APA and Federation Advocate on Behalf of Army Research Institute

Staff from the APA Public Policy Office and the Federation of Behavioral, Psychological and Cognitive Sciences have been pushing Congress for increased support of the Army Research Institute for the Behavioral and Social Sciences (ARI). "Without additional resources, ARI will not be able to carry out its mission," said William Howell, PhD, APA Executive Director for Science. "This is a serious situation, and we are taking serious action."

The administration's 1998 budget request for ARI is $16 million, a 33% drop from the current year's funding. ARI's budget has fallen from a high of nearly $50 million in 1995. Just as disturbing as the decline in dollars are the proposed personnel cuts. ARI has 254 authorized civilian positions; the administration's budget calls for only 119, a cut of over 50%. In addition, only about 200 of the authorized positions are currently filled. Because the positions are predominantly held by behavioral scientists or scientist-administrators, ARI must trim its scientific programs with each additional loss of staff.

ARI was established to conduct personnel and behavioral research on such topics as minority and general recruitment, personnel testing and evaluation, training and retraining, and leadership. ARI is the focal point and principal source of expertise for all the military services for leadership research, which is an area critical to the effectiveness of the military.

APA and Federation representatives met with the staff of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense and with other congressional staff to argue the case for increasing ARI's funding. Senate staff seem to sympathize with ARI's mission, but are making no promises to increase the funding. They indicate that the defense budget will likely be very lean for 1998. Sens. John Warner (R-VA) and Charles Robb (D-VA) have taken a strong interest in ARI's plight, and Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-HI) continues to be supportive.

"Despite the severity of the funding situation, we believe we can persuade Congress that ARI is critical to the success of the army as it downsizes and streamlines," commented Dr. Howell. "ARI is providing information the army desperately needs on a lot of current issues, such as on improving female and multiethnic integration into the workforce. For a small amount of money in the Pentagon's budget, the army gets a lot of information from ARI."

In late April or May of 1997, Congress will likely act on a budget that will determine the overall limits for federal spending for Fiscal Year 1998. The House and Senate will then begin action on individual appropriations bills, including the Defense Appropriations bill, which funds ARI. APA will testify before the House National Security Appropriations Subcommittee on April 17, 1997.

Watch the APA Public Policy Office Web page [http://www.apa.org/ppo], or link directly to the Public Policy Office's Science Action Network sign-up form for additional information about ARI.