Consolidation of many Federal research and development (R&D) activities into a Department of Science and Technology (S&T) has been proposed repeatedly since World War D, including in the last Congress. The trend, however, has been toward the creation of mission agencies with supporting R&D capabilities. Analyses of arguments for and against consolidation indicate that valid reasons exist on both sides of the issue. Specific consolidation proposals may be considered again during the 104th Congress.
After global warming became a concern in the mid-1950s, researchers proposed measuring deep ocean temperatures to reveal any significant trends in core ocean warming. Acoustic thermometry can detect changes in ocean temperature by receiving low-frequency sounds transmitted across an ocean basin because the speed of sound is proportional to water temperature. Acoustic Thermometry of Ocean Climate, or ATOC, is an international program involving 11 institutions in seven nations. It is designed as a 30-month "proof-of-concept" project to provide data on possible global climate change, with funding provided by the U.S. Department of Defense. A debate has arisen over ATOC's impact on marine mammals versus the benefits of better global warming information derived from ATOC. This report dicusses the ATOC program and related concerns.