Reps. Lipinski, McKinley, and Langevin Introduce Bi-Partisan Legislation to Protect Department of Defense Social Science Research Programs

Press Release

Date: June 5, 2020
Location: Washington, DC
Issues: Defense Science

Rep. Dan Lipinski (IL-3) and Rep. David McKinley (WV-1) yesterday led introduction of the Social Sciences Protect Our Nation Act (H.R. 7106). Rep. Jim Langevin, Chair of the Subcommittee on Intelligence and Emerging Threats and Capabilities joined as an original co-sponsor of the legislation. The Social Sciences Protect Our Nation Act is a bipartisan effort to promote the importance of Department of Defense social science research, including the Minerva Research Initiative. Minerva Research Initiative grants fund university research projects that advance the Department of Defense's understanding of the political, social, and cultural dynamics of security.

"In recent years, Minerva has helped us better understand how terrorist networks exploit social media to radicalize and recruit potential terrorists in the United States and abroad," said Rep. Lipinski. "Other Minerva funded projects have advanced our understanding of America's adversaries, including China, Iran, and North Korea and have provided social and cultural insights on regions where American troops are deployed or may be deployed in the future. Funding for the social sciences advances DOD's mission by equipping our forces with the insights they need to keep Americans safe in the 21st century. I am proud to join with Rep. McKinley and Rep. Langevin in fighting to protect this important research."

"The Minerva Research Initiative has helped improve our basic understanding of America's national security policy by granting universities research funding. Last year, a political science professor from West Virginia University received funding to study the national security implications from the urgent need to build state capacity. Studies like these are important to broaden our knowledge of defense related issues and advanced our understanding of America's rivals. Our mission is to bring more research to West Virginia and other states to continue these important studies," said. Rep. McKinley.

"The Consortium of Social Science Associations (COSSA) applauds Representatives Daniel Lipinski and David McKinley for introducing the Social Sciences Protect Our Nation Act, which recognizes the essential role basic social and behavioral science research plays in supporting national defense and the need for such research to have a home within the Defense Department, where it can be put to immediate use," said Wendy A. Naus, Executive Director of the Consortium of Social Science Associations. "Social science research has enhanced America's national security by improving our understanding of complex dynamics such as terrorism and radicalization, gang behavior, political instability, and demographic shifts in nations around the world. The Social Sciences Protect Our Nation Act will ensure that this research continues to thrive within our national security enterprise."

The bill would require the Department of Defense to maintain the Minerva Research Initiative, which was proposed for elimination in the Administration's FY 2021 budget request. The bill would also require the Department to increase transparency about their plans to fund Minerva, in addition to the individual social science research programs housed within the Army, Navy, and Air Force. Finally, the bill requires the Department of Defense to report on plans to improve Minerva's organizational structure to enhance coordination and align the program to the Department's Science and Technology roadmaps and the National Defense Strategy to ensure continued relevance.