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8. Language from Delivering the Goods influenced the wording of the Water Resources Development Act, particularly with respect to the possibility of utilizing the Corps of Engineers to assist with developing small rural systems. Subsequent intervention by trade groups deleted relevant language.
12.5. Changes in Prior Plans for FY 1992 for the Science, Information, and Natural Resources Division
During Fiscal Year 1992, the Science, Information, and Natural Resources Division essentially accomplished its goals, with approved modifications and additions to meet the changing needs of Congress. These changes reflect the inherent uncertainty of research and the attendant need to be able to make adjustments.
(Please see the chart on page 12 for the breakdown of the differences in estimated and actual Division spending for FY 1992.)
12.6. FY 1993 and FY 1994 Priorities for the Science, Information, and Natural Resources Division
A Division's work is determined by the expressed needs of Congressional Committees, so we cannot safely predict an agenda, but an illustrative list of subjects that are representative of the kinds of new assessments that we may be asked to undertake can be prepared. Such an exercise, using a wide variety of information sources, helps sharpen the discussions between OTA staff and Congressional Committees. It also reflects one of the charges Congress assigned to OTA: foresight about emerging technology. Of course each Division can undertake only a few new assessments each year, so this list should be viewed only as representative of potential subjects for the assessments that the Science, Information, and Natural Resources Division may be asked to undertake in FY 1993 and FY 1994. Because OTA works hard to be responsive to changing Congressional needs, new work is often significantly different from OTA's prospective list, but it usually does contain some of the identified issues.
Telecommunication and Computing Technologies
NETWORKED INFORMATION AND INDIVIDUAL PRIVACY AND SECURITY
The Nation is rapidly moving toward a ubiquitous, interconnected telecommunication system in which digital data will predominate. The new network is based on computer technology and high-speed transmission technologies. This lays them vulnerable to abuses of personal and corporate privacy. Lessons have been learned from experience with private local communication networks involving security violations, malicious tampering, and misuse of privileged information. These occurrences are but a harbinger of the potential harm that could befall the public information networks as greater reliance is placed on them for business and confidential communication. Remedies and means of prevention are both technical and legal. Congress will likely soon be called upon to confront the dual problems of security and privacy as the national network changes in response to developing technology.
WIRELESS COMMUNICATION SERVICES
Over the last five years the demand for wireless personal communication services has exploded. Wireless technologies, which use radio waves rather than copper or fiber optic cable to transmit signals, now allow consumers to use cordless telephones at home, cellular telephones in their cars, and even telephones on commercial airlines. And more wireless applications are on the horizon; satellite systems, for example, are being designed that will allow people to send and receive telephone calls or text/data to and from any point on Earth. However, the radio frequency spectrum that make such services possible is already very crowded, and finding room for new radio technologies and applications will be difficult. The Federal Government, which manages the use of radio waves in the public interest, will increasingly be called on to mediate the fierce
competition between new and existing radio services and between the public and private users of radio frequencies. Decisions regarding the future uses of radio frequencies will have profound effects on the leadership and competitiveness of the United States in world markets for radio-based equipment and services. ONLINE DIGITAL LIBRARIES: ACCESSIBILITY, USABILITY, COPYRIGHT & SECURITY
The potential for universal online access to digital libraries through computer networks and databases can benefit education, government, and business alike. The technology for enabling the transmission of such information services is developing quickly. Overcoming the institutional and human factors to enable the use of these technologies present more difficult problems. Accessibility to all potential users must be ensured for reasons of fairness and equity. Similarly, the systems must be easy to use by everyone so that effective access as well as physical access is provided. The electronic library will contain copyrighted material for which the author is sometimes entitled to compensation, thus an online library must have some way of charging for use and compensating a copyright holder. Finally, databases must remain secure against tampering, yet be accessible to all. These issues may confront the principles of equity, fairness and Constitutional rights that could demand the attention of the Congress.
ADVANCED VISUALIZATION TECHNOLOGY: MULTIMEDIA, VIRTUAL REALITY & CYBERSPACE Modern communication and computer technologies can now provide surrogates for all of the human sensory inputs except smell and touch--and there are technologies in development that may provide feedback to simulate touch in the future. Voice, sound, images, and full motion video are being combined in clever ways to expand the capacity of a person to interact with technology, and through that technology with one another. Multimedia communication and interactive systems are still in their infancy. Virtual reality is still experimental, but has captured the imagination of creative people who are dedicated to make it a reality. The application of these technologies promise to change the fundamentals of education, business, government and the way we normally communicate.
MISSION-CRITICAL COMPUTER SOFTWARE FOR THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT
A recent investigative report by the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology identified a number of serious deficiencies in the system used by the Federal mission agencies to develop computer software, and detected flaws in the software itself. The Federal agencies spend $30-$50 billion annually on software procurement. A reappraisal of the way in which specifications are written and the manner in which software is procured is needed to ensure quality control, cost effectiveness and flexibility for meeting the agencies' needs.
FUTURE DIRECTIONS IN ADVANCED COMPUTERS
Trends in computer architecture have been toward packaging more and faster computing power into smaller packages and increasing its portability. Future applications will emphasize visualization that will create additional demand for computing power. Emerging technologies will continue to increase the speed and capacity of computers as they are refined and miniaturized. How far and how fast this trend will continue may depend on the physical laws governing microelectronics. Technological breakthroughs may be needed to push toward the next generation of advanced computers. With international competition for computers and computer technology increasing, it is important that the U.S. develop a vision for the future and identify those technologies that would allow it to remain competitive.
Oceans and Environment
FISHERIES' DECLINES AND NON-POINT SOURCE POLLUTION
The goals of the Clean Water Act (CWA) were "zero discharge of regulated pollutants" and to achieve "fishable, swimmable waters" by a decade ago. Although water quality has improved in many places, there has also been a serious decade-long decline in the health of many fisheries (shell fisheries--scallops, clams, oysters; rockfish, salmon, striped bass, flounder). The declines may be due to nonpoint source pollution, overfishing, diatom
blooms, anoxia events, disease, habitat loss, bad fisheries models, or other factors. EPA has identified 18,000 specific waterbodies that will not attain water quality standards even if all point sources are controlled to the required degree. Currently federal law encourages nonpoint source controls but they are voluntary and vary quite a bit from region to region. With the CWA reauthorization, Congress will struggle with tightening up on nonpoint sources of pollution, consider pollutant trading schemes, and the reasonableness of the CWA's alleged goals. OTA can help assess the scientific relevance of a "zero discharge goal" and the relation of that goal to the health of fisheries. This assessment will help with the difficult issue of fisheries management as well as the practical needs of the Clean Water Act debates.
EFFECTIVENESS OF CLEANUP OF CONTAMINATED SITES
As expenditures for cleanup of contaminated federal facilities and other sites continue to increase, the issue of cleanup effectiveness (or "how clean is clean?") is being raised more frequently. This assessment would review the methodologies for setting cleanup levels that are presently available to federal and state regulatory agencies under applicable laws and regulations; evaluate the results of applying these methodologies; and identify the gaps in cleanup standards. The study would also evaluate the availability of proven and innovative technologies to meet existing standards, and the relationship of cleanup levels to present and future land uses.
DEALING WITH NATURAL DISASTERS
Recent natural disasters in the U.S., occuring close together and having unusually severe results, together with widely-publicized problems in responding to these disasters, have raised questions about the effectiveness of present measures to deal with such occurrences. This assessment would identify and evaluate federal government policies that directly or indirectly impinge on predicting, preventing, and mitigating some of the effects of natural disasters. The study would also assess some possible technical and institutional measures at the federal level that could improve the present situation, and evaluate the potential effects of such measures on the actions of state and local governments and the private sector.
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AND THE ECONOMY
What effect do our current environmental protection laws and regulations have on the economy? Do they create or destroy jobs, make industry more or less efficient, help or hurt economic growth? How does a cleaner environment affect the economy? This assessment will attempt to make sense of the often conflicting claims about the effects of environmental protection efforts on the economy.
KEY ISSUES IN ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
An evaluation of the scientific understanding of environmental health problems, and the technical solutions and institutional structure available to solve them. Will consider the effectiveness of Federal policies to reduce health risks associated with environmental contamination.
DRINKING WATER QUALITY IN THE U.S.
A number of drinking water systems across the U.S. do not meet the standards established under the Safe Drinking Water Act for the protection of human health. Increasingly, people are purchasing "end use" treatment devices as a safeguard against this potential threat. This assessment would examine the potential risks to human health posed by various water systems and measures, including end use devices, that can be taken to reduce these risks.
SCHOOL TO WORK TRANSITION
How can young people be better prepared for, and linked to, the workplace? How can schools work with the private sector to identify and teach valuable skills and techniques? How can improved technical educations for all children strengthen the work force?
TEACHERS AND TECHNOLOGY
Teachers remain the critical link between children and knowledge. Technology can augment teaching via both content and methods, but teachers must be much better prepared for using technology and supported in doing so. Technology itself is racing ahead in capability, but teachers remain behind. How can pre-service and inservice training be brought into the information age?
TECHNOLOGY AND RESTRUCTURING
American public schools are on a course toward extensive restructuring, shifts of site-based management, teacher-as-coach rather than teacher-as-wise-person. Technology can provide resources for this change for the institutions, the funding agencies, the teachers, and the learners. This study would explore how to use technology to 1)increase problem solving and critical thinking education; 2) help teachers manage learning efficiently and effectively, 3) connect classrooms with the world and with resources; and 4) meet learner needs more individually and effectively.
The patchwork nature of U.S. transportation policy, plus shifting funding for various modes, has created a national system that is not a system. While new legislation (ISTEA) urges States and localities to move toward better connections and user-friendly systems, there is little experience, data, or history of cooperation to support this desired goal. Truly integrated transportation, that is also in harmony with environmental needs, requires new thinking and new policy.
SURFACE TRANSPORTATION R&D
Construction/transportation research is traditionally underfunded in the United States, and undervalued as a contributor to competitiveness. Decisions need to be made to guide investment and research, maintain U.S. involvement, and produce improved products for public and private consumption.
STRUCTURAL ARRANGEMENTS FOR SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY POLICYMAKING
Changes in the basic assumptions and attitudes around Federal support for basic research are leading to concern, tension, and confusion between the Congress, Federal agencies, and the research community. Many questions about structure and function can be expected in the 103rd Congress. Suggestions for reconfiguration, cross-cutting budget approaches, new relationships in the research-development-product chain, and related questions are likely. The goal is new and better planning for and implementation of research for a revitalized economy, academic and government research sector.
25.2 Other Services (Contracts
for on-site personal services) 2/
1/ Number of individuals and full-time equivalent employment in ( ).
2/ Includes individuals whose services are obtained under contract performing on-site services (in agency workspace) for six months or more during a twelve month period.