H.R. 2020: Networking and Information Technology Research and Development Act of 2009

H.R. 2020

Networking and Information Technology Research and Development Act of 2009

May 12, 2009 (111th Congress, 1st Session)

Staff Contact
Sarah Makin

Floor Situation

H.R. 2020 is being considered on the floor under suspension of the rules, requiring a two-thirds majority vote for passage.  This legislation was introduced by Rep. Bart Gordon (D-TN) on April 22, 2009. 

Bill Summary

H.R. 2020 requires the Networking and Information Technology Research and Development Act (NITRD) agencies to periodically assess the program contents and funding levels and to update the program accordingly.  The bill also requires the NITRD agencies to develop and periodically update (at three-year intervals) a strategic plan for the program.  The characteristics and content of the strategic plan are described in the bill and include strengthening networking and information technology education, fostering technology transfer, and encouraging innovative, large-scale, and interdisciplinary research.

The bill requires that the existing advisory committee for NITRD co-chairs be members of the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. 

H.R. 2020 specifies that the annual report now required for the NITRD program explicitly describe how the program activities planned and underway relate to the objectives specified in the strategic plan.

The bill authorizes NITRD agencies to support large-scale, long-term, interdisciplinary research with the potential to make significant contributions to society and U.S. economic competitiveness and to encourage collaboration between at least two agencies as well as cost-sharing from non-federal sources. 

The bill authorizes support of activities under this section through interdisciplinary research centers that are organized to investigate basic research questions and carry out technology demonstration activities.

The bill requires the program to support research and development in cyber-physical systems; human-computer interactions, visualization, and information management.

The bill requires the National Coordination Office (NCO) Director to convene a university/industry task force to explore mechanisms for carrying out collaborative research and development activities for cyber-physical systems with participants from universities, Federal laboratories, and industry.  The NCO is to report to Congress on any findings and recommendations from the task force on models for collaborative research and development.

The bill formally establishes the NCO; delineates the office's responsibilities; mandates annual operating budgets; specifies the source of funding for the office (consistent with current practice); and stresses the role of the NCO in developing the strategic plan and in public outreach and communication with outside communities of interest.


The High-Performance Computing Act of 1991 (S. 272) was signed into law by President George H.W. Bush on December 9, 1991 (P.L. 102-194).  S. 272 led to the development of the National Information Infrastructure, the National Research and Education Network, the High-Performance Computing and Communications Initiative, and the creation of a high-speed fiber optic network.

The purpose of P.L. 102-194 was to help ensure the continued leadership of the United States in high-performance computing and its applications by:

•  Expanding Federal support for research, development, and application of high-performance computing in order to:

o    establish a high-capacity and high-speed National Research and Education Network;

o    expand the number of researchers, educators, and students with training in high-performance computing and access to high-performance computing resources;

o    promote the further development of an information infrastructure of data bases, services, access mechanisms, and research facilities available for use through the Network;

o    stimulate research on software technology;

o    promote the more rapid development and wider distribution of computer software tools and applications software;

o    accelerate the development of computing systems and subsystems;

o    invest in basic research and education, and promote the inclusion of high-performance computing into educational institutions at all levels; and,

o    promote greater collaboration among government, Federal laboratories, industry, high-performance computing centers, and universities; and

•  Improving the interagency planning and coordination of Federal research and development on high-performance computing and maximizing the effectiveness of the Federal Government's high-performance computing efforts.


A CBO cost estimate for H.R. 2020 was not available at press time.