October 30, 2015
Capitol Update

In this issue:


ASME is pleased to announce its second Advanced Manufacturing Fellowship opportunity at America Makes, located in Youngstown, Ohio.

America Makes was created in August 2012 to help the United States grow capabilities and strength in Additive Manufacturing by facilitating collaboration among leaders from business, academia, non-profit organizations and government agencies and focusing on areas that include design, materials, technology, and workforce development.

The ASME Fellow will provide leadership and support in one of the key pillars of America Makes- Workforce and Educational Outreach. Specifically, the fellow will:

  • Help to strategize, prioritize and coordinate the development education/ training programs and resources to accelerate Additive Manufacturing implementation.
  • Serve as a liaison with internal and external partners, including policymakers, to help America Makes enhance its network of education and workforce development solution providers.
  • 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.
  • Organize and curate education resources and update online interface that is used by members and attracts new members to America Makes.

ASME will provide a stipend of $60,000 for this one year Fellowship, which will start in mid- to late 2016. No additional funding will be provided by ASME.  All Fellowship Applicants must be a U.S. citizen and an ASME member at the time of application. The application deadline is January 31, 2016.

For additional information, including the online application, visit http://ppec.asme.org/key-issues/manufacturing-innovation-competitiveness/


ASME, along with the National Science Foundation (NSF), IEEE-USA and the Optical Society of America, hosted an event to celebrate 30 years of new knowledge, innovators and technologies created by NSF’s Engineering Research Centers. The event was held on October 28th in the Cannon House Office Building Caucus Room on Capitol Hill.

NSF’s Engineering Research Centers integrate engineering research and education with technological innovation to transform our economy, health and security. Investments in 57 successful Centers nationwide since the program's inception have led to more than 193 spin-off companies, more than 739 patents and countless research outcomes enabling new technologies.

During the event, 16 currently NSF-supported Centers showcased demonstrations and research findings related to engineering discovery, technologies and tools that have resulted in high-impact achievements and addressed national priorities. Three finalists from the program's Perfect Pitch Contest will succinctly explain their research in the context of societal needs and the broader impact of their success.

For additional information on NSF’s Engineering Research Centers, visit http://ppec.asme.org/key-issues/research-and-development/


Earlier this week, the U.S. House of Representatives introduced resolutions under the Congressional Review Act to disapprove of two final rules issued by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for new and existing power plants. The resolutions stand no chance of becoming law, but lay out Republicans’ argument that the Obama administration is pursuing a regulatory cap and trade scheme that will drive up electricity prices, cost jobs, threaten grid reliability, and make our country less competitive globally.

For additional information on the House resolutions, please visit: http://energycommerce.house.gov/fact-sheet/111bd-congressional-review-act-resolutions

In the other chamber, U.S. Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), along with 47 Senate co-sponsors, have similarly introduced a resolution disapproving of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed Clean Power Plan regulations for existing power sources. The Senate resolution can be found at: http://www.capito.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/10.27.2015%20Capito%20CRA%20Resolution.pdf

Also in the House on October 22nd, the House Energy and Power Subcommittee continued its examination of the two final rules and a third proposed rule to regulate carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from new and existing fossil fuel-fired power plants. The hearing was entitled, “EPA’s CO2 Regulations for New and Existing Power Plants: Legal Perspectives.”

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) has said the President's climate change agenda amounts to "a massive economy-wide energy tax." The Republican from Michigan drew a comparison between Democrats' past failed attempts to pass a cap-and-trade bill to reduce emissions, and the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) recently finalized Clean Power Plan. According to Upton, a cap-and-trade system would place a hard limit on emissions, and force power plants and other emitters to buy emission credits if they need to exceed those caps.

Detailed information on the House hearing is available at: http://energycommerce.house.gov/hearing/epa%E2%80%99s-co2-regulations-new-and-existing-power-plants-legal-perspectives

More information on the Clean Power Plan is available at http://ppec.asme.org/key-issues/energy/


The House Science Subcommittees on Energy and Research and Technology held a joint hearing entitled, “Cybersecurity for Power Systems” on October 21st. The purpose of the hearing was to examine efforts by federal agencies, industry, and the Department of Energy national labs to mitigate cybersecurity threats to the U.S. power supply. Witnesses outlined operating techniques and technology that can be used to prevent system vulnerability to cyber-attacks in the electric sector.

America’s electric grid is being modernized through an increased use of “smart grid” technology and distributed energy sources. However, this modernization also increases the risk of cyber-attack. While smart grid technology uses digital information and control technology to improve reliability, security, and efficiency of the electric grid, adding technology that increases the interconnectedness of industrial control and IT systems can increase its vulnerability to cyber-attack.

Specific areas of vulnerability include:

  • The Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system that has been in use since the 1970s. As these legacy systems were not designed with IT network vulnerabilities in mind, digital security features were not integrated into their industrial control systems.
  • The integration of distributed generation and digital operating systems in conventional power plants. While distributed generation and micro-grids can increase grid resiliency in the event of a disruption, more access points for cyber-attacks are created as distributed energy sources and users (e.g., plug-in electric vehicles) are added to power grid.
  • The increasing integration of “smart grid” technology. While the vast majority of America’s electric power grid today primarily delivers electricity in a one-way flow from generator to outlet, the number of interconnected smart grid devices is only expected to grow, with industry experts estimating that there could be as many as 50 billion interconnected smart devices in the world by 2020. This increased use of smart grid technology adding automatic two-way communication between distribution and consumption sites creates cybersecurity vulnerabilities to the system as a whole.

Due in part to the number of agencies involved in the process, federal and state cyber threat mitigation efforts are often burdened by different and unclear regulatory authorities, lack of monitoring to ensure industry standards are met, slow communication between agencies, and effective information sharing between industry and relevant federal entities. These challenges have been repeatedly identified by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

Additional information on the hearing, including the prepared statements of the witnesses, may be viewed at: https://science.house.gov/legislation/hearings/subcommittee-energy-and-subcommittee-research-and-technology-hearing


A report that resulted from a workshop jointly funded by the Semiconductor Research Corporation (SRC) and National Science Foundation (NSF) outlines key factors limiting progress in computing--particularly related to energy consumption--and novel research that could overcome these barriers.

The findings and recommendations in the report are in alignment with the nanotechnology-inspired Grand Challenge for Future Computing announced on October 20th by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. The Grand Challenge calls for new approaches to produce computing systems capable of operating with the efficiency of the human brain.

Energy efficiency is vital to improving performance at all levels. These levels range from devices and transistors to large information technology systems and from small sensors at the edge of the Internet of Things to large data centers in cloud and supercomputing systems.

Performance improvements today are limited by energy inefficiencies that result in computing systems overheating and experiencing thermal management issues. The electronic circuits in computer chips still operate far from any fundamental limits to energy efficiency, and much of the energy used by today's computers is expended moving data between memory and their central processors.

But while the pace of performance increases has slowed, the amount of data computer users produce is exploding. By 2020, an estimated 44 zettabytes of data (1 zettabyte equals 1 trillion gigabytes) will be created on an annual basis, according to a 2014 IDC study.

For more information about this new report or the Grand Challenge, go to: http://ppec.asme.org/key-issues/energy/


The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) recently launched a new website so the world can see images of the full, sunlit side of the Earth every day. The images are taken by a NASA camera one million miles away on the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR), a partnership between NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the U.S. Air Force.

Once a day NASA will post at least a dozen new color images of Earth acquired from 12 to 36 hours earlier by NASA’s Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera (EPIC). Each daily sequence of images will show the Earth as it rotates, thus revealing the whole globe over the course of a day. The new website also features an archive of EPIC images searchable by date and continent.

EPIC is a four megapixel CCD camera and telescope. The color Earth images are created by combining three separate single-color images to create a photographic-quality image equivalent to a 12-megapixel camera. The camera takes a series of 10 images using different narrowband filters -- from ultraviolet to near infrared -- to produce a variety of science products. The red, green and blue channel images are used to create the color images. Each image is about three megabytes in size.

For daily images from EPIC, visit: http://epic.gsfc.nasa.gov/

More information about the DSCOVR mission can be found at: http://www.nesdis.noaa.gov/DSCOVR/

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