The NSTC Interagency Working Group (IWG), which involved all agencies operating Federal laboratories or substantial intramural research programs, was organized in August 1997 to improve scientific performance and cost effectiveness of Federal Laboratories. It followed the April 1997 OSTP report "Status of Federal Laboratory Reforms," which assessed the progress of DOD, DOE, and NASA in implementing reforms directed in Presidential Decision Directive PDD/NSTC-5. The OSTP report made specific recommendations to enhance scientific and technical excellence, streamline management, and improve productivity and utilization of capabilities at these laboratories. The OSTP report also recommended that the NSTC establish an interagency working group to include other S&T agencies, follow up on the recommendations, review barriers to reform, share experiences and lessons learned, and propose a plan of action.
The IWG's goals were "to propose appropriate and practicable methods for (1) replacing burdensome and costly rules, regulations, and ‘red tape' with innovative and flexible systems of accountability that enhance scientific quality and productivity; (2) strengthening implementation of reforms within agencies and at the working level; and (3) fostering efforts to identify and validate science-relevant metrics that can serve as appropriate indicators of scientific performance." The IWG included representatives from 16 agencies, plus the National Performance Review, OMB, and OSTP. This IWG reports directly to the NSTC, under the purview of OSTP's Associate Director for Science, and was chaired by Bev Hartline.
The final report entered the NSTC clearance
process in November 1998 with publication anticipated early in 1999.
The report contains major proposals: