Federal manufacturing research and development programs could be in for a substantial budget increase next year, so long as Congress approves the budget request from President Obama.
In the third paragraph of the fiscal year 2014 budget submission, the Office of Management and Budget states that the Obama team intends to invest "in high-tech manufacturing, clean energy and infrastructure, laying the foundation for more rapid business growth."
On the first page of the 264-page general budget request, President Obama states that his "first priority is making America a magnet for new jobs and manufacturing. After shedding jobs for more than 10 years, our manufacturers have added more than 500,000 jobs over the past three years. Companies large and small are increasingly deciding to bring jobs back to America. To accelerate this trend, the budget builds on the success of the manufacturing innovation institute we created in Youngstown, Ohio, last year and calls for the creation of a network of 15 of these hubs across the nation. In these innovation hubs, businesses will partner with universities and federal agencies to turn regions around our country into global centers of high-tech jobs."
Within the next couple of weeks, three new manufacturing research institutes are expected to be announced, through reprogramming of funding already approved for 2013 by Congress -- two funded by the Department of Defense and another by the Department of Energy.
There is also a proposal in the budget request for a new tax credit for manufacturers as a means to attract additional investment and jobs, along with $20 million to implement the "SelectUSA" initiative to attract businesses and investment from foreign-based companies.
The biggest new growth item in the budget is for a $1-billion National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI), a one-time funding request to launch 15 new manufacturing innovation centers throughout the country. The funding is located in the budget request for the National Institute of Standards and Technology, which would act as program coordinator since it hosts the interagency Advanced Manufacturing National Program Office.
In the overall Obama federal budget request, civilian research and development gets a substantial boost, a 9.2 percent increase over the 2012 enacted level to $69.2 billion.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is the Obama darling among the agencies. Obama requests $928 million for the agency in 2014, an increase of $177.5 million over the amount enacted in 2012. NIST's laboratory program would receive $694 million of that total, with a $50-million boost for advanced manufacturing research programs, up from the base of $90.1 million. Another 67 employees would be hired to compliment the 98 full time equivalent employees working on advanced manufacturing research issues. The additional funding would be directed at measurement sciences for emerging materials; precision measurement research for nanotechnology and quantum-based production; and the integration and use of smart equipment, automation, distributed sensing and advanced control systems.
The request for the nationwide Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) program is $25 million above the amount enacted in 2012, to $153 million. The additional funding would go toward the creation of Manufacturing Technology Accelerator Centers (M-TACs) "to assist manufacturers in adopting new technologies to improve their competitiveness," says the budget request. "M-TACs will deploy content and services through the well-established national network of local centers, utilizing 'tiger teams' and direct consulting for centers and manufacturers," says the NIST budget request. "M-TACs would serve as national centers of expertise aligned with industry specific associations, trade groups and OEMs to identify key barriers to supply chain development and draw upon their resources to develop new approaches and establish or reinforce supply chain networks. The M-TACs will provide technology acceleration support to U.S. small and mid-sized manufacturers through a program that is nationally connected and locally deployed, enhancing the ability of supply chains to adopt advanced technologies into their manufacturing processes and products."
Another $21 million is requested for the recently created Advanced Manufacturing Technology Consortia program, a public-private partnership to "develop road-maps of critical long-term industrial research needs as well as fund research at leading universities and government laboratories directed at meeting these needs," says the budget request. "This program would be based on NIST's experience with the Nanoelectronics Research Initiative partnership and would expand and improve on that model."
Within the Department of Commerce's budget request, there is an additional $113 million to create the Investing in Manufacturing Communities Fund. This fund, says the Obama request, would invest "in those regions that have created economic development strategies that build on the region's comparative advantages and leverage private-sector resources." The program will fund five to six "pilot" projects in 2014 in a country-wide competition. Each will receive $25 million from the Economic Development Administration with additional funding from other agencies "to help regions become more attractive for manufacturers and supply chains," says the Commerce Department. Investments will be made in such things as industrial parks and industry academic centers. The Departments of Agriculture, Labor, Transportation, Energy and Defense, along with the National Science Foundation, EPA and SBA will hold six to eight "listening sessions" throughout the United States in 2013 "raising awareness of the program and seeking input into the pilot competition," says the Commerce Department. The agency will award $200,000 to as many as 25 communities in 2013 to create "implementation strategies, which will initiate private-public partnerships tailored to local expertise and assets," says Commerce. "In May , the government will solicit proposals for the initial implementation strategy grants. Awards will be issued by the end of September."
The International Trade Administration receives a 14 percent increase in its budget request over the amount enacted in 2012, to $520 million, up from $456 million in 2012. There would be $20 million in additional funding for the Interagency Trade Enforcement Center to monitor and enforce U.S. trade laws and to break down foreign barriers to U.S. exports.
The Trade Adjustment Assistance for Firms program is set to receive $15.8 million, a decrease of $5.8 million. But the program is funded, unlike in previous years when the Obama administration zeroed out funding and requested that Congress kill the program.
The National Science Foundation asks for $7.6 billion, an increase of 8.4 percent over 2012, with a host of new manufacturing initiatives.
"The budget proposes $160 million, an increase of $49 million above the 2012 enacted level, for fundamental research on revolutionary new manufacturing technologies in partnership with other federal agencies and the private sector," says the fiscal year 2014 budget request. "This advanced manufacturing research is part of a larger $300 million NSF research initiative aimed at transforming static systems, processes and infrastructure into adaptive, pervasive 'smart' systems with embedded computational intelligence that can sense, adapt and react."
NSF will provide $32 million to the National Robotics Initiative and $42 million to the Materials Genome Initiative, which is designed to discover, manufacture and deploy advanced materials "twice as fast as the current state of the art at a fraction of the cost," says NSF.
NSF would create a new $300-million /B>Cyber-enabled Materials Manufacturing and Smart Systems research program aimed at developing new materials, smart systems, advanced manufacturing systems and robotics technology. An additional $17 million would be targeted for the public-private Innovation Corps (I-Corps) program, which aims to commercialize university research. There is $372 million for fundamental research directed at clean energy technologies.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration's budget request is for $17.7 billion, down slightly from 2012. It plans on investing $821 million in private-sector companies that are developing systems to transport human crews to the International Space Station; $2.7 billion for the next generation, deep-space crew capsule and a heavy lift rocket that will send human exploration missions to an asteroid; and $924 million for new technology that can expand the potential and lower the cost of space science exploration and commercial space activities. The budget provides full funding ($658 million) for the James Webb Space Telescope, keeping it on track for a launch in 2018. The budget provides a total of $105 million for initial investments in the asteroid missions; $78 million to develop technologies and study alternative approaches for a robotic mission to rendezvous with a small asteroid and redirect it; and $27 million to accelerate efforts to detect and characterize potentially hazardous asteroids.
The Energy Department request is for $28.4 billion, or 8 percent higher than the 2012 enacted level, with $615 million for renewable energy technologies; $575 million for vehicle technologies; $282 million for biofuels; and $365 million for advanced manufacturing research and development. Funding within this category will also be used "to support one or more manufacturing innovation institutes focused on energy and efficiency technologies," says the budget document. "The budget also continues to support the development of competitive new manufacturing processes for advanced vehicles, biofuels, solar energy, wind energy and other rapidly growing clean energy industries to help ensure that the technologies developed here are also manufactured here."
Obama proposes $379 million be spent on the Advanced Research Projects Agency -- Energy; $735 million for the Office of Nuclear Energy, including funding for advanced small modular reactors; $266 million to develop carbon capture and storage systems with an additional one-time $25 million "inducement prize for the first natural gas combined cycle power plant to integrate large-scale carbon capture and storage."
Funding for the development and demonstration of the next generation advanced vehicles would increase by 75 percent above 2012 levels.
The "baseline" budget request for the Defense Department, $526.6 billion, is about the same as the Obama request for 2013 and is what both the House and the Senate have passed in their fiscal year 2014 budget resolutions. It includes a "placeholder request" of $88.5 billion for "overseas contingency operations," says Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. The reason for it being a "placeholder" is "because Afghanistan force level and deployment decisions for this year were delayed in order to provide commanders enough time to fully assess requirements," says Hagel.
Of the $526.6 billion for next year, $170.2 billion will be for military pay, benefits and retirement costs (32 percent of the total base budget); $180.1 billion will be for operating costs, including $77.3 billion for civilian pay; $99.3 billion for procurement; and $67.5 billion is for research and development, including $2.9 billion for the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency, a 1.8 percent increase over 2012. The Navy's budget request is for $155.8 billion; the Air Force requests $144.4 billion; and the Army asks for $129.7 billion.
The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter will receive full funding; there will be $10.9 billion for new ship construction, $9.2 billion for missile defense; $379 million for developing a new penetrating bomber; $4.7 billion for cyber-security operations; $10.1 billion for space capabilities; and $2.5 billion for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems.