• Scientists warn of sequestration’s impact on basic research

    With less than a week left before sequestration is to take effect, America’s research community has repeated its call for an end to the across-the-board cuts to discretionary spending which will restrict the U.S. ability to invest in the basic scientific research. A coalition of American research and education institutions says that it is this basic research which drives innovation and produces economic growth.

  • Harvard president issues a clarion call for science

    Harvard President Drew Faust, addressingthe annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), called for members of the scientific community to “raise our voices” in an effort to prevent the U.S. Congress from becoming “an American Association for the Retreat of Science.” Urging widespread efforts to prevent U.S. cuts in funds for sustained research, Faust said: “We must secure the federal research support critical to the future of our nation and of the world.”

  • DHS to buy 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition

    DHS is looking to buy more than 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition in the next four or five years — this comes to about five bullets for every person in the United States. The news was met in some conspiratorial quarters as an indication that the government is in an “arms race against the American people,” but the truth is more mundane: the rounds will be used for basic and advanced law enforcement training for federal law enforcement agencies supervised by DHS. The training will be conducted Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Glynco, Georgia and other facilities, which also offer firearms training to tens of thousands of federal law enforcement officers.

  • Infrastructure renewal in regional Australia

    New research in Australia calls for the establishment of a new national organization to tackle the shortfall in infrastructure investment and boost the regions’ capacity to contribute to national economic growth. Expert say the new organization, to be called Local Infrastructure Australia, would be the most effective way of overcoming the backlog in local government infrastructure investment now estimated at between $12 and $15.5 billion.

  • Infrastructure sees drop in funding last year

    Infrastructure investments in roads, bridges, and power stations have dropped significantly in 2012 as banks struggled to offer long-term debt and governments targeted cost savings. There were hopes that infrastructure spending would boost the world economy in 2012, but funding fell from $159 billion worldwide in 2011 to $99 billion.

  • Deal would delay by two months $110 billion in automatic spending cuts

    The deal agreed on by Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky), and Vice President Joe Biden, and which was passed in the Senate in the early hours of New Year’s Day, would also delay, by two months, the $110 billion in automatic spending cuts which were set to go into effect on 3 January2013

  • Andrew Cuomo heads to Washington to push for disaster aid

    Governor Andrew Cuomo says that New York needs $33 billion to cover storm cleanup and another $9 billion for new programs to protect against future storms; Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey says his state will need $36.8 billion to recover from Sandy; it is not clear how Congress and the administration, locked in a tug of war over differing deficit cut plans, will respond

  • Sequestration will have a devastating impact on U.S. research enterprise

    Three organizations representing more than 200 of the U.S. leading academic research institutions yesterday launched a Web site that aims to inform policymakers and the public of the impact that the upcoming budget sequester would have on federal funding for university research; the Web site highlights the importance of federally funded university research to innovation, economy, an society

  • U.K. govt. awards £37.1 million for civilian nuclear research

    The U.K. Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has announced an award of 37.1 million pounds to the University of Sheffield’s Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Center (Nuclear AMRC), which are working in partnership with Rolls-Royce as the lead company for the U.K. nuclear supply chain

  • DOD faces shortfall in quality STEM workers; overhaul of recruitment policies needed

    The principal challenge for the U.S. Department of Defense’s science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) work force is recruiting and retaining top quality professionals for critical positions, says a new report; the agency must become — and be perceived as — an appealing career destination for the most capable scientists, engineers, and technicians, all of whom are in great demand in the global marketplace

  • Manufacturers: sequestration specter already a drag on economic growth

    The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) says that the United States is already struggling due to Washington’s failure to address the pending fiscal cliff; a new NAM report indicates that there will be a 0.6 percent loss in GDP growth by the end of 2012

  • Looming sequestration causes Navy to looking at future technology, fleet size

    Adm. Mark Ferguson, vice chief of naval operations, offered a revealing look at the potential future for the Navy if sequestration, or automatic defense cuts, goes into effect in January; without some sort of adjustment by Congress, currently the subject of discussion on Capitol Hill, the nearly 10 percent across-the-board Department of Defense budget cuts are slated to commence in 2013 and continue for ten years

  • Border Patrol relies in obsolescent surveillance gear

    An Obama administration plan to update equipment the Border Patrol is using did not materialize, and now officials are concerned about  outdated equipment putting the lives of agents in danger; the sensors now in use were originally said to be able to put Border Patrol agents in position to capture 90 percent of border invaders, but the DHS inspector general determined that just 4 percent of the alarms were confirmed cases of smugglers and border crossers; 34 percent were false alarms, and 62 percent were undetermined

  • Sequestration-related defense budget cuts in 2013 to increase from $50.5 to $60.6 billion

    Defense contractors are already worried about $50 billion dollars which would be cut from the defense budget on 3 January 2013 if the White House and Congress fail to reach an agreement on a deficit reduction plan; budget analysts point out that due to a provision in the Budget Control Act, another $10 billion will be added to that amount, bringing the total in defense cuts in 2013 to $60.6 billion

  • GOP lawmakers advise defense contractors to issue sequestration-related layoff notices

    The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act requires that an employer who employs more than 100 employees must provide a 60-day advanced notice to employees of mass layoffs or the closing of a plant; if the act is not followed, employees can sue for back pay and benefits for up to sixty days; the Obama administration advised defense contractors that they should not comply with the act, even in the face of the 2 January 2013 $500 billion cut in the defense budget which would go into effect if no deficit reduction agreement is reached; if contracts are cancelled and mass lay-offs ensue, the administration said it would cover the defense contractors’ non-compliance-related legal costs; Republican lawmakers say they would block any payments to cover such non-compliance, and advised defense contractors that they should follow the law