Army Science Board Nominee Subjected to Litmus Test

NOTE: The following is one of a series of case studies produced by the Union of Concerned Scientists' Scientific Integrity Program between 2004 and 2010 to document the abuses highlighted in our 2004 report, Scientific Integrity in Policy Making.


William E. Howard III, an engineer from McLean, VA, reported in a letter to Science that he was told by a member of the Army Science Board (ASB) staff that his nomination to the ASB, a Defense Department advisory panel, was rejected because he had contributed to the presidential campaign of Senator John McCain (R-AZ).1 Howard says he never made such a contribution; instead, as it turns out, someone with a similar name (William S. Howard) had contributed the money.

The mix up only compounds the administration’s ill-considered practice. As Howard puts it, “The country is not being well-served by any administration’s policy of seeking advice only from a group of scientists and engineers who have passed the administration’s political litmus test.”2


1. W.E. Howard III, “Advice without dissent at the DOD” (letter), Science, November 15, 2002.

2. Ibid.

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