Robert C. Leif, Ph.D.
Sat, 6 May 2000 20:55:47 -0700
From: Bob Leif
As most of us remember, the National Research Council (NRC) issued the
report that was in large part the excuse to end the Ada Mandate. I do
believe the abolition of the mandate had the great benefit to Ada of
reducing her association with and dependence on the Department of Defense. I
also believe that maintenance of the Mandate with real enforcement would
have had the two excellent long-run effects of strengthening the US National
defense and saving the US Taxpayers a significant about of money.
In the 28 April 2000 Science on pages 587 and 589, there appeared a NEWS
item, "NATIONAL ACADEMIES: Task Force Tinkers With Research Council, by
Andrew Lawler". Even though I have downloaded http://www.sciencemag.org
the article, since both this article and its summary are copyrighted, I can
only provide a few quotations.
"After several years of public turbulence, the U.S. national academies of
science and engineering are about to embark on some private upheaval. The
chiefs of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and its sister groups, the
National Academy of Engineering (NAE) and the Institute of Medicine (IOM),
have set their sights on restructuring the National Research Council (NRC),
the huge think tank-like operation responsible for most of the reports,
meetings, and workshops carried out each year by the academies."
"On the agenda are proposals that would streamline the Byzantine NRC
structure, raise additional revenue from state governments and other
nonfederal sources, and extend its influence beyond its bread-and-butter
reports on topics ranging from defending the country against nuclear attacks
to improving minority health care."
"There is widespread agreement that some sort of an overhaul is long
"The question of restructuring the NRC has been on the table for several
years. But a messy fight that resulted in the departure of former NAE
president Harold Liebowitz (Science, 1 March 1996, p. 1222) and legal
wrangling over whether the NRC must abide by a law that requires government
advisory committees to conduct their business in public (Science, 14
November 1997, p. 1219) left top officials with little time to address
The problem was that the NRC was managed by the National Academy of Science
and the National Academy of Engineering wished to share in the management of
the NRC. I believe that the expertise National Academy of Engineering would
more relevant to software than that of the National Academy of Science.