Jason and Darpa-Nauts

April 12, 2019

If you are not up to speed on the Jason Group, Wikipedia, for now, has a write up about the organization of academics who provide input and other support to the US government. Yes, you can become a member. The trick is to identify people who are Jasons, lobby a couple, and wait until you are voted in. A Nobel prize is a useful award. High level contacts at Mitre can be a plus too.

So who cares about Jasons aside from some Washington insiders? Fewer DoD types than in the 1960s and 1970s.

According to Government Executive:

Pentagon officials are killing JASON in all but name. Last month, they sent the bad news to MITRE, the nonprofit corporation that runs the program. “The Pentagon Is Killing a Key Independent-Research Program” reported:

They [government COTRs] don’t have to “terminate” the contract to kill the program, since it was set to expire at the end of March. By changing the contract from IDIQ to a single contract, other agencies will no longer be able to commission studies, essentially killing the program without  technically terminating it.

This is a nice way of saying, “So long for now.”

What’s the conclusion Government Executive drew from this announcement:

Bottom line: the Pentagon is spending more on new science and tech initiatives but will be spending less on independent academic research into how those initiatives will fare.

DarkCyber believes that other research avenues are more likely to deliver the type of outputs that the DoD and its units require. Good news or bad news? Consulting firms are likely to benefit. Some academics will have to chase RFQs with more diligence.

Stephen E Arnold, April 12, 2019


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