serve as independent, non-biased advisors in engineering, science and technology, bringing a nonpartisan, pragmatic approach to analysis and input which has a profound impact on the decision making process. The result is effective and technologically appropriate public policy based on sound engineering principles.

Applicants for this Fellowship must have a strong energy background.  ASME has long supported a balanced portfolio of energy supplies to meet the nation’s energy needs, including advanced clean coal, petroleum, nuclear, natural gas, waste-to-energy, biomass, solar, wind and hydroelectric power. ASME also supports energy efficient building and transportation technologies, as well as transmission and distribution infrastructure sufficient to satisfy demand under reasonably foreseeable contingencies.  For more information, review ASME’s General Position Paper entitled “Securing America’s Energy Future” at: http://ppec.asme.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/PS14-24-Securing-Americas-Energy-Future.pdf

Policymakers are addressing major legislative and policy issues that are facing our nation and as federal legislation becomes increasingly technical, the need for engineering expertise is essential, which is why this program is so invaluable.  Read more about the opportunities and challenges confronting our current and past fellows, including the articles below, by visiting our energy issues webpage at http://ppec.asme.org/key-issues/energy/:

  • “A Milestone Year for the ASME Federal Government Fellows Program” highlights the first time in the program's history, three female ASME members — Gloria Wiens, Briana Tomboulian and Maureen Fang — served simultaneously as ASME Federal Government Fellows.
  • From September 2013 through August 2014, Mahantesh Hiremath, Ph.D., served as one of two ASME Congressional Fellows who spent a year-long term on the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology (SST) providing engineering and scientific insight to policymakers in Washington, D.C. Learn more about Dr. Hiremath's experience at http://ppec.asme.org/washington-insider/former-asme-congressional-fellow-reflects-on-his-year-in-congress/

To learn more about the ASME Federal Government Fellowship Program, or to apply for the ASME Congressional Fellowship, please visit: https://www.asme.org/about-asme/get-involved/advocacy-government-relations/federal-fellows-program/congressional-fellowships

This ASME Congressional Fellowship is sponsored by the ASME Foundation, the Petroleum Division and Government Relations.


Last week, the House Science Subcommittee on Space held a hearing on the impact of the president’s budget on programs being built for a trip to Mars and other deep space destinations. Witnesses discussed NASA’s plans for future major tests and milestones of the Space Launch System (SLS) and Orion crew vehicle, as well as how the administration’s budget request affects these programs.

The hearing took place a day after the Obama administration released its Journey to Mars report which contained no budget, schedule, or deadlines.

The House Science Committee’s NASA Authorization Act for 2016 and 2017 sought to restore $440 million to crucial programs being developed to return U.S. astronauts to deep space destinations such as the Moon and Mars. That bill also restored funding for planetary science accounts that have been responsible for missions such as the recent Pluto fly-by, in addition to providing full funding for the other space exploration programs such as Commercial Crew and Commercial Cargo programs.

Additional information on the hearing is available at: https://science.house.gov/legislation/hearings/subcommittee-space-hearing-deep-space-exploration-examining-impact-president-s


The Energy Department (DOE) today announced more than $34 million for two projects that will aim to improve the protection of the U.S. electric grid and oil and natural gas infrastructure from cyber threats. The University of Arkansas and the University of Illinois will assemble teams with expertise in power systems engineering and the computer science of cybersecurity to develop new technologies that will help protect energy delivery systems which control the physical processes that result in the delivery of continuous and reliable power. 

Under the Academic Collaboration for Cybersecurity of Energy Delivery Systems Research and Development for the Energy Sector Funding Opportunity Announcement, the Universities of Arkansas and Illinois and their partners will engage with utilities and suppliers of energy delivery systems and components from early research through the eventual transition for use by the energy sector. Lessons learned from these R&D efforts will be shared through academic outreach to ensure that the technical knowledge also transitions to the energy sector. For more information about the two specific awards, please visit: http://energy.gov/articles/energy-department-invests-over-34-million-improve-protection-nation-s-energy-infrastructure

This investment underscores the vital role that strong cybersecurity technologies and practices play in creating a modern power grid that is reliable, resilient, and secure, as discussed in the Energy Department’s Quadrennial Technology Review (QTR) released last month. Additional about the QTR can be found at: http://www.energy.gov/quadrennial-technology-review-2015


The U.S. Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has awarded seven grants totaling more than $490,000 to universities in five states to advance standards education. Under the Standards Services Curricula Development Cooperative Agreement Program, recipients will work with NIST to integrate instruction related to standards and standardization into undergraduate and graduate curriculum at U.S. colleges and universities. Funds under the program can be used for the design, testing, and evaluation of specific innovations in teaching methods, curricula, course content and materials, courses or modules, or other class or student projects.

Among the Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 recipients were:

  • Jackson State University (Jackson, MS., $75,000)
  • University of Hartford (West Hartford, CT, $66,492)
  • University of Houston (Houston, TX, $74,887)
  • And University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, PA, $66,694).

More information about these awardees can be found at: http://ppec.asme.org/key-issues/standards/

The announcement of the FY 2016 program is expected to be made in early 2016. Information on education grants awarded in FY 2012, FY 2013 and FY 2014 may be found on the NIST Standards Coordination Office web pages at: http://gsi.nist.gov/global/index.cfm/L1-8/L2-55


The National Science Foundation (NSF) and the U.S. Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) recently announced the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor will lead a consortium to identify new, emerging areas of advanced manufacturing that would benefit from shared public-private investment in research and development, education, and training.

The Alliance for Manufacturing Foresight (MForesight) will provide a channel for rapid input from industrial, academic and other private sectors on future manufacturing technologies. Its work will help align advanced manufacturing research with national priorities and challenges to ensure efficient use of federal and private funding for the greatest possible return on investment.

Recommended by the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology in its 2014 report, “Accelerating U.S. Advanced Manufacturing,” the consortium will study needs, challenges, and opportunities facing U.S. manufacturing, producing studies within an anticipated shorter-than-usual turnaround time. NSF and NIST announced a competition for the new consortium in April 2015.

ASME Fellow Sridhar Kota, Herrick Professor of Engineering, will lead the University of Michigan's work on MForesight, which has already partnered with 30 thought leaders from industry, professional associations and academia. MForesight aspires to create an inclusive advanced manufacturing community with greater communication and collaboration across a broad spectrum of sectors.

For further information and to learn how to participate, visit: http://ppec.asme.org/key-issues/manufacturing-innovation-competitiveness/

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