Strategic Planning Document -
International Science, Engineering
I. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
The Committee on International Science, Engineering and Technology (CISET) addresses
international scientific cooperation as it relates to foreign policy and the nation's research and
development agenda. The main function of CISET is to develop, on an interagency basis, policies
for furthering international S&T cooperation in the national interest. CISET activities are directed
towards three broad, complementary goals:
- To identify and coordinate international cooperation that can strengthen the domestic S&T
enterprise and promote U.S. economic competitiveness and national security.
- To utilize American leadership in science and technology to address global issues, and to
support the post-Cold War tenets of U.S. foreign policy - promoting democracy, maintaining
peace, and fostering economic growth and sustainable development.
- To coordinate the international aspects of federal R&D funding across the federal agencies.
Science and technology are global enterprises. This presents both opportunities and challenges
in developing S&T policy through the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC). The
internationalization of science offers many exciting opportunities, since some of today's most
difficult scientific and technological problems cannot be solved by the United States (or any
country) acting alone. The intellectual and financial resources needed to address such issues as
protecting the environment, developing sustainable energy sources, or identifying the fundamental
structure of the Universe, can only be mustered on the basis of international cooperation. Many
parts of the U.S. scientific agenda inherently require international cooperation, for example, the
study of the causes and effects of global climate change. Other parts of the agenda naturally
invite collaboration because of unique foreign expertise or facilities.
American scientists and engineers are playing a vital role in addressing some of the most
pressing global problems that, in the long run, can represent a threat to the United States:
environmental degradation, new and re-emerging diseases, rapid population growth and food
scarcity. International engagement also allows American scientists and engineers to become
familiar with foreign technology, and to help establish the basis for the export of American
technology-based products and services.
Participation in international collaborative projects, particularly in technologies with defense and
economic applications, requires careful analysis, planning and interagency coordination. On one
hand, higher levels of international cooperation support continuing U.S. leadership in S&T. On the
other hand, this cooperation must serve the national interest: the advancement of U.S. economic
competitiveness, global stability, sustainable development and other elements of national security.
Unlike most of the other eight NSTC Committees, CISET's mandate is not defined within any
particular area of science or technology. The technical agencies of the U.S. government engage
in a wide range of bilateral and multilateral international scientific programs that support their
missions. The role of CISET is to review these activities, and to identify opportunities for
international cooperation and interagency coordination in response to new needs and
opportunities. In addition, CISET serves as a forum for establishing government policy on specific
problems and issues that arise in the international S&T arena.
CISET has formed subcommittees in three areas: (1) international budget priorities, (2)
opportunities and obstacles in international cooperation, (3) science, technology and global
issues. The subcommittees have undertaken the following activities:
- Developing new follow-on arrangements for the OECD Megascience Forum.
- Reviewing and coordinating research and development for international population stabilization.
- Developing a science and technology initiative for the Summit of the Americas.
- Removing obstacles to U.S./Russia S&T cooperation.
- Considering international exchange of meteorological data in light of U.S. policy on access to
global change data.
- Reviewing research and development for international food security and nutrition.
- Coordinating a response to the global challenge of emerging and re-emerging infectious
- Setting strategic objectives for S&T cooperation with selected countries.
- Ensuring adequate protection for intellectual property rights (IPR) in international cooperative
- Organizing a public forum on international science and technology.
Within a month of his inauguration, President Clinton articulated a strong commitment to
continued American excellence in science and technology. In the document Technology for
America's Economic Growth, A New Direction to Build Economic Strength, the President
enumerated his top priorities, among them "International science and technology cooperative
projects that enhance U.S. access to foreign sources of science and technology, contribute to the
management of global problems, and provide the basis for marketing U.S. goods and services."
The CISET process was established to assist in the practical implementation of the President's
policy. In its first year of operation, CISET has provided an interagency forum for reviewing,
coordinating and facilitating federally-funded international R&D.
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