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Amendment No. 10 Offered by Mr. Kratovil

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Location: Washington, DC


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Amendment No. 10 Offered by Mr. Kratovil -- (House of Representatives - June 25, 2009)

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Mr. SCHIFF. I am very grateful to the gentleman and want to speak very briefly on an amendment I've introduced to authorize NASA's federally funded research and development centers to participate in DOD research and development programs.

JPL's scientific leadership represents an invaluable source of key expertise to DOD. JPL has performed research for DOD for decades. This amendment simply clarifies JPL's authority to continue to work with the Defense Department and closely parallels an amendment to perform the same function for the Department of Energy. We have worked with NASA to ensure this does not interfere with JPL's primary mission to build spacecraft and perform scientific research for NASA. This way we can ensure that important collaborations between JPL and DOD will continue.

Mr. Chair, today I am introducing an amendment that explicitly authorizes NASA's federally funded research and development centers to participate in Department of Defense research and development programs.

Many of us are familiar with NASA's world-renowned research and development center, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, in Pasadena, California. JPL, which is managed for NASA by the California Institute of Technology, has designed, built and controlled many of America's most successful unmanned spacecraft. Unmanned space probes, from the Ranger and Surveyor missions that paved the way for Apollo, to the Voyager spacecraft that explored the outer planets and continue to send back data even as they leave the solar system, have increased our comprehension of our celestial neighborhood beyond anything contemplated half a century ago. Since we first sent robotic emissaries to our neighboring planets, every American space probe that has visited another planet was managed by JPL.

The journal Science named JPL's discovery of evidence of past water on Mars as 2004's ``Breakthrough of the Year''. JPL's spectacular missions have brought us incalculable scientific data and have sustained Americans' passion for spaceflight at a time of greatly diminished human presence in space. These spacecraft have reinforced America's scientific and technological preeminence.

JPL's scientific leadership represents an invaluable source of key expertise for the Department of Defense. The Jet Propulsion Lab has performed research for the Department of Defense for decades by responding to DoD Broad Agency Announcements. This amendment simply clarifies JPL's authority to continue to work with the defense department, and closely parallels an amendment which performed the same function for Department of Energy National Labs in 1998. I have worked with NASA to ensure that the amendment does not interfere with JPL's primary mission, to build spacecraft and perform scientific research for NASA. By including this amendment, we ensure that important collaborations between the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the Department of Defense will continue into the future. I urge my colleagues to approve this amendment.

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