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Obama's 2013 budget boosts tech R&D spending

Proposal provides $140 billion for research and development of technologies such as clean energy, wireless communications, and cybersecurity--a 5 percent increase over 2012.

Steven Musil Night Editor / News
Steven Musil is the night news editor at CNET News. He's been hooked on tech since learning BASIC in the late '70s. When not cleaning up after his daughter and son, Steven can be found pedaling around the San Francisco Bay Area. Before joining CNET in 2000, Steven spent 10 years at various Bay Area newspapers.
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Steven Musil
2 min read

President Obama plans to increase U.S. funding by 5 percent next year for research and development of a broad swath of technologies, according to his proposed fiscal 2013 budget, which was released today.

The president's budget (see below) has earmarked $140.8 billion for overall R&D, specifically focusing on those areas that will "directly contribute to the creation of transformational technologies that can create the businesses and jobs of the future."

To further research of clean energy, smart infrastructure, wireless communications, and cybersecurity, Obama plans to divide $13.1 billion among the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy's Office of Science, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology. It also provides $51 million to the NSF to create more flexible and efficient use of the radio spectrum--"an investment that reflects the large and growing importance of the wireless communications sector."

NASA, meanwhile, would get $17.7 billion for 2013, including $1.3 billion to develop new technology that would "keep the aerospace industry...at the cutting edge in the years to come." However, the agency's overall budget is about $59 million less than it received last year, a decrease of 0.3 percent.

"While making difficult choices, the budget builds on our existing space infrastructure, continues efforts to streamline agency operations, and preserves innovative capabilities and technologies to sustain American leadership in space," the budget proposal reads.

Calling wireless broadband "a critical component of business operations and economic growth," the proposed budget provides $10 billion to build an interoperable wireless broadband network across the country. As part of that initiative, the president calls for the authority for "voluntary incentive auctions" that will allow spectrum licensees to rent out their portion of the spectrum.

The proposal providing $769 million to the National Cyber Security Division of the Department of Homeland Security to prepare for "a range of emerging threats," including cyberattacks on the nation's information technology networks.

"To accelerate patent processing and improve patent quality," the budget proposes providing the U.S. Patent Office with $2.95 billion in funding, nearly $250 million more than the agency received under this year's budget. The proposal also supports strengthened intellectual property enforcement.

The Obama administration also plans to overhaul the government's IT infrastructure to improve productivity and service, while lowering the cost of operations and increasing security. The administration said it has already closed 140 government data centers and expects to close nearly 1,100 more by the end of 2015, resulting in a savings of $3 billion to $5 billion.

President Obama's Proposed 2013 Budget