Appendix D: Current Organizational
There are two major high-level interagency organizations in the Executive Branch that are focusing efforts
for realizing the vision of a National Information Infrastructure: the Information Infrastructure Task Force
(IITF) and the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC). These organizations are briefly
described below. In addition, there are other Federal activities that play a role in developing and/or
executing policies that will affect the information infrastructure.
Structures and Initiatives
D.1 Information Infrastructure Task Force (IITF)
The Information Infrastructure Task Force (IITF) was created in 1993 to marshal the resources of the
Federal Government in addressing one of the major technology objectives of the Clinton-Gore
Administration - leveraging information technologies to enhance U.S. competitiveness in the global
marketplace and to improve the overall standard of living for all Americans. The following italicized
section is quoted from the IITF Fact Sheet:
The White House formed the Information Infrastructure Task Force (IITF) in September 1993 to articulate
and implement the Administration's vision for the Nation Information Infrastructure (NII). The task force
consists of high level representatives of the Federal agencies that play a major role in the development and
application of information and telecommunications technologies.
Working together with the private sector, the participating agencies will develop comprehensive
technology, telecommunications, and information policies and promote applications that best meet the
needs of both the agencies and the country. By helping build consensus on difficult policy issues, the IITF
will enable agencies to make and implement policy more quickly and effectively.
Ronald H. Brown, the Secretary of Commerce, chairs the IITF, and much of the staff work and
administrative support for the task force will be done by the National Telecommunications and Information
Administration (NTIA) of the Department of Commerce. The task force operates under the aegis of the
White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the National Economic Council.
The task force currently is undertaking a wide-ranging examination of all issues relevant to the timely
development and growth of the NII.
D.2 National Science and Technology Council (NSTC)
The following italicized section is quoted from the NSTC Fact Booklet:
President Clinton established the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) by Executive Order
12881 on November 23, 1993. This cabinet-level council is the principal means for the President to
coordinate science, space, and technology policies across the Federal government.
An important objective of the NSTC is the establishment of clear national goals for Federal science and
technology investments in areas ranging from information technologies and health research, to improving
transportation systems and strengthening fundamental research. The Council prepares research and
development strategies that are coordinated across Federal agencies to form an investment package that is
aimed at accomplishing multiple national goals.
President Clinton directed NSTC to:
The Council fosters a strategic approach in determining how science and technology can help resolve
complex societal needs. Today's problems demand contributions from different fields of study and a team
approach from the agencies that make up the Federal R&D enterprise. The NSTC provides an interagency
strategic management system to foster teamwork and enhances the ability to identify opportunities for
- coordinate the science and technology policy making and implementation process across Federal
- ensure that science and technology policy decisions are consistent with the President's stated
- ensure that science and technology issues are considered in the development and implementation of
Federal policies and programs;
- further international cooperation in science and technology activities.
One of the most important tasks that the NSTC performs is to prepare coordinated R&D strategies and
budget recommendations to orient science and technology toward achieving national goals. To do so, the
Council established nine goal-oriented committees.
All of the other NSTC committees have a relationship to the information infrastructure, primarily as
important application domains where information technologies will heavily influence attainment of their
technology goals. For example, information technology (IT) is at the heart of the Intelligent Vehicle
Highway System (Committee on Transportation); IT provides the foundation for next-generation education
and training systems (Committee on Education and Training); and IT will be relied upon for monitoring,
analyzing, and controlling the environment (Committee on Environment and Natural Resources).
NSTC's Committee on Information and Communications R&D (CIC) has primary responsibility for
research and development of information technologies. According to its charter:
The purpose of the Committee on Information and Communication Research and Development is to advise
and assist NSTC to increase the overall effectiveness and productivity of Federal R&D efforts to develop
and apply information and communication technologies. The Committee will address significant national
policy matters, which cut across agency boundaries and shall provide a formal mechanism for interagency
policy coordination and development of Federal communication and information research and
The Committee will act to improve the coordination of all federal efforts in information and communication
research and development. This includes developing a balanced and comprehensive R&D program,
establishing a structure to improve the way the federal government plans and coordinates information and
communication research and development, and to develop information and communication R&D budget
crosscuts and priorities.
Reporting to and under the direction of the Chairman of NSTC, the Committee on Information and
The High Performance Computing and Communications (HPCC) Program is a central component of
Federal R&D efforts to develop next-generation computing and networking technologies, and is therefore a
key element in the overall long-range strategy to develop a National Information Infrastructure. HPCC
was formally initiated as an interagency program by the High Performance Computing Act of 1991 which
was sponsored by then-Senator Al Gore. The interagency program was then organized under the Federal
Coordinating Council on Science, Engineering, and Technology (FCCSET) and is today coordinated by the
High Performance Computing and Communications and Information Technologies (HPCCIT)
Subcommittee under CIC. The original HPCC Program had four elements: High Performance Computing
Systems (HPCS), Advanced Software Technology and Algorithms (ASTA), National Research and
Education Network (NREN), and Basic Research and Human Resources (BRHR). The primary
applications addressed under the original HPCC Program were "Grand Challenge" applications, defined as
"fundamental problems in science and engineering with broad economic and scientific impact whose
solution can be advanced by applying high performance computing techniques and resources." In the
FY94 budget, a new component was added to the base of four components in the original HPCC Program.
This new component was the Information Infrastructure Technology and Applications (IITA) element, and
served to focus emphasis on "National Challenge" applications, defined as "major societal needs that
computing and communications technology can help address in key areas such as civil infrastructure,
digital libraries, education and lifelong learning, energy management, the environment, health care,
manufacturing processes and products, national security, and public access to government information."
- coordinate Federal R&D programs to develop and apply information and communication
technologies, including computer systems, software, electronics, and telecommunications
- coordinate with other NSTC committees, particularly on applications of information and
communications technologies, including dual-use programs;
- identify and recommend options for Federal R&D priorities pertaining to information and
- review domestic and international R&D programs in information and communication; oversee the
High Performance Computing and Communications (HPCC) Program and the High Performance
Computing and Communications and Information Technologies (HPCCIT) subcommittee;
- coordinate with and provide advice to the Information Infrastructure Task Force, which is
responsible for coordinating Administration telecommunications and information policy; and
- propose and update long-range plans for overall Federal R&D efforts in information and
communications particularly to support the President's National Information Infrastructure
D.3. Other Activities
Depending on how broadly one defines information infrastructure activities, there are additional
organizations and initiatives that can influence the emerging development and/or application of
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is an independent regulatory body with great impact on
existing and future telecommunications and information systems and services including spectrum
availability. The FCC can participate in the activities of the IITF and NSTC in an observer status. The
FCC also participates in or sponsors committees that address issues of importance to existing and future
information infrastructure. An example is the Network Reliability Council, which includes representatives
from the Federal government and private industry.
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) is a Department of Commerce
agency with principal duties including: provision of policy advice and administrative support on planning
and implementation of the Administration's NII initiative; service through the Secretary of Commerce as
principal advisor to the President on domestic and international communications and information policy
making; development of pro-investment and pro-competitive policies for presentation before the Congress
and the FCC and in bilateral and multilateral international conferences; management of all Federal use of
the electromagnetic spectrum and promotion of efficient spectrum usage; conduct of telecommunications
technology research, including standards development, in partnership with business and other Federal
agencies; award of grants through the NII demonstration project initiative and other means; and provision
of satellite services for the PEACESAT Program.
With increasing emphasis being placed on the need for international coordination and indeed on
developing a Global Information Infrastructure (GII), the Department of State is playing an increasingly
visible role in information infrastructure activities. Some of these activities are in close coordination with
the IITF, while others are less directly coordinated with IITF activities. An example in this latter category
is issues associated with U.S. participation in the International Satellite Organizations (INTELSAT and
INMARSAT). These issues will become increasingly more visible particularly in light of the important
roles which satellites will play in the GII (as highlighted by the Vice President's address to the International
Telecommunications Union last March) and the mounting pressure to "de-monopolize" the international
satellite communications arena. The Department of State also participates in the NSTC process,
particularly in the Committee on International Science, Engineering, and Technology.
The Department of Defense has been a key developer of information technologies and a very large user of
such systems. Recent activities in DOD related to NII/GII development include the Defense Information
Infrastructure (DII) initiative and the Global Grid initiative. DOD has the most sophisticated arsenal of
information technologies and systems of any Federal agency, and efforts are ongoing to leverage this
technology base into broader commercially viable applications.
Collectively, the Executive Branch represents an enormous consumption of information and
telecommunications technologies, systems, and services. There are many large procurement activities that
will not be exhaustively listed here. Examples include: the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA)
and the National Communication System (NCS); Federal law enforcement activities; large research
establishments such as NASA centers and DOE and DOD laboratories, most of which operate
supercomputer facilities and utilize significant data networks; computationally intensive activities such as
Bureau of Census and Internal Revenue Service; health care administration networks; and many more.
Various interagency activities, processes, and committees exist with regard to Federal utilization of
information and telecommunications technologies, systems, and services. Examples include the Federal
Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which coordinates resources of many other agencies; the
Federal Wireless Policy Committee, chaired by NTIA, which is addressing future procurement policies for
wireless systems and services such as PCS (Personal Communications Services); and the Federal Network
Council chaired by the National Science Foundation (NSF).
D.4. Private Sector Involvement
Three types of private sector involvement can be identified: private sector advisory committee processes in
support of Federal policy formulation and decision making; private sector support of Federal initiatives
through contracts, grants, CRADAs, and other means; and independent activities and initiatives within the
private sector itself to capitalize on the new and existing markets for services, hardware, and software
across the spectrum of information technologies.
The National Information Infrastructure Advisory Committee was created by Executive Order 12864 to
advise the IITF on matters related to development of the NII. The NII Advisory Committee members
represent a broad set of stakeholders in the information infrastructure, including industry, labor, academia,
public interest groups, and state and local governments.
The President's Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) was established by Executive
Order 12882 at the same time that NSTC was created. The PCAST serves as the highest level private
sector advisory group for the President and for NSTC. The formal link between PCAST and NSTC ensure
that national needs remain an overarching guide for the NSTC. The PCAST provides feedback about
Federal programs and actively advises the NSTC about science and technology issues of national
importance. [From NSTC Booklet]
The NSTC committees may also form private sector advisory groups. In particular, the Committee on
Information and Communications R&D (CIC) is presently forming an advisory committee, which will also
perform the statutory responsibilities of the mandated HPCC Advisory Committee.
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