Advocating on Capitol Hill for Psychological Research at DoD

On June 4, Debbie Boehm-Davis, PhD, testified before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense on behalf of APA. Chair of the Psychology Department at George Mason University and a Fellow of APA’s Division 21, Dr. Boehm-Davis is a human factors psychologist with expertise in human-computer interaction and transportation.

On June 4, Debbie Boehm-Davis, PhD, testified before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense on behalf of APA. Chair of the Psychology Department at George Mason University and a Fellow of APA’s Division 21, Dr. Boehm-Davis is a human factors psychologist with expertise in human-computer interaction and transportation. For the past several years she also has served on the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board.

Dr. Boehm-Davis testified regarding Fiscal Year 2009 funding for Science and Technology (S&T) at the Department of Defense (DoD), and on behalf of support for psychological research in particular. Her oral testimony highlighted the need for Congress to again reverse proposed Administration cuts to the overall S&T account and to protect behavioral science research programs throughout the agency. Though the President’s budget included increases for basic research, it would substantially cut applied research programs that bring this research into applications for military use.

Strengthening APA’s ongoing advocacy for increasing DoD’s human-centered research programs are the findings of a newly released 2008 report from the National Academies on Human Behavior in Military Contexts. The report recommends enhancing funding for research in six areas of behavioral research that traditionally have been supported by the military research laboratories (the Army Research Institute, Office of Naval Research, and Air Force Research Laboratory):

  • intercultural competence;

  • teams in complex environments;

  • technology-based training;

  • nonverbal behavior;

  • emotion; and

  • behavioral neurophysiology.

Dr. Boehm-Davis concluded her testimony by noting another APA concern – the potential loss of invaluable behavioral science programs within DoD’s Counterintelligence Field Activity (CIFA) as it reorganizes and loses personnel strength. APA’s testimony urged Congress to provide ongoing funding in the next fiscal year for CIFA’s behavioral research programs on cyber security, insider threat, and other counter-terrorism and counter-intelligence operational challenges.  For more information on APA’s DoD research advocacy, contact Science GRO’s Heather Kelly, PhD.

spin-2008-06-boehmdavis Deborah Boehm-Davis, PhD, testifying on behalf of APA before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense
spin-2008-06-inouyestevens Chairman Daniel K. Inouye (D-HI) and Ranking Member Ted Stevens (R-AK) respond to Dr. Boehm-Davis' testimony