NITRD Releases Annual Supplement to the President's Budget

Posted by Christine Fritsch on November 14, 2017

Road to prosperity

Typically released to the public in the springtime each year, the Networking and Information Technology Research and Development (NITRD) program issued its annual supplement to the president’s budget on October 30th, likely delayed by the late release of the FY 2018 budget request. NITRD is comprised of federal agencies and organizations that coordinate and accelerate the R&D efforts of advanced technologies. Member agencies include Commerce, DARPA, NSA, OSD, Army, Navy, Air Force, DOE, HHS, DHS, DOJ, EPA, NASA, NARA, NRO, NSF, and OMB. NITRD’s budget for FY 2018 equates to $4.46B, a decrease of $0.33B from FY 2017 primarily due to a $234M decrease at NIH and a $121M decrease at NSF as well as smaller decreases throughout other agencies. R&D investments in the supplement are categorized into ten program component areas (PCA):

  1. Computing-Enabled Human Interaction, Communication, and Augmentation (CHuman)
  2. Computing-Enabled Networked Physical Systems (CNPS)
  3. Cyber Security and Information Assurance (CSIA)
  4. Education and Workforce (EdW)
  5. Enabling R&D for High-Capability Computing Systems (EHCS)
  6. High-Capability Computing Infrastructure and Applications (HCIA)
  7. Intelligent Robotics and Autonomous Systems (IRAS)
  8. Large Scale Data Management and Analysis (LSDMA)
  9. Large Scale Networking (LSN)
  10. Software Design and Productivity (SDP)

Taking a broad look at the supplement, each program component area saw a decrease in dollars from FY 2017 to FY 2018. CHuman, based on systems that enhance a person’s ability to interact with the system and others, saw the largest decrease of $70.7M, from $660.8M in FY 2017 to $590.1M in FY 2018. The decrease is due to lower numbers at NIH, including declining numbers at AHRQ. Likewise, LSDMA, the ability to analyze and extract information from large, diverse and different sources of data, saw the second largest decrease of $67.5M, from $579.8M in FY 2017 to $512.3M in FY 2018, also affected by the lower numbers at NIH as well as NSF.

In an agency perspective, the following chart compares the FY 2017 and FY 2018 budgets for NITRD participants:

DOE, DOD and DARPA are part of the few agencies that saw larger investments in FY 2018. The $29.8M increase under DOE is due to facility upgrades in HCIA, the IT infrastructure for high capability computing. Moreover, NNSA under DOE saw an additional $10M in FY 2018 for added R&D activities by vendor partners in its Exascale Computing Project’s PathForward program. The $37.8M additional dollars under DOD are primarily towards CSIA to secure the Defense Research and Engineering Network for the High Performance Computing Modernization Program (HPCMP), and SDP for cyber-enabled materials, manufacturing, and smart systems. DARPA’s overall $37.7M increase is due to investment in CHuman for research in human machine relationships and research in modeling and knowledge discovery under LSDMA.

The decreases in NIH are largely due to an $80.7M decline in CHuman, $44.2M in SDP and $32.1M in LSDMA, among other cuts in other PCAs. The large NSF decrease is attributed to $12.2M less in CHuman for its Smart and Connect Health and Cyberlearning and Further Learning Technologies, a $12.5M reduction in CSIA for R&D in cybersecurity  programs and a $38.9M decrease in LSDMA.

Not too surprising, the numbers appear to be in line with the trends in the FY 2018 president budget request; a boost in Defense programs as well as large investment in cybersecurity initiatives. Decreases lend the idea that less priority is taken in R&D and systems surrounding different sciences. For more information, the NITRD supplement can be found here and goes into further detailed description and additional key programs and strategies for each PCA in the R&D world of cutting-edge technology. 

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