THE WHITE HOUSE
|For Immediate Release||April 23, 1998|
Mr. Chairman, it is a pleasure and an honor to appear before you todayas President Clinton?s nominee to be Associate Director for National Securityand International Affairs in the Office of Science and Technology Policy. If confirmed, I will have the honor of serving the President, hisScience Advisor, Dr. John H. Gibbons, and of working with you and yourfellow members of this Committee to ensure that our investments in scienceand technology serve the interests of the American people.
Meeting threats to stability and security requires an enduringcommitment to diplomatic engagement, military preparedness, and economicperformance. The fundamental role science and technology play in nationalsecurity concerns is extensive and becoming more intricate every day. OurFederal science and technology efforts require thoughtful, coordinated,coherent choices and sustained support. This is the central challengeof the position for which I seek your endorsement.
I will work to preserve the science and technology foundation for astrong military posture. For decades, possession of superior technologyhas been a cornerstone of U.S. military strategy. Technologies suchas radar, jet engines, night vision, the Global Positioning System, precisionstrike weapons, and stealth have changed the character of warfare dramatically. Maintaining our technological edge has become even more important as ourDefense Department adjusts to a more budget-constrained era and high technologyweapons become more readily available on the world market. Sustainedinvestment in science and technology underlies our ability to succeed inhigh priority missions, to minimize casualties, to mobilize all of ourmilitary services swiftly in coordinated action, to act in concert withother nations to achieve shared security objectives, and especially tohelp deter potential adversaries from taking hostile steps that would makethese responses necessary.
New technologies are also being developed to strengthen our effortsto counter the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and improvethe stewardship of a safe and reliable nuclear stockpile. One ofour highest nonproliferation priorities is to ensure that fissile materialsare kept under tight control around the world, and this would be an importanttask I would tackle if confirmed. OSTP is active in helping the NationalSecurity Council coordinate interagency activity in this area, particularlyin the area of long-term plutonium disposition, where we co-chair withNSC the interagency working group on this issue. It is importantthat Russian plutonium from dismantled weapons be properly controlled inthe short term and properly disposed of in the long term. Under OSTPleadership, the U.S. and Russia completed a joint study of possible plutoniumdisposition strategies last fall and is now actively engaged in follow-upimplementation studies and actual demonstrations. We are workingwith other countries through the G-7 process to coordinate an internationaleffort to dispose of excess Russian weapons grade plutonium. At thesame time, OSTP tracks U.S. disposition efforts in DOE and coordinateson issues in this program that affect the interests of other agencies.
We must also meet the growing challenge of terrorist threats, as thetragedy of terrorism has come home. Measures to prevent, minimize,and recover from acts of terrorism are essential and must be undertakenat all levels, from the local to the international. The Clinton Administrationis bringing the full weight of the Federal government to bear against thisthreat, with science and technology playing a critical role. TheWhite House Commission on Aviation Safety and Security, chaired by theVice President, has highlighted the role advanced technology can play. My office is engaged in this endeavor. Already, upon recommendationof the Commission, advanced bomb-detection technologies are being testedat selected airports. Future efforts include research and developmentof countermeasures to disable large vehicle bombs; chemical detection andprotective equipment for police, fire, and rescue personnel, and improvedforensic tools for DNA and fingerprint recovery.
We will also move to counter threats from those who might seek to attackour critical infrastructure--the telecommunications, banking, and financesystems; electrical power, gas, and water distribution systems; emergencyservices; and continuity of government systems upon which our society depends. The President has recently created a Critical Infrastructure ProtectionCommission and charged it with recommending a comprehensive national policyand implementation strategy for protecting our infrastructure and assuringits continued operation. This is a critical technology issue whereI plan to focus attention.
International cooperation contributes to the overall quality ofour science and ensures that the U.S. maintains its world-class scientificcapabilities through access to a greater range of resources. I believe strongly that it is in our best national interest to continueto use science and technology as a tool of foreign policy to integrateformer adversaries into the community of peaceful nations, to stem globalthreats, to help promote sustainable development and build stable democraciesand new markets for U.S. products. I will work with the technicalagencies of the U.S. government to support and promote the developmentof platforms for engagement through bilateral commissions with nationsincluding Russia, China, Ukraine, South Africa, and Egypt; through prioritybilateral science and technology cooperation with key partners, includingJapan and the European Union; and through multilateral forums such as theOrganization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Asia Pacific EconomicCooperation forum, and Summit of Americas. I will also work withour technical agencies and partners abroad to facilitate collaborationon large-scale scientific projects. As research programs at the frontiersof science, such as the Large Hadron Project at CERN, become more sophisticatedand costly, federal investments in international collaborations providean effective way in which we share the burden and maintain our preeminencein science, as well as benefit from the expertise and know-how of others.
My office will work with our international partners to meet common challenges--suchas mitigating the impacts of natural disasters and combating the spreadof emerging and reemerging infectious diseases. In an era when mostcities are within a 36-hour commercial flight of each other--less thanthe incubation period of many infectious diseases--a global strategy isrequired. In June 1996, President Clinton announced a new policycalling for a coordinated strategy of basic research, training, publichealth programs, foreign assistance, and security measures. My officewill work through the National Science and Technology Council?s Committeeon International Science, Engineering and Technology (CISET), which I co-chair,to implement the President?s charge and to work internationally to improveworldwide disease surveillance, reporting, and response.
In closing, I wish to emphasize my committment to ensuring that ourscience and technology enterprise strongly supports out national securityand global stability goals. I plan to reach out to my colleaguesin the scientific, industrial, and academic communities to ensure thatthe whole of the U.S. science and technology enterprise is engaged in ourdeliberations. I look forward to working with you, to exploring togetherthe opportunities and choices science presents to us.
Thank you for your consideration Mr. Chairman.
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