DOE science, security avoid knife

President Bush's fiscal 2002 budget request for the Energy Department came under scrutiny during a hearing Thursday of the House Science Committee's Energy Subcommittee.

More than $4.8 billion is in the fiscal 2002 budget request for the six DOE offices that fall under the committee's jurisdiction — including the Office of Science and the Office of Nuclear Energy, Science and Technology. But that's 8 percent below the fiscal 2001 allocation of more than $5.2 billion.

However, despite receiving less money overall, DOE's Safeguards and Security (S&S) program, its Office of Science Program Direction and its Technical Information Management (TIM) program remain well-funded, said James Decker, acting director of DOE's Office of Science.

The S&S program received more than $36 million in fiscal 2001, but this year's request is for $50.5 million and will focus on limiting vulnerabilities listed by inspector general and General Accounting Office audits, Decker said.

"In fiscal 2002, S&S funding includes countermeasures for the ever-increasing advances in, and reliance on, computer technologies," Decker said. "This request also supports the upgrading of aging physical security systems."

DOE's Science Program Direction is seeking $15 million more than its previous funding level of nearly $127 million. The office supports three subprograms: program direction, field operations and science education, Decker said. Sustaining the scientific and technical workforce, and an expanded partnership with the National Science Foundation to attract more undergraduate students to DOE-related jobs, are among the projects that will move forward through this request.

The TIM program leads DOE's e-government initiatives for disseminating information from the department's research and development programs, including:

Managing a 50-year archive of 1.1 million unclassified and 100,000 classified documents. Maintaining a classified information program, in a secured environment, for sensitive and limited circulation documents. Serving as the department's leader in the international exchange of scientific and technical information. The fiscal 2002 request for $9 million is a $300,000 increase over the previous appropriation for TIM, but Decker was confident that it was enough to reach the program's goal of making "DOE's scientific and technical journal citations, technical reports, and preprints searchable and retrievable through e-government systems."

The Energy Conservation and Energy Supply accounts were among the programs cut the most heavily, said Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.), ranking minority member of the subcommittee.

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