A Time of Change

We face change on many fronts, and change characteristically engenders both opportunity and uncertainty. The end of the Cold War has transformed international relationships and security needs. Highly competitive economies have emerged in Europe and Asia, putting new stresses on our private sector and on employment. The ongoing information revolution both enables and demands new ways of doing business. During the 1980's, our Federal budget deficit grew rapidly, constraining crucial investments for the future. Our population diversity has increased, yielding new opportunities to build on a traditional American strength. Health and environmental responsibility present increasingly complex challenges, and the literacy standards for a productive and fulfilling role in twenty-first century society are expanding beyond the traditional "three R's" into science and technology.

As our institutions anticipate, manage, and respond to change, we must continue to focus on the enduring core elements of our national interest: the health, prosperity, security, environmental responsibility, and quality of life of all of our citizens. At the same time, we must respond to the changing character of the challenges presented by each of these core elements. For example, as the nature of today's external security threat has shifted profoundly, we have come to recognize economic and technological strength as integral to national security. Likewise improved science and mathematics education for all citizens is now recognized as a strategic imperative for our individual and collective futures.

We must reexamine and reshape our science policy both to sustain America's preeminence in science and to facilitate the role of science in the broader national interest. Each core element of the national interest requires strong commitment to scientific research and education: