The White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy released a report Wednesday detailing its accomplishments during the first year of the Trump administration and celebrating “the tremendous S&T achievements by the Trump Administration to date.”
“The Trump Administration is committed to advancing technological development and conducting research and development (R&D) to ensure national security, grow the economy, create well-paying jobs, and improve the lives of Americans across this great nation,” the 12-page report states.
Among the achievements are various developments in artificial intelligence and autonomy, biomedical innovation, government IT modernization, opioid epidemic response, STEM education and more.
For example, removing barriers to testing and integrating drones was a key piece of Trump’s tech policy in year one. One of the first events OSTP hosted was a forum on drones and other emerging tech during the White House’s “tech week” in July. Then, in October, Trump signed a presidential memorandum aimed at encouraging the FAA to streamline the drone testing process.
The president also set up the Office of American Innovation and the American Technology Council, two internal bodies tasked with providing executive leadership to the ongoing government IT modernization saga. The OSTP report takes care to note that President Trump signed the Modernizing Government Technology Act into law and mentions the General Services Administration’s forthcoming IT centers of excellence as well.
On the issue of STEM education, the report cites a presidential memorandum from September that directs the secretary of education to “prioritize high-quality STEM and computer science education when awarding competitive grant funding.”
The report touts the administration’s commitment to science and technology based on its federal research and development budget requests. While it is true that the president has requested an increased amount for R&D, it is also worth noting that in the fiscal 2019 request not all federal agencies are equal winners, and some, like the National Institute of Standards and Technology, could even take a cut should the budget be passed as-is.
The report also states that OSTP currently has a “robust” staff of over 50. However, after more than one year of the Trump administration, OSTP still lacks a director (or even a nomination for a director). Michael Kratsios, the office’s deputy CTO, continues to be a de-facto leader. The celebratory report, though, does not address this issue.
“OSTP looks forward to continuing to advocate for American scientists and technologists in the year ahead, and working together to ensure that the United States continues to lead the world in technological innovation and scientific discovery,” it concludes.