American Statistical Association


 Section on Statistics in Defense and National Security

Reasons for Section

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 Security:

  1. 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.
  2. 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 competitions.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
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2009 American Statistical Association