Issues in Science and Technology

A quarterly journal of the National Academy of Science focused on discussion of public policy related to science, engineering, and medicine. Provides a forum researchers, government officials, business leaders, and others concerned with public policy to s

Articles from Vol. 9, No. 2, Winter

A New Mechanism to Fund R&D
For decades, the U.S. government has done an outstanding job of supporting basic scientific research. Thanks to federal funding, Americans have learned a great deal about everything from their place in the cosmos to the composition of their genes. This...
A Success-Based Competitiveness Policy
What role should the federal government play in high-tech markets? Should it protect U.S.-based firms competing in strategically important industries? Should it attempt to preserve a U.S. industrial presence in consumer electronics? Should it devise...
Can Defense Research Revive U.S. Industry?
Probably not, but with better technology transfer it can at least contribute to commercial progress. Even before the Cold War ended, public pressure was growing for the defense research and development (R&D) community to produce technologies with...
Getting beyond Rio
To no one's surprise, the two-week Earth Summit in Rio de Janiero last June ended in frustration and a flurry of recrimination. Much of the blame was attributed to U.S. equivocation in its support for agreements on global warming, biodiversity, and tropical...
Moving Military Missiles to Market
It may well be the proverbial match made in heaven--or, more specifically, for the heavens. The civil space program needs smaller, more affordable missions, and the primary obstacle is a lack of small, low-cost, expendable launch vehicles (SELVs). The...
Reconciling Economic and Environmental Goals
Faster economic progress is compatible with better environmental quality, as the Clinton-Gore campaign asserted. But achieving both these objectives will require the new administration to resolve the country's economic problems with policies that promote...
Taming Health Care Costs Now
Decades of rising health care costs and failing cost-control efforts have created major headaches for many U.S. businesses and for the country at large. Unchecked increases in health care outlays are diverting resources from other investments--ranging...
The Military's Role in Rebuilding America
In the past two years, the world has witnessed unprecedented events that have altered the precepts of national security policy developed since World War II. The United States is leaving an era that required large numbers of U.S. combat forces overseas,...
Time to Shake Up Earthquake Planning
Quakes are inevitable, but we can take action now to limit the damage. Scientists are certain that massive earthquakes with enormous destructive potential will strike the United States. The question is not if but when. Although California is considered...
University Research: New Goals, New Practices
The end of the Cold War and the increased international competition among national economies is forcing a shift in U.S. priorities, and with it a reevaluation of the rationale for federal support of university research. Since the end of World War II,...