|For Immediate Release||April 23, 1998|
Mr. Chairman, it is a pleasure and an honor to appear before you today as President Clinton?s nominee to be Associate Director for National Security and International Affairs in the Office of Science and Technology Policy. If confirmed, I will have the honor of serving the President, his Science Advisor, Dr. John H. Gibbons, and of working with you and your fellow members of this Committee to ensure that our investments in science and technology serve the interests of the American people.
Meeting threats to stability and security requires an enduring commitment to diplomatic engagement, military preparedness, and economic performance. The fundamental role science and technology play in national security concerns is extensive and becoming more intricate every day. Our Federal science and technology efforts require thoughtful, coordinated, coherent choices and sustained support. This is the central challenge of the position for which I seek your endorsement.
I will work to preserve the science and technology foundation for a strong military posture. For decades, possession of superior technology has been a cornerstone of U.S. military strategy. Technologies such as radar, jet engines, night vision, the Global Positioning System, precision strike weapons, and stealth have changed the character of warfare dramatically. Maintaining our technological edge has become even more important as our Defense Department adjusts to a more budget-constrained era and high technology weapons become more readily available on the world market. Sustained investment in science and technology underlies our ability to succeed in high priority missions, to minimize casualties, to mobilize all of our military services swiftly in coordinated action, to act in concert with other nations to achieve shared security objectives, and especially to help deter potential adversaries from taking hostile steps that would make these responses necessary.
New technologies are also being developed to strengthen our efforts to counter the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and improve the stewardship of a safe and reliable nuclear stockpile. One of our highest nonproliferation priorities is to ensure that fissile materials are kept under tight control around the world, and this would be an important task I would tackle if confirmed. OSTP is active in helping the National Security Council coordinate interagency activity in this area, particularly in the area of long-term plutonium disposition, where we co-chair with NSC the interagency working group on this issue. It is important that Russian plutonium from dismantled weapons be properly controlled in the short term and properly disposed of in the long term. Under OSTP leadership, the U.S. and Russia completed a joint study of possible plutonium disposition strategies last fall and is now actively engaged in follow-up implementation studies and actual demonstrations. We are working with other countries through the G-7 process to coordinate an international effort to dispose of excess Russian weapons grade plutonium. At the same time, OSTP tracks U.S. disposition efforts in DOE and coordinates on issues in this program that affect the interests of other agencies.
We must also meet the growing challenge of terrorist threats, as the tragedy of terrorism has come home. Measures to prevent, minimize, and recover from acts of terrorism are essential and must be undertaken at all levels, from the local to the international. The Clinton Administration is bringing the full weight of the Federal government to bear against this threat, with science and technology playing a critical role. The White House Commission on Aviation Safety and Security, chaired by the Vice President, has highlighted the role advanced technology can play. My office is engaged in this endeavor. Already, upon recommendation of the Commission, advanced bomb-detection technologies are being tested at selected airports. Future efforts include research and development of countermeasures to disable large vehicle bombs; chemical detection and protective equipment for police, fire, and rescue personnel, and improved forensic tools for DNA and fingerprint recovery.
We will also move to counter threats from those who might seek to attack our critical infrastructure--the telecommunications, banking, and finance systems; electrical power, gas, and water distribution systems; emergency services; and continuity of government systems upon which our society depends. The President has recently created a Critical Infrastructure Protection Commission and charged it with recommending a comprehensive national policy and implementation strategy for protecting our infrastructure and assuring its continued operation. This is a critical technology issue where I plan to focus attention.
International cooperation contributes to the overall quality of our science and ensures that the U.S. maintains its world-class scientific capabilities through access to a greater range of resources. I believe strongly that it is in our best national interest to continue to use science and technology as a tool of foreign policy to integrate former adversaries into the community of peaceful nations, to stem global threats, to help promote sustainable development and build stable democracies and new markets for U.S. products. I will work with the technical agencies of the U.S. government to support and promote the development of platforms for engagement through bilateral commissions with nations including Russia, China, Ukraine, South Africa, and Egypt; through priority bilateral science and technology cooperation with key partners, including Japan and the European Union; and through multilateral forums such as the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, and Summit of Americas. I will also work with our technical agencies and partners abroad to facilitate collaboration on large-scale scientific projects. As research programs at the frontiers of science, such as the Large Hadron Project at CERN, become more sophisticated and costly, federal investments in international collaborations provide an effective way in which we share the burden and maintain our preeminence in 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--such as mitigating the impacts of natural disasters and combating the spread of emerging and reemerging infectious diseases. In an era when most cities are within a 36-hour commercial flight of each other--less than the incubation period of many infectious diseases--a global strategy is required. In June 1996, President Clinton announced a new policy calling for a coordinated strategy of basic research, training, public health programs, foreign assistance, and security measures. My office will work through the National Science and Technology Council?s Committee on International Science, Engineering and Technology (CISET), which I co-chair, to implement the President?s charge and to work internationally to improve worldwide disease surveillance, reporting, and response.
In closing, I wish to emphasize my committment to ensuring that our science and technology enterprise strongly supports out national security and global stability goals. I plan to reach out to my colleagues in the scientific, industrial, and academic communities to ensure that the whole of the U.S. science and technology enterprise is engaged in our deliberations. I look forward to working with you, to exploring together the opportunities and choices science presents to us.
Thank you for your consideration Mr. Chairman.