President's Office of Science and Technology Policy: Issues for Congress [November 10, 2008] [open pdf - 457KB]
"Congress established the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) through the National Science and Technology Policy, Organization, and Priorities Act of 1976 (P.L. 94-282). The act states that 'The primary function of the OSTP Director is to provide, within the Executive Office of the President [EOP], advice on the scientific, engineering, and technological aspects of issues that require attention at the highest level of Government.' Further, 'The Office shall serve as a source of scientific and technological analysis and judgment for the President with respect to major policies, plans, and programs of the Federal Government.' [...] An issue for Congress is what should be the appropriate title, rank, role, and responsibilities of OSTP's Director. Some in the science and technology (S&T) community contend that by providing the OSTP Director with cabinet rank, or the title of Assistant to the President, the individual in that office would have more influence within the EOP. Others have proposed that several individuals take on the roles and responsibilities of the OSTP Director rather than one individual, and that the OSTP Director play a greater role in ensuring federal agency scientists and engineers are able to communicate their findings. Further, some in the S&T community also believe that the OSTP Director and NSTC should play a greater role in federal agency coordination, priority-setting, and budget allocation. Another question is who should decide the issue focus of OSTP Associate Directors, NSTC [National Science and Technology Council] interagency coordination activities, and PCAST [President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology]."
CRS Report for Congress, RL34736
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