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Author Topic: Trump Administration Assaults on Science and the Environment  (Read 70574 times)

vox_mundi

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Re: Trump Administration Assaults on Science and the Environment
« Reply #500 on: April 14, 2019, 04:01:19 AM »
Pentagon Cancels Contract for JASON Advisory Panel
https://fas.org/blogs/secrecy/2019/04/pentagon-jason/

In a startling blow to the system of independent science and technology advice, the Department of Defense decided not to renew its support for the JASON defense science advisory panel, it was disclosed yesterday. 

JASON performs technical studies for many agencies inside and outside of the national security bureaucracy and it is highly regarded for the quality of its work.

The JASON panel has performed studies (many of which are classified) for federal agencies including the National Nuclear Security Administration, the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Reconnaissance Office, as well as the Census Bureau and the Department of Health and Human Services.

So why is the Pentagon threatening its future?

... So far, those who do know are not talking. The Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Research and Engineering) “would not answer any questions or discuss the matter in any way whatsoever.”

... The Pentagon move to cancel the JASON contract appears to be part of a larger trend by federal agencies to limit independent scientific and technical advice. As noted by Rep. Cooper at yesterday’s hearing, the Navy also lately terminated its longstanding Naval Research Advisory Committee.

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Navy Torpedoes Scientific Advisory Group 
https://fas.org/blogs/secrecy/2019/04/nrac-terminated/

This week the U.S. Navy abruptly terminated its own scientific advisory group, depriving the service of a source of internal critique and evaluation.

The Naval Research Advisory Committee (NRAC) was established by legislation in 1946 and provided science and technology advice to the Navy for the past 73 years. Now it’s gone.

The decision to disestablish the Committee was announced in a March 29 Federal Register notice, which did not provide any justification for eliminating it. Phone and email messages to the office of the Secretary of the Navy seeking more information were not returned. 

This will leave the Navy without an independent and objective technical advisory body, which is not in the best interests of the Navy or the nation,” said a Navy scientist.

« Last Edit: April 14, 2019, 04:22:23 AM by vox_mundi »
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vox_mundi

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Re: Trump Administration Assaults on Science and the Environment
« Reply #501 on: April 20, 2019, 11:11:59 PM »
USDA Is Forcing Its Researchers to Label Their Peer-Reviewed Studies as Only 'Preliminary'   
https://gizmodo.com/usda-is-forcing-its-researchers-to-label-their-peer-rev-1834176766

The peer review process for scientific publications is a tedious and trusted mechanism by which papers are determined credible sources of information or not. While “peer reviewed” isn’t synonymous with conclusive, it’s long been a stamp of approval for other scientists and the public to weed out low-quality research. But a new requirement from the federal government effectively undermines these studies by forcing researchers to include a disclaimer labeling their studies as “preliminary.

According to the Washington Post, the United States Department of Agriculture sent a memo to researchers at the department in July of last year that outlined a number of new requirements, including a statement that had to be added—in the same-sized font as the author names—that stated:
Quote
... “The findings and conclusions in this preliminary publication have not been formally disseminated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and should not be construed to represent any agency determination or policy.” 

This text, that essentially brands carefully reviewed research as “preliminary,” was reportedly the “result of a high-level compromise” that allowed USDA researchers “to publish scientific research without having to get it officially reviewed as representing USDA policy. (by Trump appointees/ industry lobbyists)” It was also supposed to just be “an interim policy,” with a new guideline rolling out in the fall, according to internal communications among department employees obtained by the Post.

But a new guideline never happened, the “interim” one was reportedly never announced to the public, and the disclaimer has reportedly already been inserted into a number of existing peer-reviewed journals.

Any scientist reading a journal, seeing that, would be very confused by this statement,” Ed Gregorich, editor of the Journal of Environmental Quality, told the Post.  ...
“There are three classes of people: those who see. Those who see when they are shown. Those who do not see.” ― Leonardo da Vinci

Insensible before the wave so soon released by callous fate. Affected most, they understand the least, and understanding, when it comes, invariably arrives too late