AS the newly appointed science adviser to President Bush, Yale
University physicist D. Allan Bromley faces one of the toughest
assignments a presidential assistant has tackled.
He must penetrate the barriers between federal agencies and
between separately funded projects in an era when major scientific
programs cut across established lines of authority and existing
budget categories, according to outgoing science adviser William R.
Dr. Graham explained that this now is the only way the
administration and Congress can plan and carry out an effective
strategy to make the most of the federal government's investment in
It's a Washington clich'e to call the problem of penetrating
those traditional barriers "nearly intractable." Previous science
advisers, including Graham, have had minimal success in trying to
This is in spite of the fact that Congress created the Federal
Coordinating Council for Science, Engineering, and Technology 13
years ago to promote an interagency perspective. Its 14 members
include the heads of the scientifically relevant federal agencies.
Yet, speaking as the most recent council chairman, Graham said, "We
still have a long way to go."
As an example of what needs to be done, Graham cited the research
program on global climate change which the coordinating council has
under review. This $200 million program cuts across seven agencies.
The best way to deal with it is to consider the program as a whole
rather than taking it bit by bit in terms of disconnected agency
projects and their budgets.
The National Academy of Sciences has recommended that the entire
federal research-and-development budget be subjected to this kind of
cross-agency analysis. Both Congress and the administration have
acknowledged the need to do this. They are looking to the new
science adviser to provide the leadership to carry out this
Thus, as Graham prepared to hand over his office to his
successor, he said that "building crossties between federal
departments" will be "one of the major challenges of the next four
Graham outlined this challenge shortly before the public
announcement of Dr. Bromley's appointment last Thursday. It was part
of his keynote address to the 14th annual colloquium on science and
technology policy held in Washington by the American Association for
the Advancement of Science. …