In Defense of Behavioral Research at DoD

By Heather O’Beirne Kelly, PhD

On June 6th, APA’s science public policy staff member Heather Kelly teamed up with Division 21 President-Elect Gerald Krueger, Ph.D. to participate in this year’s Coalition for National Security Research (CNSR) reception and lobbying day on Capitol Hill. APA continues to be very active in CNSR, capitalizing on the collective size and influence of the individual societies to advocate for the overall science and technology budget within the Department of Defense (DoD). This particular day’s events were designed to highlight the importance of basic research within DoD by recognizing Congressional supporters and showcasing individual researchers’ work. Dr. Krueger was the lone voice for military behavioral research in a group consisting largely of physical scientists and engineers.

Dr. Krueger currently is involved in the Army’s Land Warrior program, which is developing and testing a new modular, integrated system for dismounted infantry soldiers designed to give them an edge in the digitized battlefield. Dr. Krueger is the primary researcher focused on human factors issues in the design of this technologically sophisticated infantry suit, which includes: a weapon subsystem with daylight video sight, thermal sight and multi-functional laser; a computer and radio subsystem with Microsoft Windows Operating System and global positioning system; a helmet-mounted display with access to the computer database, map display, indirect video images, and night vision view; and protective clothing with interceptor body armor and small arms protective insert plates.

To give legislators a hands-on sense of how behavioral research within the military leads to a more effective and efficient “real product” down the line, Dr. Krueger brought along Army Specialist William Donald Boyle, Jr. to model the Land Warrior technology. Drs. Kelly and Krueger went to great lengths to make arrangements on Capitol Hill for this fully outfitted Army Ranger – who would have been considered “out of uniform” without his weapon (fortunately an inert one). Security issues raised by the murder of two Capitol Police officers three years ago required extraordinary measures for the group to gain access to the halls of Congress. A letter of permission written by Representative Jim Moran (D-VA, a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee that provides defense funding) to the House Sergeant at Arms set the visual stage:

“…three guests will be visiting my office…two of the guests are Dr. Heather Kelly and Dr. Jerry Krueger with the American Psychological Association. The third guest is Army Specialist William Donald Boyle. Specialist Boyle will be wearing his Army Ranger uniform, complete with Army Land Warrior Technology. Specialist Boyle also reported to me that he will be bringing an inert M-4 carbine which he will carry in a large white box with the rest of his gear. He will also have a wearable computer, which he described as similar to a flak jacket and a helmet…”

Perhaps not surprisingly, a Capitol Police escort was assigned to the APA delegation for the entire afternoon to ensure smooth access to official buildings and head off any possible concerns of other visitors (upon seeing Specialist Boyle, one elementary school student on a field trip yelled, “There goes G.I. Joe!”). Other Hill staffers and tourists were less vocal but equally impressed with Specialist Boyle’s gear.

The luncheon reception offered researchers and Congressional guests a chance to mingle before Adm. Jay Cohen, who heads up the Office of Naval Research, presented awards from CNSR to Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-CT), Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA), Rep. Tony Hall (D-OH) and Rep. Bill Young (R-FL) for their support of military science and technology. Rep. Hall, whose district includes Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, spent a lot of time with Dr. Krueger and Specialist Boyle, as did the Staff Director of the Senate Armed Services Committee, who requested a meeting to discuss human factors issues.

After the reception, the APA group spent the afternoon making scheduled visits to talk about behavioral science budgets at DoD and the importance of psychological research in the military with Rep. Rob Simmons (R-CT; new member of the House Armed Services Committee) and the staffs of Dr. Krueger’s Virginia delegation: Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA; member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense), Sen. John Warner (R-VA; Ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee) and Sen. George Allen (R-VA). Between meetings the group had some other remarkable encounters in the tunnels under the U.S. Capitol with Sen. Lieberman, Rep. Floyd Spence (R-SC), Rep. Donna Christen-Christiansen (D-VI), and Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC).

CNSR Hill Day 2001: Behavioral Research at DoD

2001 CNSR Hill Day: Behavioral Research at DoD Land Warrior Photo Gallery Rep. Donna Christian-Christensen (D-VI) and Land Warrior, Specialist William D. Boyle, Jr., on Display in Capitol Hill Tunnels. sciadv-2001-cnsr-christensensoldier2
L-R: Jerry Krueger, PhD, Heather Kelly, PhD, Specialist William D. Boyle, Jr., and Rep. Robert Simmons (R-CT). sciadv-2001-cnsr-hzkssoldiersimm2
Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-CT) and Specialist William D. Boyle, Jr. sciadv-2001-cnsr-liebermansoldier
Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) and Rear Admiral Cohen. sciadv-2001-cnsr-santorumadmcohen2
Specialist Boyle, Jr. demonstrates some of the suits mechanisms for Rep. Robert Simmons (R-CT). sciadv-2001-cnsr-simmonssoldier2
Land Warrior, Specialist William Donald Boyle, Jr., an Army Ranger, wearing the new Land Warrior technology. sciadv-2001-cnsr-soldier2
Specialist Boyle, Jr. stops to speak to Rep. Walter Jones, Jr. (R-NC), Gerald Krueger, PhD, and Capitol Hill Police Officer. sciadv-2001-cnsr-soldrepjoneskrueg

Land Warrior and Rep. Tony Hall seeing eye to eye.


2001 CNSF Exhibit on Bullying

Rep. Gutknecht, R-MN, talking to presenters at the CNSF Exhibit on Capitol Hill. sciadv-2001-cnsf-img104
Dr. Sandra Graham with Rep. Ehlers (R.-MI). sciadv-2001-cnsf-img157
Dr. Graham and Rep. Dale Kildee (D - MI). sciadv-2001-cnsf-img114
Dr. Graham speaking to Rep. Freylinhusen (R-NJ) on the effects of bullying. sciadv-2001-cnsf-frelinghuysen
Rep. Gutknecht, R-MN, talking to Dr. Graham at the CNSF Exhibit on Capitol Hill. sciadv-2001-cnsf-img140
Rep. Ehlers, R- MI, speaking to Dr. Graham. sciadv-2001-cnsf-img162
Dr. Graham with Norman Bradburn of NSF. sciadv-2001-cnsf-img35
Dr. Graham and Rep. Sherry Boehlert (R-NY), House Science Committee Chair. sciadv-2001-cnsf-boehlert

 Dr. Graham with Rep. David Price (D-NC).