As the United States struggles to remain competitive in the global economy, President Bush has unveiled a series of tech-based initiatives dubbed the American Competitiveness Initiative (ACI). 

As outlined in the president’s State of the Union speech, the ACI calls for major increases over the next 10 years in the physical sciences budgets at the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the National Science Foundation. During that time period, President Bush has called for the doubling of investments in innovation-enabling physical science and engineering research at the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, and the Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology core activities.

The ACI, along with about $412 million in economic development-based agency requests made by the president in his budget, represent an important benchmark towards regaining the global lead in information technology. However, the president’s budget request falls short in some other important areas: the Advanced Technology Program, which is scheduled for elimination (a cut of $79 million); the Manufacturing Extension Partnership, which takes a 60 percent cut in the president’s budget; the Partnership for Innovation, which will see a small increase from FY06, but still lower than its FY05 funding level; and the Economic Development Administration, which sees an increase from FY06, but still falls far short of its FY02 funding level. 

For specific details on other proposed high-tech investments in the president’s FY07 budget request, click here (PDF).