DOE: defense up, civilian down Essay

According to its secretary, Donald Hodel, the Department of Energy (DOE) is participating in “the government-wide goal of reducing the federal deficit.” This means a proposed decrease in total authorization requested for the department from $14.3 billion to $12.5 billion, which translates to cuts for all activities except those related to defense needs. For example, DOE is asking for about 2 percent less for research and development (R&D) in fiscal year 1986 than in FY ’85. However, within this budget, defense-related items would get an increase of $140.6 million, while all others would take cuts.

Among U.S. government agencies, the DOE is the largest supporter of particle physics, nuclear physics and fusion or plasma physics. Particle physics would be cut from $545.6 million to $510.1 million. Part of the decrease, says Martha Hesse Dolan, assistant secretary for administration, represents expensive items that are nearing completion such as the Tevatron II program at the Fermi National Accelerator laboratory. The proposed 1986 budget, she says, includes construction money for he Tevatron I program and the Stanford Linear Collider. It also includes R;D money for the Superconducting Super Collider. In addition, nuclear physics would take a cut of $10 million. Magnetic fusion would be cut by $47 million, and, Dolan says, DOE would continue to shift its emphasis toward long-term scientific goals and away from engineering problems. DOE programs in solar energy, fossil fuels and civilian reactor development would also suffer cuts. Defense production and support would increase by $584 million, and weapons production would go up by $338.4 million.

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