The National Institute of Standards and Technology: An Overview Page: 2 of 6
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manufacturing, commerce and educational institutions, as well as to provide technical and
advisory services to other government agencies on scientific and engineering problems.
The Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988 (P.L. 100-418) changed the
name of NBS to NIST, and explicitly charged the agency with providing technical
services to facilitate the competitiveness of U.S. industry. The law directs NIST to
support of two broad goals: (1) enhancing the competitiveness of American companies
by providing appropriate support for industry's development of pre-competitive generic
technologies and diffusing government-developed technological advances to users in all
segments of the American economy; and (2) providing the measurements, calibrations,
and quality assurance techniques which underpin U.S. commerce, technological progress,
improved product reliability, manufacturing processes, and public safety.
Beginning in FY1991, the NIST budget experienced marked growth as Congress
funded external grant programs - the Advanced Technology Program (ATP) and the
Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) - authorized by P.L. 100-418. However,
the 104th Congress curtailed the expansion of support for NIST and overall funding levels
decreased 18% between FY1995 and FY1997. In FY1998, the NIST budget again
increased as P.L. 105-119 appropriated $677.9 million (of which $5 million from the
Scientific and Technical Research and Services (STRS) budget was vetoed by the
President). Under P.L. 105-277, NIST received $641.1 million in funding, approximately
5% less than the previous year. For FY2000, P.L. 106-113 provided NIST with $635.8
million after the rescission mandated by law.
The FY2001 appropriations legislation, P.L. 106-553, funded NIST at $598.3
million. The total included $312.6 million for the STRS account which supports
intramural R&D (an 11% increase), $105.1 million for MEP, $145.7 million for ATP (a
2% increase), and $34.9 million for construction.
In his FY2002 budget proposal, President Bush requested $487.5 million in funding
for NIST, 19% less than the FY2001 appropriation due primarily to a suspension of ATP
pending an evaluation of the program (although $13 million would be provided to support
on-going project commitments). The final legislation, P.L. 107-77 funded NIST at $674.5
million, an increase of 13% over FY2001. Included in this was $321.1 million for the
STRS account (3% above the previous fiscal year) and $291 million for ITS. Of this latter
amount, MEP was financed at $106.5 million and ATP received $184.5 million, a 27%
increase. Construction was funded at $62.4 million. (It should be noted that the FY2002
Defense Appropriations Act added $5 million into the STRS account for cybersecurity
The Administration's FY2003 budget requested $577.5 million for NIST, 15%
below the previous appropriation due primarily to a decrease in support for ATP and
MEP. Funding for the STRS account would increase 23% to $402.2 million. ATP would
receive $107.9 million (35% below FY2002) and the Manufacturing Extension
Partnership would be funded at $12.9 million. The 89% decline in support for MEP was
due to the President's recommendation that centers operating for more than 6 years do so
without federal financing. Construction activities would be funded at $54.5 million.
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The National Institute of Standards and Technology: An Overview, report, July 25, 2003; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc815766/m1/2/: accessed December 12, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.