Trump’s 2019 Budget Released

2019-08-23T15:30:21+00:00 February 12, 2018|

What It Was

Today President Trump released his fiscal year (FY) 2019 budget recommendations. As expected, the FY 2019 funding request used the administration’s FY 2018 budget recommendations as the baseline. COL will continue to track this on our science funding webpage.

Key Points


The FY 2019 budget request for National Science Foundation (NSF) is $7.472 billion, the same as the FY 2017 Current Plan level.

The increase for the Research and Related Activities account will allow NSF to invest in priority areas like Advancing NSF’s Big Ideas – bold questions that will drive NSF’s long-term research agenda; implementing agency reforms centered on accelerating focused, cross-disciplinary efforts around two of the NSF Big Ideas – The Future of Work at the Human-Technology Frontier, and Harnessing the Data Revolution; and beginning construction on the Antarctic Infrastructure Modernization for Science project. The decrease for the Major Research Equipment and Facilities Construction account is largely due to the support for two new regional class research vessels. The decrease for the Agency Operations and Award Management account is largely due to the completion of the construction of and relocation to NSF’s new headquarters building. More details on NSF’s FY 2019 budget request will provided at a later date and COL will provide an update at that time.

19 March 2018 update: Right off the top of the $7.4 billion bottom line, NSF is proposing to spend nearly $350 million for its 10 Big Ideas and related activities. The Geosciences Directorate (GEO) is proposed to be funded at $853 billion ($27.3 million, or a 3.3 percent increase over FY 2017). Like the topline number, this three percent increase is deceiving as the details also show that GEO must pay twice ($76 million) as many internal taxes as they did in FY 2017 to cover the Big Ideas ($30 million) and planned operations increases ($40 million). Digging one layer deeper into the Ocean Sciences Division (OCE), the touted $23 million increase over FY 2017 suddenly seems less a victory when the Big Ideas tax and $40 million for observations operations are taken out of it. In fact, OCE activities face lower funding levels than FY 2017. The budget agreement add back doesn’t look to help GEO core research or education programs.


For FY 2019, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) proposes a budget of $4,562,711,000 in discretionary appropriations, a decrease of $1,075,798,000 from the FY 2018 annualized continuing resolution level.

This budget supports the administration goals of promoting national security, public safety, economic growth, and job creation. As such, NOAA’s FY 2019 budget prioritizes core functions that provide the observational infrastructure, capabilities, and staff to produce timely and accurate weather forecasts and warnings; that recapitalize the NOAA fleet to ensure the continued collection of at-sea data vital to the U.S. economy for fisheries management and nautical charting; that support the government’s legal obligations to manage and conserve marine resources; and, that foster safe and efficient ocean and coastal navigation.

These were offset through the reduction and elimination of programs, including external grant programs, arctic research, and marine observations.  Specifically, $273 million in cuts to NOAA grants and education programs, including Sea Grant; the National Estuarine Research Reserve System; Coastal Zone Management Grants; the Office of Education; and the Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund.


The FY 2019 budget request for National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is a total of $19.9 billion, a $800 million (4.5 percent) increase from the 2018 Budget ($239 million above NASA’s 2017 funding level).

The Budget supports the Administration’s new space exploration policy by refocusing existing NASA activities towards exploration, by redirecting funding to innovative new programs that support the new policy, and by providing additional funding to support new public-private initiatives. The Budget provides $1.8 billion for a focused, balanced Earth Science portfolio that supports the priorities of the science and applications communities. The Budget maintains the Nation’s 45-year record of space-based land imagery by funding Landsat 9 and a Sustainable Land Imaging program. The Budget maintains the Administration’s previous termination of five Earth Science missions—PACE, OCO-3, RBI, DSCOVR Earth-viewing instruments, and CLARREO Pathfinder—to achieve savings.

The numbers above reflect the administration’s additional funds provided in its budget addendum.  The administration provides an additional $300 million for NASA, of which $235 million would augment the Administration’s Exploration Campaign and $65 million of which would address other agency priorities.


The FY 2019 budget request for Department of Defense’s (DOD) base budget is $597 billion, with $89 billion for the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) account for a total budget of $686 billion (base +OCO).  Total DOD Research, Development, Test, and Evaluation level is $92.4 billion, of which $18.6 billion is slated for the Navy.

Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is the big winner; FY 2019 budget request would increase funding by more than $350 million compared to either the House or Senate FY 2018 Defense appropriations bills. Defense science and technology continues to take a backseat to more applied research, particularly Advanced Component Development and Prototypes (6.4) and Operational Systems Development (6.7). Basic research funding, however, is slightly above the House FY 2018 proposed level but below the Senate FY 2018 level.

Next Steps

Additional details on the president’s budget will come out over the next several days and COL will continue to track these.

With the president’s proposal in hand, Congress begins the appropriations process. Over the next few months the House and Senate must pass a nonbinding budget resolution which provides a framework for the appropriations process. Then 12 appropriations bills must be passed which will outline the spending package available for FY 2019. All of this needs to occur by the end of FY 2018 on September 30, 2018 to avoid government shutdown.

Related coverage from the Consortium for Ocean Leadership