Our six reasons for converting
the current ASA Committee on Statisticians in Defense and National
Security into the ASA Section on Statistics in Defense and National
- A section has more influence
than a committee, and a change at this time would show a concrete way
in which the statistics community is addressing contemporary problems.
The ASA should take an active role in promoting good statistical
practice, applications, and research in what is perhaps the most
important national endeavor of the foreseeable future; this effort will
surely involve technical issues of prediction, data quality, data
management, and data analysis. An official section would help
create a larger role for federal statisticians in the newly-defined
security missions at many government agencies.
- As a section, we would have at
least one guaranteed invited slot at the Joint Statistical Meetings
(more if our membership expands). That slot can provide a reliable
forum to survey the very rapidly growing quantity of counterterrorism
research in statistics. It will also help us to foster the development
of this new field, by showcasing the most promising new research
directions. Without section status, we cannot be certain of invited
slots into the indefinite future, despite our recent successes in
- For decades the Army Research
Office, the Office of Naval Research, and the National Security Agency
have generously funded academic research in statistics. It is only
appropriate that their interests receive a dedicated portion of the
attention of the ASA.
- The committee often focused
upon the armed forces, but the 9/11 terrorist attacks of have expanded
new national security roles into most of the major federal agencies.
This is a new constituency whose newly discovered common interests will
prosper best from mutual discussions. This new constituency would
probably not look to the current committee as the natural forum for
their concerns, but a new section would attract their attention.
- The ASA established the
current committee as an incubator for a potential future section. That
is why the committee has a fixed term that will expire in 2006.
- An ASA section will be better
able than a Committee to organize workshops and other meetings in the
area of national security. Similarly, the increased membership would
enable us to further more projects than we can currently address.