September 5, 2014
Capitol Update

In this issue:

 

NCEES APPROVES REVISED APPROACH TO EDUCATION INITIATIVE

House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers introduced a short-term Continuing Resolution (CR) (H.J.Res.124) to prevent a government shutdown at the end of the fiscal year on September 30, 2014.

During the recent National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) meeting in Seattle, the U.S. engineering and surveying licensing boards of which NCEES is comprised of, “voted to modify the approach to requiring additional education for initial engineering licensure by removing specific language in the NCEES Model Law and Model Rules, originally intended to be effective in 2020.” Included in the vote, annual meeting delegates instead decided to develop an official NCEES position statement that supports additional engineering education beyond a bachelor’s degree.

In the Model Law, the additional education requirement recommended an engineering licensure candidate obtain a masters degree or its equivalent (MOE) before initial licensure. The provision was first added to the model documents by Council vote in 2006. Since that time, NCEES annual meeting delegates have approved several revisions to the language to modify and better define the requirement.

During the debate, the delegates discussed the potential effect of the additional education requirement on the NCEES Records program, which is used by professional engineers across the country to facilitate comity licensure. Comity licensure is the process by which a professional engineer licensed in one state gets licensed in another.

This decision by the Council “means that in 2020 the NCEES Model Law will continue to require an engineering bachelor’s degree from an EAC/ABET-accredited program to fulfill the education requirement for engineering licensure.”

This development is good news for ASME and the Licensing That Works (LTW) Coalition partners. Comprised of 13 professional engineering organization representing 300,000 engineers, ASME has been leading the coalition since its inception in 2006. The Coalition opposes a mandatory, across-the-board requirement of masters or equivalent, beyond the first professional degree currently decreed by tradition and practice.

From the Coalition’s position statement, “The reason for engineering licensure is to protect the safety, health and welfare of the public (as stated in the National Society of Professional Engineers Code of Ethics and in the codes of most of the other engineering societies). Legislation in these matters should be used for the purpose of public safety only. Increasing the prestige or status of the profession by raising the bar to access does not contribute to the profession nor does it serve the public.

The NCEES Advisory Committee on Council Activities now has been charged to develop the aforementioned position statement and will present it for adoption by the Council at the 2015 annual meeting.

To review the Licensing That Works position statement, please visit:
https://www.asme.org/getmedia/f2402620-222b-4445-87cb-45256c8b94d2/PS12-06.aspx

 

2011 DATA SHOW U.S. BUSINESS R&D HIGHLY CONCENTRATED BY STATE AND METROPOLITAN LOCATION

According to a new National Science Foundation (NSF) report, nearly half of the research and development (R&D) paid for and performed by companies in the 50 United States and the District of Columbia in 2011 was performed in five states: California, Washington, Texas, Massachusetts and Michigan. The report is available at http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/infbrief/nsf14315/

Overall, companies performed $239 billion in R&D paid for by their own company expenses in the U.S. in 2011. Large companies performed the largest amount of research and development at their primary R&D locations in the San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland, Seattle-Tacoma-Olympia, and Los Angeles-Long Beach combined statistical areas (CSA). These are groupings of neighboring, geographic metropolitan regions.

R&D industries represented in these areas vary, with San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland dominated by computer and electronic products manufacturers and Seattle-Tacoma-Olympia dominated by information technology and aerospace companies. Although the Los Angeles-Long Beach CSA is home to many large-R&D companies, no single industry accounts for a disproportionately large share of its R&D performance.

The findings come from NSF's National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics 2011 Business R&D and Innovation Survey (BRDIS). BRDIS allows policymakers and industry officials to gain information about worldwide R&D expenses, R&D expenses by detailed business segments and the location by industry of where the R&D is performed along with other important data.

For more information on this report, please visit NSF's National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES) at http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/

 

PRESIDENT OBAMA NOMINATES COLETTE HONORABLE FOR FERC SEAT

President Obama has nominated Colette Honorable for Commissioner of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Colette Honorable is currently Commissioner and Chair of the Arkansas Public Service Commission, positions she has held since 2007 and 2011, respectively.

Ms. Honorable also currently serves as Chairman of the Board and President of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners. Previously, she served as Executive Director of the Arkansas Workforce Investment Board in 2007. Ms. Honorable worked for then Arkansas Attorney General Mike Beebe in various roles, including as his Chief of Staff from 2006 to 2007, Assistant Attorney General for Civil Litigation from 2004 to 2006, and also as Assistant Attorney General under then Arkansas Attorney General Mark Pryor from 1999 to 2004.

She also worked as an associate at Cauley Geller Bowman and Rudman, LLP from 2003 to 2004. Ms. Honorable was an assistant city attorney in North Little Rock City from 2003 to 2004, an assistant public defender from 1998 to 1999, a judicial law clerk at the Arkansas Court of Appeals from 1997 to 1998, and a staff attorney at the Center for Arkansas Legal Services from 1995 to 1996. Ms. Honorable received a B.A. from Memphis State University and a J.D. from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock School of Law.

 

SCIENCE COMMITTEE LEADERS QUESTION NASA ABOUT SPACE EXPLORATION DELAYS

Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) and Space Subcommittee Chairman Steven Palazzo (R-MS) sent a letter to National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Administrator Charles F. Bolden, Jr. about reported delays to NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) and Orion crew vehicle. The news comes despite congressional support above the Administration’s full budget requests and repeated Administration assurances that the exploration priorities are on schedule.

On August 27th, NASA officials announced a launch readiness schedule based on an initial SLS flight no later than November 2018. This comes as a change to previous plans for a flight in 2017. A recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report also found that, “the agency’s current funding plan for SLS may be $400 million short of what the program needs to launch by 2017.” The president’s most recent budget request for FY2015 had planned to reduce these programs by over $330 million compared to the FY2014 appropriation enacted by Congress. Had Congress agreed to the Administration’s original requests, NASA delays could have been even longer.

In June, the House passed the Committee’s NASA Authorization Act with full support for SLS and Orion following personal assurances from Administrator Bolden that “this is the amount of money that we need to deliver SLS on the date and time that we said.”

The full letter can be read at: http://science.house.gov/sites/republicans.science.house.gov/files/documents/Letters/082714_CSP_CLS_letter.pdf

 

NEW NIST RESEARCH FACILITY GIVES MATERIAL HELP TO AUTOMAKERS

With increases to the federal requirements for fuel efficiency standards, building cars and trucks out of lighter materials is an important way to meet these standards.

Unfortunately, it is not as easy as it sounds. Automakers have decades of experience with the traditional car materials like steel. They know pretty well how they will behave at every step of the complex process of making an automobile, knowledge that is vitally important in the design of the manufacturing molds and dies. But they have less experience with new, high-tech alloys and composite materials.

New metals are lighter and stronger. This means they can sustain more collision forces, if properly engineered. But it also means that they resist the stress of twisting, stretching and squeezing, making them more difficult to press into desired shapes. So automakers and their suppliers are turning to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and its new Center for Automotive Lightweighting (NCAL) for information key to the manufacturability of these materials.

The NIST research center specializes in measuring how the new materials are strained in response to the stresses of forming operations that shape them into hoods, fenders, door panels, floor pans and other parts.

Center-supplied information also guides design decisions that will impact the performance, durability and crashworthiness of future cars and trucks.

To learn more about NCAL, visit http://nist.gov/lightweighting/ncalfeature.cfm

 

NASA PUSHES THE LIMITS OF 3-D PRINTING TECHNOLOGY

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has successfully tested the most complex rocket engine parts ever designed by the agency and printed with additive manufacturing, or 3-D printing, on a test stand at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

NASA engineers pushed the limits of technology by designing a rocket engine injector --a highly complex part that sends propellant into the engine -- with design features that took advantage of 3-D printing. NASA printed the part by layering metal powder and fusing it together with a laser, a process known as selective laser melting.

The additive manufacturing process allowed rocket designers to create an injector with 40 individual spray elements, all printed as a single component rather than manufactured individually. The part was similar in size to injectors that power small rocket engines and similar in design to injectors for large engines, such as the RS-25 engine that will power NASA's Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, the heavy-lift, exploration class rocket under development to take humans beyond Earth orbit and to Mars.

Using traditional manufacturing methods, 163 individual parts would be made and then assembled. But with 3-D printing technology, only two parts were required, saving time and money and allowing engineers to build parts that enhance rocket engine performance and are less prone to failure.

Two rocket injectors were tested for five seconds each, producing 20,000 pounds of thrust. Designers created complex geometric flow patterns that allowed oxygen and hydrogen to swirl together before combusting at 1,400 pounds per square inch and temperatures up to 6,000 degrees Fahrenheit. NASA engineers used this opportunity to work with two separate companies -- Solid Concepts in Valencia, California, and Directed Manufacturing in Austin, Texas. Each company printed one injector.

Additive manufacturing not only helped engineers build and test a rocket injector with a unique design, but it also enabled them to test faster and smarter. Using Marshall's in-house capability to design and produce small 3-D printed parts quickly, the propulsion and materials laboratories can work together to apply quick modifications to the test stand or the rocket component.

For more information about SLS, visit http://www.nasa.gov/sls

 

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

  • Melissa Carl covers public policy-related science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education and diversity issues for ASME. She can be reached at carlm@asme.org
  • Paul Fakes covers public policy-related energy, standards and environmental issues for ASME. He can be reached at fakesp@asme.org
  • Roy Chrobocinski covers public policy-related research and development (R&D) and manufacturing issues for ASME. He can be reached at chrobocinski@asme.org