Bipartisan Bill Would Mandate DOD Fund Social Science Research

On June 5, Reps. Daniel Lipinski (D-IL) and David McKinley (R-WV) introduced the Social Sciences Protect Our Nation Act (H.R. 7106), a bill that would require the Department of Defense (DOD) to maintain a basic social sciences research program. Rep. Jim Langevin (D-RI), Chair of the House Armed Services Committee’s Subcommittee on Intelligence and Emerging Threats and Capabilities, joined as an original co-sponsor of the legislation. The bill was introduced in response to DOD’s plans to cut Defense-wide funding for social and behavioral science research, including the Minerva Research Initiative, a university-based social science research program, in the coming fiscal year. According to the legislation, “Maintaining a basic social sciences research program provides the Department of Defense critical access to expertise to inform cultural understanding, support technological edge, counter adversarial social interventions, and understand drivers to strengthen alliances and attract new partners.”

COSSA released a statement on the legislation that was included in a press release from Rep. Lipinski’s office:

“The Consortium of Social Science Associations (COSSA) applauds Representatives Daniel Lipinski and David McKinley for introducing the Social Sciences Protect Our Nation Act, which recognizes the essential role basic social and behavioral science research plays in supporting national defense and the need for such research to have a home within the Defense Department, where it can be put to immediate use. Social science research has enhanced America’s national security by improving our understanding of complex dynamics such as terrorism and radicalization, gang behavior, political instability, and demographic shifts in nations around the world. The Social Sciences Protect Our Nation Act will ensure that this research continues to thrive within our national security enterprise.”

Upon its introduction, the legislation was referred to the House Armed Services Committee, although a timeline for consideration is unclear.

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Posted in Issue 12 (June 9), Update, Volume 39 (2020)

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