The federal science and technology policy of today is being developed in a new historical context, said Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), chairman of the Senate's Subcommittee on Science, Technology, and Space. According to Rockefeller, changes in policy are being shaped by three “phenomena”—the end of the Cold War, concern about our international economic competitiveness, and a new president willing to join Congress in responding to new challenges.
Addressing the National Academy of Engineering in Washington, D.C., on October 7, Rockefeller said that the nation's security took precedence during the Cold War, and economic competitiveness was placed on a back burner. The nation now faces a deficit in that area, he said. Congress has begun a push for a redirection of federal science and technology, and the administration is moving in the same direction. “We should not be surprised to see the Clinton Administration and the Congress questioning old rationales for agency funding,” said Rockefeller.