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Eli Berman on Budget Cuts to the Minerva Research Initiative | Science


Science quotes affiliate Eli Berman on his work with the Minerva Research Initiative in an article about current Department of Defense plans to cut social science research funding.

“The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) wants to kill a unique social science research program that has helped it understand nontraditional threats to national security, from the rapid growth of China’s technological prowess to the mind of a suicide bomber.

DOD’s $740 billion budget request for fiscal year 2021 drops core funding for the $20 million Minerva Research Initiative. Michael Griffin, DOD undersecretary for research and engineering, put Minerva on the chopping block as part of a review by Defense Secretary Mark Esper that identified some $5 billion worth of programs deemed less essential to DOD’s mission. Griffin, who oversees a $16.5 billion research budget, has made developing hypersonic weapons his top priority, and DOD watchers say Minerva doesn’t meet Griffin’s definition of what his office should be funding.

‘The current undersecretary doesn’t believe that Minerva is science,’ says a Democratic congressional staffer familiar with the program. ‘He thinks it’s soft, and his priorities are elsewhere.’ ”

Source: Budget cut threatens novel social science research program at Department of Defense | Science | AAAS

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