The American Chemical Society has 154,000 members, making it the world’s largest scientific society. Many are international, but like the US arm of the largest engineering society, IEEE-USA, ACS provides a legislative agenda to represent its US members, and what it sees as the national interest, to the Federal Government. Their policy statement on the FY2010 budget for the Department of Defense is quoted below, since I think it makes an excellent case for R&D investment to maintain our technological edge for national security, and reports on how DOD is not meeting that challenge.
We will soon see the final numbers for the DOD budget, and I doubt that it will be possible to meet the ACS goals within a budget that has to pay for two wars that have already lasted longer than any previous US wars. I don’t envy those who have to make allocations between the need to contain nasty, but limited, threats from Al Qaeda now, and likely much worse threats from emerging superpowers later. The President’s speech last night touched on one aspect of this dilemma, not guns vs. butter, but guns now vs. investments in the economic strength to buy guns later. The ACS says: