Science Public Policy News

Science Advocacy Weekend Workshop and Congressional Briefing Focus on Military Psychology

APA's Public Policy Office convened its 11th annual Science Advocacy Training Workshop September 27 - 29, bringing in fourteen distinguished researchers to focus on the topic of "Psychological Science and the Military."

By Heather O'Beirne Kelly and Sara Robinson

APA's Public Policy Office convened its 11th annual Science Advocacy Training Workshop September 27 - 29, bringing in fourteen distinguished researchers to focus on the topic of "Psychological Science and the Military." Following intensive training in the federal legislative process and effective communication with Congress and the media, the psychologists talked with Susan Chipman, from the Office of Naval Research (ONR). Chipman gave an overview of the cognitive research program at ONR and outlined some of the areas in which she'd like to see more investigation. The group then developed a briefing sheet on behavioral science funding within the Department of Defense, highlighting the likely impact of substantial cuts made to this program in Fiscal Year 2004. The following day, workshop participants used these briefing sheets to advocate for increased support in Fiscal Year 2005 during meetings with their Congressional delegations on Capitol Hill. Psychologists reported that a number of the Congressional staffers were dismayed by the cuts and asked to meet with our researchers again for input early in 2004 when the new defense funding bill will be drafted.

The weekend workshop brought together a strong group of scientists with wide-ranging expertise, including human factors, psychobiology, and industrial/organizational psychology. The group included: James Callan (Pacific Science & Engineering, Inc.), Janis Cannon-Bowers (University of Central Florida), Nancy Cooke (Arizona State University), William Howell (Arizona State and Rice Universities), Dennis Kowal (IDA), Gerald Krueger (Wexford Group International), Sandra Marshall (San Diego State University), Kevin Murphy (The Pennsylvania State University), Michael Paley (Aptima, Inc.), Elaine Pulakos (Personnel Decisions Research Institutes, Inc.), Karlene Roberts (University of California, Berkeley), William Strickland (Human Resources Research Organization), Jennifer Vendemia (University of South Carolina), and Stephen Zaccaro (George Mason University).

In conjunction with this year's advocacy workshop, APA also co-sponsored a Congressional briefing on September 29th with the office of Senator John McCain (R-AZ) titled "Psychological Science in Support of the Soldier." In his roles as Chairman of the Senate's Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, Member of the Armed Services Committee, and forme

Naval Officer and POW, Sen. McCain has been a strong supporter of defense research on Capitol Hill. His staff provided the Commerce Committee hearing room for the briefing, which was designed to educate Congressional defense staffers on the vital contributions of psychological research to our military and national defense. Three APA members, Gerald Krueger, Robert Roland (Industrial College of the Armed Forces, National Defense University), and Howard Weiss (Purdue University's Military Family Research Institute) presented research on human factors issues in designing infantry suits, operational research on Prisoners of War, and military family issues related to service member recruitment and retention. William Howell (Arizona State and Rice Universities, former Chief Scientist for Human Resources for the U.S. Air Force, and former APA Executive Director for Science) moderated the panel and offered a vision for future human-centered research within the military.

PPO staff will continue to advocate both for appropriate funding of
psychological research within the Department of Defense and for the translation of relevant research into more effective technology, operations and personnel/family programs within the military. Bringing our members' research expertise to bear on the federal policy process is our most effective tool, and we expect this group of military psychologists to play a critical role!