Is Pentagon paying for study it can get for free?

Ray Locker, “Is Pentagon paying for study it can get for free?,” USA TODAY, 6 November 2013

Is the Office of Net Assessment, the Pentagon’s futurist think-tank, paying $184,000 to a conservative Washington research group for a study on nuclear deterrence that has already been published and is available for free?

Last month, ONA said it would pay the National Institute for Public Policy for a study called “Identifying the Fundamental Assumptions and Logic of Minimum Deterrence and Examining Them Against Empirical Evidence.” In August, the institute published a study with the same title making the same analysis that ONA says it has asked the institute to perform. …

Despite the comments from the Pentagon and the institute, other experts in nuclear proliferation question the need for ONA’s contract.

Stephen Schwartz, an expert in nuclear disarmament issues, said he didn’t understand why ONA needed to hire Payne and the institute for the study since the information was already available.

“I had seen the report earlier this summer, but I had no idea that DoD was going to pay for them to do it all over again or maybe in a different type face,” said Schwartz, editor of The Nonproliferation Review, a publication of the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies.

“At a time of tight budgets, it’s hard to see why you would pay for something that was already done,” Schwartz said, adding that Payne’s views on the issue are well known in the field and certainly to top ONA officials. …

Read the full article here.