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NASA Portion of House Rpt.108-235; VA/HUD and Independent Agencies Appropriations Bill FY 2004

Status Report From: House Appropriations Committee
Posted: Saturday, August 2, 2003

House Rpt.108-235 - DEPARTMENTS OF VETERANS AFFAIRS AND HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT, AND INDEPENDENT AGENCIES APPROPRIATIONS BILL, 2004

NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION


---------------------------------------------------------------
---------------------------------------------------------------
Fiscal year 2004 recommendation                $15,540,300,000 
Fiscal year 2003 appropriation                  15,338,907,000 
Fiscal year 2004 budget request                 15,469,300,000 
Comparison with fiscal year 2003 appropriation    +201,393,000 
Comparison with fiscal year 2004 request           +71,000,000 
---------------------------------------------------------------

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration was created by the National Space Act of 1958. NASA conducts space and aeronautics research, development, and flight activity designed to ensure and maintain U.S. preeminence in space and aeronautical endeavors.

The Committee has recommended a total program level of $15,540,300,000 in fiscal year 2004, which is an increase of $71,000,000 from the budget request and an increase of $201,393,000 when compared to the fiscal year 2003 enacted appropriation.

NASA's Full Cost initiative is expected to introduce new cost accounting, budgeting and management practices into NASA. The NASA full cost concept and approach is intended to integrate full-cost accounting budgeting, and management practices to enhance cost-effective mission performance by providing complete cost information for improved (more fully informed) decision making and management. The initiative introduces a concept that ties all NASA costs (including civil service personnel costs) to major activities (programs and projects) and budgets, accounts, reports, and manage programs and projects from a full-cost perspective.

While the title `Full Cost' implies financial matters, the Committee understands that NASA's approach to implementation includes broad and significant management implications. Full costing should also support full disclosure and reporting on programs and projects with an improved matching of costs with related program and project performance. In that regard, the Committee believes that full costing is consistent with sound business practices and with recent legislative and administrative guidance, including the CFOs Act of 1990, Government Performance and Results Act, and the National Performance Review (NPR). Accordingly, the Committee expects NASA to implement full cost accounting in fiscal year 2004 within the account structure as set forth in its fiscal year 2004 budget request. In the event of a continuing resolution prior to enactment of a permanent fiscal year 2004 appropriation, the Committee expects that NASA will implement any such continuing resolutions in full cost under the account structure presented in the fiscal year 2004 budget request.

The Committee is concerned that the NASA Inspector General continues to find weaknesses in cyber-security management within the NASA organization. To address this weakness, the Committee believes NASA can use vulnerability management as a means of securing critical computer networks. The Committee is aware of a new appliance-based technology that runs a hardened operating system and communicates through encryption using digital certificates for authentication. The technology will allow for greater certainty in identifying business risk, and eliminating those risks. The Committee directs NASA to provide no less than $2,000,000 within available funds to demonstrate this technology as part of its cyber-security architecture.

The Committee directs NASA to reevaluate all its international cooperative efforts and hopes NASA looks to cultivate better relations with the United Kingdom, Italy, Australia, Poland and Spain on projects in the future.

SPACE FLIGHT CAPABILITIES

(INCLUDING TRANSFER OF FUNDS)


--------------------------------------------------------------
--------------------------------------------------------------
Fiscal year 2004 recommendation                $7,806,100,000 
Fiscal year 2003 appropriation                  7,908,500,000 
Fiscal year 2004 budget request                 7,782,100,000 
Comparison with fiscal year 2003 appropriation   -102,400,000 
Comparison with fiscal year 2004 request          +24,000,000 
--------------------------------------------------------------

This appropriation provides for the conduct and support of space flight capabilities, including research, development, support and services. Within this appropriation, two major subcategories of funding exist, space flight and aerospace technology. Funding in the space flight category is provided for continued development and operation of the International Space Station, operations and upgrades to the performance and safety of the space shuttle, and flight support operations. Funding in the aerospace technology category includes the space launch initiative, mission and science measurement technology, and innovative technology transfer partnerships.

The Committee recommends a total of $7,806,100,000 for the space flight capabilities account in fiscal year 2004, an increase of $24,000,000 to the budget request and a reduction of $102,400,000 from the fiscal year 2003 level as estimated in this new account structure.

The Committee has taken no action at this time with regard to the International Space Station, the Space Shuttle program, the Orbital Space Plane program, or the Next Generation Launch Technology program. All of these programs will undoubtedly undergo significant transformation in the coming weeks as the results of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board's work is published and discussed. The Committee will use the report of the Board, and NASA's proposed response to the Board's findings and recommendations, as the basis for final action on the fiscal year 2004 budget proposal. The Committee has taken this position at this time because it expects the Board's recommendations to be far- reaching and significant. The Committee expects NASA to provide its plan of action for implementing the Board's recommendations to the Congress as soon as possible, with at least preliminary budget implications formally submitted to the Committee no later than September 15, 2003.

The Committee remains committed to the full scientific utilization of the International Space Station (ISS), which will require a robust and expeditious means by which station crew can return safely to Earth in the case of an emergency. The Committee recognizes that NASA is in the process of using independent review teams to evaluate the costs and benefits of developing a reusable or expendable Orbital Space Plane (OSP) crewed system, which will return crew from, and soon thereafter transport crew to, the ISS. The Committee emphasizes its intent that full scientific utilization of the ISS begin as soon as possible, and therefore an American crew return and transport capability should be developed as expeditiously as possible.

Therefore, NASA is directed to provide to the Committee within ninety days of enactment of this act a report on the costs and benefits of both reusable and expendable architectures for the OSP crewed system, including the implications of each architecture type on the development timeline for a system that meets NASA's OSP Level I requirements. In addition, NASA is directed to notify the Committee before it takes any action that would preclude the OSP crewed system from eventually being integrated with a reusable launch booster.

In the past, this Committee and the Congress have been staunch supporters of NASA's efforts to upgrade its shuttle fleet in the areas of safety and reliability and has provided all amounts requested for upgrades only to see significant upgrades canceled or deferred due to technological obstacles or cost constraints. The Committee therefore is pleased that NASA has initiated a new process that will integrate safety, supportability, obsolescence, infrastructure, and ground systems associated with the shuttle. The Committee expects that this overall process will result in long range plans for the shuttle, a prioritized list of investments, and a formal selection process for those investments that will achieve the goal of safe and efficient shuttle operations.

The Committee has provided an increase of $24,000,000 to this appropriation for the express purpose of continuing the commercial programs within the Innovative Technology Transfer Partnerships theme. The Committee does not agree with the termination of this program as proposed in the budget submission and directs NASA to keep the program in place as it existed in fiscal year 2003 and prior fiscal years.

SCIENCE, AERONAUTICS AND EXPLORATION

(INCLUDING TRANSFER OF FUNDS)


--------------------------------------------------------------
--------------------------------------------------------------
Fiscal year 2004 recommendation                $7,707,900,000 
Fiscal year 2003 appropriation                  7,404,900,000 
Fiscal year 2004 budget request                 7,660,900,000 
Comparison with fiscal year 2003 appropriation   +303,000,000 
Comparison with fiscal year 2004 request          +47,000,000 
--------------------------------------------------------------

This appropriation provides for the research and development activities, and all associated costs of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. These activities include: space science, earth science, biological and physical research, aeronautics, and education programs.

The Committee recommends $7,707,900,000 for Science, Aeronautics and Exploration in fiscal year 2004. The amount recommended is an increase of $47,000,000 to the budget request, and an increase of $303,000,000 to the fiscal year 2003 level as estimated in this new account structure.

The Committee is aware of a concern in the graduate education community that the current level of stipends in NASA's Graduate Student Research Program and the Earth System Science Fellowship are lagging the level in other areas of the Federal government and that participation in the programs by the best and brightest is therefore jeopardized. The Committee believes that NASA's investment in graduate education tries to fill a crucial funding gap in much the same way that NASA support for basic and applied research fills a gap in those programs. When the NASA investment in graduate education via stipends is increased, the rewards to NASA will increase. The Committee directs NASA to evaluate the stipend level in its programs and report to the Committee on actions it will take to increase the level of stipend for its programs. Additionally, the Committee directs NASA to evaluate and report on the value of expanding its use of graduate fellowships to all NASA science offices.

      1. An increase of $1,000,000 for the GSFC `COM Simulation Architecture Project';

      2. An increase of $1,000,000 for the Alabama Supercomputer Education Outreach program;

      3. An increase of $1,000,000 for the Pulsed Power and Energetic Research Center at the University of Huntsville, Alabama;

      4. An increase of $1,000,000 for Science, Engineering, Math and Aerospace Academy programs. The Academy is to be established at Albany State College in Georgia;

      5. An increase of $250,000 for the National Science Center Foundation of Augusta, Georgia for its Learning Logic Program;

      6. An increase of $1,000,000 for aircraft engine research, including research being done in conjunction with the Department of Defense;

      7. An increase of $150,000 for the North Alabama Planetarium Initiative;

      8. An increase of $250,000 to establish the University of Alabama at Huntsville Center for Modeling, Simulation and Analysis;

      9. An increase of $900,000 to Alabama A&M University--Advanced Space Propulsion Material Research and Technology Center;

      10. An increase of $1,500,000 to the BizTech High Tech Business Incubator;

      11. An increase of $3,000,000 to the In-Space Propulsion program for High-Power Pulsed Inductive Thruster technology research, utilizing a vector inversion pulsed generator to pre-ionize the propellant at an exceptionally high frequency;

      12. An increase of $1,000,000 for remote sensing infrastructure at the University of Miami Center for Southeastern Tropical Remote Sensing (CSTARS) in Miami-Dade County, Florida;

      13. An increase of $500,000 for Southeast Missouri State University's NASA Educator Resource Center;

      14. An increase of $2,200,000 for the Education Advancement Alliance in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for education grants and scholarships;

      15. An increase of $250,000 for Rutgers for continued construction of a research and teaching facility on its Busch Campus in Piscataway, New Jersey;

      16. An increase of $250,000 for Middle Tennessee State University for K-12 Science Education Enhancements;

      17. An increase of $500,000 for the Northwestern University's Institute for Proteomics and Nanotechnology;

      18. An increase of 2,300,000 for the NASA--Illinois Technology Commercialization Center at DuPage County Research Park;

      19. An increase of $300,000 to develop a high temperature nanotechnology research program;

      20. An increase of $300,000 for a national Communications, Navigation, and Surveillance test bed;

      21. An increase of $300,000 for the Biological and Physical Research Rack on the ISS;

      22. An increase of $500,000 for the Industrial Technology Institute at Cleveland State University;

      23. An increase of $800,000 for an Aerospace Education Center in Cleveland, Ohio;

      24. An increase of $800,000 for the Glennan Microsystems Initiative;

      25. An increase of $500,000 for the Bowling Green State University Hybrid Engine project;

      26. An increase of $500,000 for the Ohio View Consortium;

      27. An increase of $1,000,000 for the University of Toledo Turbine Institute

      28. An increase of $1,000,000 for the Garrett Morgan Commercialization Initiative in Ohio;

      29. An increase of $200,000 for the Adler Planetarium in Chicago, Illinois for its Cosmic Gateway Teacher Training program;

      30. An increase of $1,000,000 for Michigan SATS Incorporated;

      31. An increase of $2,000,000 for the Michigan Technology Commercialization Corporation to identify and develop new medical materials and technologies which have the ability to provide low cost alternatives to current therapies;

      32. An increase of $300,000 for the Center for Science and Mathematics at the University of Redlands, California;

      33. An increase of $3,000,000 for continued Space Radiation Research at Loma Linda University Medical Center;

      34. An increase of $300,000 for Fulton Montgomery Community College in Johnstown, New York for the Spatial Information Technology Center;

      35. An increase of $1,000,000 for the Goddard Space Flight Center's Clustering and Advanced Visual Environments Initiative;

      36. An increase of $1,500,000 for on-going activities in support of NASA Dryden Flight Research Center's Intelligent Flight Control System (IFCS) research project;

      37. An increase of $1,500,000 for on-going activities of the Goddard Institute for Systems, Software, and Technology Research, including mission design tools, Earth science analysis, and remote sensing instrumentation development;

      38. An increase of $2,500,000 for the Institute for Scientific Research, Inc. for research related to transversable access to orbit;

      39. An increase of $3,000,000 for continued development of a lightweight carrier pallet to support the Hubble Space Telescope Program;

      40. An increase of $4,000,000 for NASA's Independent Verification and Validation Facility;

      41. An increase of $15,500,000 for the Institute for Scientific Research, Inc. for development and construction of research facilities;

      42. An increase of $750,000 for the NASA Goddard Commercial Technology program only to fund the full implementation of the Earth Alert Project;

      43. An increase of $500,000 for the NASA Specialized Center for Research and Training in Gravitational Biology at North Carolina State University;

      44. An increase of $1,000,000 to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for the Morehead Planetarium and Science Center;

      45. An increase of $1,500,000 to the MCNC-Research and Development Institute (RDI) to establish a Laboratory for Distributed Chemical and Biological Sensors;

      46. An increase of $500,000 for the Montana Aerospace Development Authority;

      47. An increase of $1,500,000 for Idaho State University for the Temporal Land Cover Change Research Program;

      48. An increase of $1,500,000 for the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory for development of performance, safety, and mission success tools for NASA programs;

      49. An increase of $500,000 for continuation of emerging research that applies remote sensing technologies to forest management practices at the State University of New York, College of Environmental Sciences and Forestry;

      50. An increase of $500,000 for the development of an Aircraft Radio Guidance System (ARGUS) utilizing a new radio frequency interferometer that will provide two or three dimensional navigation guidance for airborne, space or surface vehicles;

      51. An increase of $1,000,000 for the Advanced Interactive Discovery Environment engineering research program at Syracuse University;

      52. An increase of $1,500,000 for Integrated Sensing Systems at the Rochester Institute of Technology;

      53. An increase of $2,000,000 to research Secure Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast (ADS-B) Surveillance data link technology for enhanced aviation security and general aviation airspace access;

      54. An increase of $2,000,000 for Cryogenic Power Electronics Development at the State University of New York at Albany;

      55. An increase of $2,500,000 for the JASON Foundation;

      56. An increase of $2,500,000 for the Regional Application Center for the Northeast;

      57. An increase of $2,550,000 for the Fractional Ownership Test Program;

      58. An increase of $3,000,000 in the Computing, Information and Communications Technology Program (CICT) for High Information Density Approaches to Mobile Broadband Internet Communications;

      59. An increase of $4,000,000 for new Adaptive Surveillance Techniques for Airport Surface Safety;

      60. An increase of $4,500,000 for the National Center of Excellence in Infotonics in Rochester, New York;

      61. An increase of $4,500,000 for the National Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics in Buffalo, New York;

      62. An increase of $4,500,000 for a new Science Center at St. Bonaventure University in New York State;

      63. An increase of $5,000,000 for Project SOCRATES;

      64. An increase of $6,000,000 for the continuation of the Space Alliance Technology Outreach Program, including $2,500,000 for business incubators in Florida and New York;

      65. An increase of $175,000 to the Astronaut Memorial Foundation for the Columbia STS 107 addition to the National Space Mirror Memorial at Kennedy Space Center;

      66. An increase of $900,000 for the Florida Institute for Technology in Melbourne, Florida for a Hydrogen Production, Fuel Cell and Sensor Technology Initiative;

      67. An increase of $1,900,000 for replacement and upgrade of equipment at Kennedy Space Center;

      68. An increase of $300,000 for the Florida State University Challenger Learning Center;

      69. An increase of $500,000 to the University of South Florida Center for Space Cellular and Macromolecular Biotechnology;

      70. An increase of $8,000,000 for the Florida State University System Hydrogen Research Initiative;

      71. An increase of $1,000,000 to the Little River Canyon field school;

      72. An increase of $1,000,000 to the Tulane Institue for Macromolecular Engineering and Science for research on polymers;

      73. An increase of $7,500,000 for the implementation of a remote data store at the NASA IV&V Facility, to be distributed as follows: no less than fifty percent of appropriated funds are for the acquisition of data storage hardware and software including, but not limited to, content addressable storage technologies; remaining funds are provided for communications, facility and integration services at the IV&V Facility to support data backup, recovery, and on-line access capabilities for the Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) ECS program;

      74. A decrease of $20,000,000 to the James Webb Space Telescope;

      75. A decrease of $13,000,000 to the Earth Science Applications program;

      76. A decrease of $55,000,000 to the New Frontiers program;

      77. A decrease of $8,150,000 to the Space Interferometer Mission.

SPACE SCIENCE

The Committee is concerned that the high radiation environment in the Jovian system will cause problems for the Jupiter Icy Moons Orbiter (JIMO) mission unless an investment is made in developing effective and reliable hardened microcircuit devices that can be produced in quantity at reasonable cost. Presently, the only available option for producing such devices for the forthcoming JIMO mission involves using very high cost techniques for customized microdevice construction. However, the Committee is aware of promising technology wherein conventional, low cost, high volume device fabrication might be used to produce the required radiation hardened microcircuits in bulk using a variation on conventional techniques. The Committee directs NASA to undertake an immediate effort to validate this technology in time for use on the JIM mission and assess its potential for cost effectiveness for that purpose and for other missions.

EARTH SCIENCES

The fiscal year 2002 appropriations bill and accompanying reports gave NASA Congressional direction to establish an implementation plan for Earth science applications partnerships. NASA completed the report on its implementation plan in June of 2002 and forwarded the report to the Committee for its review. The result of the implementation plan was a competition from which awards were announced on July 2, 2003. The Committee notes that NASA received 258 proposals in response to the competition notice of a peer-review process and 41 proposals were selected based on highest merit. The Committee commends NASA for moving forward with this effort and looks forward to working with NASA in the future to ensure adequate funding is provided for a more robust peer-reviewed competitive program. For this reason, the Committee recommendation does not include any funding for new remote sensing applications centers.

The Committee directs $5,000,000 from the NASA Earth Science Enterprise be transferred to the Air Force Research Laboratory (PE 62204F Aerospace Sensors) to develop dual-use lightweight space radar technology.

BIOLOGICAL AND PHYSICAL RESEARCH

The Committee has included an increase of $3,000,000 for technology development necessary to ensure the Satellite Test of the Equivalence Principle (STEP) mission can move forward. While the STEP mission was rejected for funding under NASA's SMEX program last year primarily because of its lack of technology development, the Committee has found that this was due to promised funds not being provided from NASA's Office of Space Science. With this action, the Committee is not negating the results of the SMEX competition. Instead, the Committee action creates a level playing field so the STEP program can compete in future programs.

The Committee continues its support for the materials science research community, and expects substantial progress to be made during fiscal year 2004 towards the completion and U.S. utilization of the Materials Science Research Rack-1 onboard the International Space Station.

AEROSPACE TECHNOLOGY

The Committee continues to be concerned that insufficient effort is being made to modernize the Nation's air traffic management system. While NASA has requested $27,000,000 for a new initiative, the National Airspace System Transition Augmentation, the Committee remains concerned that there is a lack of government-wide coordination of air traffic management effort. As the Commission on the Future of the U.S. Aerospace Industry recommended, a National Program Office is needed to bring together the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, Transportation, and Commerce as well as the Federal Aviation Administration and NASA with industry to develop the next generation air traffic management system for the United States that will improve the security, safety, quality, and affordability of aviation services. The Committee directs NASA to report on efforts within the Federal government to establish a National Program Office and report to the Committee by March 31, 2004 on how its initiative on the National Airspace System Transition Augmentation is integrated into the National Program Office efforts.

The Committee directs $5,000,000 within the Aerospace Technology Enterprise be transferred to the Air Force Research Laboratory (PE 602702F Command, Control and Communications) to deploy and develop Interactive Data Wall technology as part of a joint AFRL-NASA Information Operations Center of the Future research initiative.

The Committee directs $3,000,000 within the Aerospace Technology Enterprise be transferred to the Air Force Research Laboratory (PE 602702F Command, Control and Communications) to conduct joint research with NASA on emerging areas of computing including grid computing, quantum and biomolecular information processing technology.

The Committee notes that NASA's budget has proposed a significant increase in funding on aircraft engine programs to develop high risk, high payoff technologies to meet critical national aviation challenges. The Committee applauds NASA's commitment to addressing these important research needs and looks forward to working with NASA to ensure continued support for this research.

EDUCATION PROGRAMS

The Committee has included $25,325,000 for the National Space Grant College and Fellowship program. This amount is an increase of $1,225,000 to the fiscal year 2003 pre-rescission appropriation of $24,100,000 and an increase of $6,225,000 to the budget request. The amount provided will fund the current core programs in 52 Space Grant Consortia, including 35 states at $475,000 each (including 7 upgrades), 17 states at $300,000 each and $3,600,000 for Workforce Supplement Awards.

The Committee remains concerned that NASA is no closer to solving its workforce problems than at this time a year ago. At that time, the Committee had directed NASA, in cooperation with the Nation's leading research universities, to develop a comprehensive plan and implementation strategy that will result in an increase in the number of students pursuing advanced degrees. While the education budget indicates NASA has a program of Explorer Academies starting in fiscal year 2003, very little information is provided which would give the Committee an assurance that this program will energize student interest in science, engineering, mathematics or other disciplines needed for NASA's future workforce. Likewise, the Education Base Program is listed in the budget material as being `under review' for alignment with new priorities. While this budget material in no way justifies the requested funding level of $169,800,000, the Committee has provided the budget request and directs NASA to inform the Committee expeditiously on its detailed plans for an education program in fiscal year 2004.

OFFICE OF INSPECTOR GENERAL


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-----------------------------------------------------------
Fiscal year 2004 recommendation                $26,300,000 
Fiscal year 2003 appropriation                  25,434,000 
Fiscal year 2004 budget request                 26,300,000 
Comparison with fiscal year 2003 appropriation    +866,000 
Comparison with fiscal year 2004 request                 0 
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The Office of the Inspector General was established by the Inspector General Act of 1978 and is responsible for audit and investigation of all agency programs.

The Committee recommends $26,300,000 for the Office of the Inspector General in fiscal year 2004, an increase of $866,000 to the amount provided in fiscal year 2003 and the same as the budget request for fiscal year 2004.

ADMINISTRATIVE PROVISIONS

The bill includes five administrative provisions. The first provision allows for the availability of funds to remain until expended when any activity has been initiative for construction of facilities. The second provision makes all amounts appropriated for construction of facilities to remain available until September 30, 2006. The third provision allows for the Administrator to transfer amounts between aeronautics and crosscutting technologies. The fourth provision makes announced prizes available, without fiscal year limitation. The final provision allows unexpended balances of prior appropriations to be transferred to the new account established for the appropriations that provides such activity under this Act.

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