Uneven funding frustrates NGI
- By Diane Frank
- Mar 01, 2000
Congress and the Clinton administration are still grappling with how to
fund wide-ranging initiatives such as the research and development of the
Next Generation Internet (NGI) and networking technology.
The Next Generation Internet 2000 Act funds information technology networking
initiatives across seven agencies. This includes the NGI itself, which provides
a secure high-performance backbone for federally funded science and technology
research and applications.
Portions of the NGI are being developed at each of the agencies, and all
are dependent to some extent on each other, said Neal Lane, assistant to
the president for science and technology, testifying Wednesday before the
Senate Science, Technology and Space Subcommittee.
But in the current version of the NGI 2000 act, there is no money for the
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration at the Commerce Department.
NOAA has long been involved in federal networking research and development
through programs like last year's global ocean interactive network. Future
NGI-related work would focus on such programs as advanced networks that
aggregate the vast amounts of data from NOAA's satellite and radar weather
sensors for collaborative applications across the country. Without money,
these programs won't happen, which affects the entire initiative, Lane said.
"[NOAA is] one of the agencies developing key NGI applications," Lane said.
"NOAA is not mentioned in the bill, and they are a very important agency."
The lack of money for certain NGI agencies is already being felt this fiscal
year. The Energy Department did not receive fiscal 2000 funding for NGI,
affecting several activities at other agencies, according to officials.
The Office of Management and Budget is working on a new funding mechanism
for cross-agency initiatives. This would help prevent one agency in a group
not being funded, according to an OMB official.