Federal Networking and Information Technology Research and Development Program: Funding Issues and Activities [Updated June 4, 2007] [open pdf - 205KB]
From the Summary: "In the early 1990s, Congress recognized that several federal agencies had ongoing high-performance computing programs, but no central coordinating body existed to ensure long-term coordination and planning. To provide such a framework, Congress passed the High-Performance Computing and Communications Program Act of 1991 (P.L. [Public Law] 102-194) to enhance the effectiveness of the various programs. In conjunction with the passage of the act, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) released 'Grand Challenges: High-Performance Computing and Communications'. That document outlined a research and development (R&D) strategy for high-performance computing and a framework for a multiagency program, the High-Performance Computing and Communications (HPCC) Program. The HPCC Program has evolved over time and is now called the Networking and Information Technology Research and Development (NITRD) Program, to better reflect its expanded mission. […] Finally, proponents of government support believe that the outcomes achieved through the various funding programs create a synergistic environment in which both fundamental and application-driven research are conducted, benefitting government, industry, academia, and the public. Supporters also believe that such outcomes justify government's role in funding IT R&D, as well as the growing budget for the NITRD Program. Critics assert that the government, through its funding mechanisms, may be picking 'winners and losers' in technological development, a role more properly residing with the private sector. For example, the size of the NITRD Program may encourage industry to follow the government's lead on research directions rather than selecting those directions itself. The FY2008 budget calls for $3.056 billion for the NITRD Program, a decrease from the FY2007 budget request of $3.062 billion. Because the NITRD Program budget consists of the budgets allocated to the 13 participating agencies, final budget figures are not available for FY2007."
CRS Report for Congress, RL33586