April 28, 2010
The Honorable Bart Gordon The Honorable Ralph Hall
Chairman Ranking Member
House Science and Technology Committee House Science and Technology Committee
2321 Rayburn House Office Building 394 Ford House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515 Washington, DC 20515
Dear Chairman Gordon and Ranking Member Hall:
As leaders of the engineering community, we are writing to express our support for the full reauthorization of the America COMPETES Act. The extension of this bipartisan legislation is fundamental to ensuring America’s long-term economic competitiveness and our continued leadership in basic research and science and engineering education initiatives.
As you know, in August 2007, Congress passed – on an overwhelmingly bipartisan basis - the America COMPETES Act of 2007 (P.L. 110-69). This law authorized increased funding for basic research and education areas critical to America’s economic well being, energy security, and workforce competitiveness. Specifically, this bill targeted the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the Department of Energy Office of Science to receive increases to place these agencies on the path towards doubling in funding over time. Unfortunately, this important legislation was only authorized for three years, and with the growing number of obligations for Congress in the 111th Congress, the COMPETES Act is now in danger to expire without a reauthorization.
The America COMPETES Act also strengthens the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education pipeline by attracting the brightest young minds, including women and underrepresented minorities, into the STEM fields by devoting substantial resources to address a range of educational areas.
To remain globally competitive, the United States must invest in the research and development that underpins innovation. If history is any guide, we know the benefits of such an investment. According to economic experts, science-driven technology is responsible for over 50 percent of the growth of the U.S. economy during the last half century. Robust, sustained investment in research and development is required for stimulating growth in high-wage industries, for generating new technologies in critical areas of need, including energy, transportation and manufacturing, and for preparing the workforce of tomorrow.
The historic challenges currently facing our nation will require proportionally historic solutions. To preserve this nation’s global competitive edge and put America on a track for economic expansion, it is critical that Congress supports essential basic science research and STEM education initiatives by reauthorizing the America COMPETES Act. These investments are vital to ensuring our energy security and national competitiveness, meeting our environmental challenges, and producing innovative technological breakthroughs and new jobs that will fuel our economy well into the future.
Roger L. Simpson, Ph.D., P.E., FAIAA, FASME J.P. Mohsen
2010 Chair President
American Association of Engineering Societies (AAES) American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE)
David Thompson Gordon Holness, PE
American Institute of Aeronautics & Astronautics (AIAA) American Society of Heating, Refrigerating
and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE)
Eugene Eckstein, Ph.D. Amos Holt, Ph.D.
American Institute for Medical & Biological Engineering American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)
Ian Sadler Gerald Cockrell, CAP
American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical Automation Federation
and Petroleum Engineers, Inc. (AIME)
Thomas Sanders Kathleen L. Mosier, Ph.D.
American Nuclear Society (ANS) Human Factors & Ergonomics Society (HFES)
Ronald Yoder, PE Evelyn Hirt
American Society of Agricultural Institute of Electrical and Electronics
and Biological Engineers (ASABE) Engineers-USA (IEEE-USA)
Blaine D. Leonard, P.E., D.GE, F.ASCE Fred Oberkircher, LC
American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Illuminating Engineering Society (IES)
Jane C. Ammons, Ph.D., P.E. R. Keith Michel
Immediate Past President President
Institute of Industrial Engineers (IIE) The Society of Naval Architects and
Marine Engineers (SNAME)
Leo Staples Dr. Ralph James
President-Elect 2010 President
International Society of Automation (ISA) SPIE The International Society for Optics
& Photonics (SPIE)
Carl B. Mack Nora Lin
Executive Director President
National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) Society of Women Engineers (SWE)
Samuel W. Grossman, P.E., F.NSPE George T.(Rusty) Gray III
2009-2010 President 2010 President
National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society (TMS)
Elizabeth A. Rogan
Optical Society of America (OSA)
Dr. Andrew Brown, Jr.
Nikhil C.Trivedi, Ph.D.
Society for Mining, Metallurgy and
Exploration, Inc. (SME)