Immediately after each general election, the president or president-elect should name a confidential "assistant to the president for science and technology" to provide advice in the event of a crisis and to help quickly identify strong candidates for crucial S&T appointments. Authorities also should make certain that appointments to advisory committees are not politicized or used to promote foregone conclusions. Scientists, engineers, and health professionals should be appointed to federal advisory committees based on their expertise and integrity. They should not be asked for information that would have no bearing on the scientific or technical expertise they would provide during committee discussions such as political party affiliation, voting record, or personal positions on particular issues, the report says.
The report is the third in a series of reports that the National Academies have issued since 1992 on the presidential appointment process. Each has been issued during a presidential election year to offer the successful candidate recommendations for change. Recently, concerns have been raised about the need to provide continuity in S&T advice -- given national and homeland security concerns -- and about whether appointments to S&T advisory committees are being increasingly politicized.
"Failure to attract qualified people to high-ranking S&T positions, or misuse of the federal advisory committee system, would compromise the government's effectiveness on important issues," said John E. Porter, chair of the committee that wrote the report and a partner at the law firm of Hogan & Hartson LLP, W
Contact: Vanee Vines
The National Academies