U.S. Air Force

Staying put. The U.S. Air Force says it won't move an office that manages much of its basic research, such as this work involving materials science.

U.S. Air Force Shelves Proposal to Move Research Office

David is a Deputy News Editor specializing in coverage of science policy, energy and the environment.

A proposal to move the U.S. Air Force’s basic research office from the Washington, D.C., area to an air base in Ohio has crashed. The office is “staying put,” Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James told a Senate hearing yesterday, according to a story published by FYI, an online newsletter published by the American Institute of Physics.

The proposed move, publicly floated this past January, had drawn opposition from research and university groups, who worried it would result in a greater emphasis on applied research programs at the expense of basic science.

Yesterday’s statement appears to nail down a decision made in the past month or so. In late February, Alan Shaffer, a senior Pentagon research official, wrote a letter to the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, a major professional association that opposed the move, saying that the relocation was unlikely to occur. “We were most pleased” to hear that news, wrote Thomas Tierney, the vice president of the group’s Government Relations Council, in reply to Shaffer in a 4 March letter.

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