James R. Janis served as deputy assistant secretary for planning and evaluation at the Energy Department in 1978 and 1979. He is executive vice president, American Capital and Research Corp.
Ronald Reagan came to town in 1981 saying that he wanted to shut down the Energy Department. The demoralizing effects of such rhetoric are still remembered at the DOE's headquarters on Independence Avenue. Casting aside Reagan's anti-bureaucratic themes, George Bush has proposed a DOE budget for fiscal 1992 that increases not only the overall level of spending, but the number of professional staff members as well -- a most welcome departure from the norm.
All of the major budget increases, including basic and applied research, energy technology development and environmental cleanup, require that the people who administer the programs have a high level of scientific expertise. . . .
The most dramatic increase comes in the environmental cleanup budget, which will grow by almost $1 billion, from this year's appropriation of $3 billion. The staffing levels in this program are projected to increase by about 20 percent in fiscal 1992. These increases are proposed for a departmental function that was not even formally recognized as necessary until two years ago. . . .