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Contract Lost

Science reports that, after 60 years, the Jason advisory group to the US Department of Defense has lost its contract.

It adds that the panel has provided the federal government with technical advice on a range of national defense issues, including on nuclear stockpiles and weapons systems. But Science reports that the Mitre Corporation, which manages the Jason group's contract, received a letter from the DoD at the end of March telling it to shut the group down.

This, it says, came to light as Representative Jim Cooper (D–Tenn.) asked Lisa Gordon-Hagerty, the head of the National Nuclear Security Administration, during a Congressional hearing this week what she knew about the Pentagon terminating the contract.

This move to eliminate Jason, Nature News says, has raised alarms among scientists. "I'm appalled," Lisbeth Gronlund from the Union of Concerned Scientists tells it. "Their work on issues related to our nuclear weapons is just really invaluable."

This is a "startling blow to the system of independent science and technology advice," the Federation of American Scientists adds in a blog post.

Nature News adds the DoD told Mitre that it would only be commissioning a single study this year from Jason and that it would make more sense to have a contract just for that study, rather than a broader one for the whole group.