JASON Defense Advisory Group

JASON Defense Advisory Group

JASON is an independent group of scientists which advises the United States Government on matters of science and technology. The group was first created as a way to get a younger generation of scientists — that is, not the older Los Alamos and MIT Radiation Laboratory alumni — involved in advising the government. It was established in 1960 and has somewhere between 30 and 60 members.

For administrative purposes, JASON's activities are run through the MITRE Corporation, a non-profit corporation in McLean, Virginia, which contracts with the Defense Department.

JASON typically performs most of its work during an annual summer study. Its sponsors include the Department of Defense (frequently DARPA and the United States Navy), the Department of Energy, and the U.S. intelligence community. Most of the resulting JASON reports are classified.

The name "JASON" is sometimes explained as an acronym, standing either for "July-August-September-October-November", the months in which the group would typically meet; or, tongue in cheek, for "Junior Achiever, Somewhat Older Now". However, neither explanation is correct; in fact, the name is not an acronym at all. It is a reference to Jason, a character from Greek mythology. The wife of one of the founders (Mildred Goldberger [http://www.mildredgoldberger.com/] ) thought the name given by the defense department, Project Sunrise, was unimaginative and suggested the group be named for a hero and his search.

JASON studies have included a now-mothballed system for communicating with submarines using extremely long radio waves (Project Seafarer, Project Sanguine); an astronomical technique for overcoming the atmosphere's distortion (Adaptive optics); the many problems of missile defense; technologies for verifying compliance with treaties banning nuclear tests; a 1982 report predicting CO2-driven global warming; and, most controversially, a system of computer-linked sensors developed during the Vietnam War which became the precursor to the modern electronic battlefield.


JASON members all have security clearances, and they include physicists, biologists, chemists, oceanographers, mathematicians, and computer scientists. They are selected for their scientific brilliance, and, over the years, have included eleven Nobel Prize laureates and several dozen members of the United States National Academy of Sciences.

The following is a list of members, past and present, who have been publicly identified as JASON members or whose names appear as authors on JASON studies. Since not all study authors are members of JASON, and since JASON does not give out its membership list, the only way to verify the following list is to ask the individuals.

Roy Schwitters - Head of JASON, as of 2004.
*Henry Abarbanel
*Paul Alivisatos
*Luis Walter Alvarez
*P. Banks
*Hans Bethe
*Lars Bildsten
*Steven Block
*Stephen Bodner
*Michael Brenner
*Keith Brueckner
*Curtis Callan
*Kenneth Case
*Norman Christ
*Nicholas Christofilos
*John Conway
*John Mike Cornwall
*W. Daily
*William James Dally
*Roger Dashen
*Alvin Despain
*Patrick Diamond
*Paul E. Dimotakis
*Sidney Drell
*Freeman Dyson
*Douglas M. Eardley
*F. Egolfopoulos
*Val Logsdon Fitch
*Stanley M. Flatté
*Henry M. Foley
*Norval Fortson
*Edward A. Frieman
*John Gardner
*Richard Garwin
*Murray Gell-Mann
*David Gifford
*Donald A. Glaser
*Marvin Leonard Goldberger
*Robert Gomer
*Jeremy Goodman
*M. Gregg
*Robert Grober
*Peter Hagelstein
*David Hammer
*William Happer Jr. [http://www.mitre.org/about/bot/happer.html]
*Brian Hearing
*Robert Henderson
*James Hoffer
*Paul Horowitz
*Terry Hwa
*Raymond Jeanloz
*Gerald Joyce
*Jonathan Katz
*H. Jeff Kimble
*Steven E. Koonin
*R. LeLevier
*Leon M. Lederman
*Herbert Levine
*Nathan S. Lewis
*Darrell Long
*G. J. MacDonald
*Claire Ellen Max
*Paul McEuen
*Dan Meiron
*Richard A. Muller
*Walter Munk
*David Nelson
*William Nierenberg
*Robert Novick
*Wolfgang K. H. Panofsky
*Francis W. Perkins Jr.
*A. Peterson
*Kristofer S. J. Pister
*Mara Prentiss
*William Press
*Thomas Prince
*Burton Richter
*S. Ride (probably Sally)
*Marshall Rosenbluth
*Oscar Rothaus
*Malvin A. Ruderman
*Tim Stearns
*Christopher Stubbs
*Jeremiah Sullivan
*John Tonry
*Charles Hard Townes
*Sam Treiman
*John Vesecky
*Kenneth Watson
*Steven Weinberg
*Peter J. Weinberger
*Robert Westervelt
*John Archibald Wheeler
*Eugene Wigner
*Ellen D. Williams
*W. Hugh Woodin
*S. Courtenay Wright
*Herbert York
*C. Young
*Frederick Zachariasen
*George Zweig


In 2002, Democratic Congressman Rush Holt of New Jersey sent letters to key members of the House of Representatives to protest DARPA's decision to dismiss JASON.

DARPA not only sponsored many of JASON's studies, it was also the channel through which JASON received funding from other sponsors. DARPA's decision came after JASON's refusal to allow DARPA to select three new JASON members, none of whom fit the membership criterion of academic excellence. Since JASON's inception, new members have always been selected by its existing members. "This selection process maintains Jason's autonomy," Holt wrote, "and ensures that their decisions are not based on any obligation to the Department of Defense. Allowing the Department of Defense to choose Jason's members would compromise the objectivity and independence of the group's advice." Since 2002, funding has been secured from an office higher in the defense hierarchy, the office of the [http://www.dod.mil/ddre/mainpage.htm Director, Defense Research & Engineering] .


A selection of JASON studies is presented below. Most can be found in an online archive at the Federation of American Scientists site [http://www.fas.org/irp/agency/dod/jason/] .
* NIF Ignition (June 2005)
* Tactical Infrasound (May 2005)
* High Performance Biocomputation (March 2005)
* Sensors to Support the Soldier (Feb. 2005)
* Horizontal Integration: Broader Access Models for Realizing Information Dominance
* Active Sonar Waveform, (June 2004)
* The Computational Challenges of Medical Imaging, (February 2004)
* Requirements for ASCI, (October 2003)
* Portable Energy for the Dismounted Soldier, (June 2003)
* Turbulent Boundary Layer Drag Reduction, (May 2003)
* High Power Lasers, (April 2003)
* Biodetection Architectures, (February 2003)
* Opportunities at the Intersection of Nanoscience, Biology and Computation, (November 2002)
* Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Program, (April 2002)
* Non-GPS Methods of Geolocation, (January 2002)
* Biofutures, (June 2001)
* Spintronics, (February 2001)
* Advantage of Base-Line Redundancy in Sparse Apertures, (September 2000)
* Space Infrastructure for 2020, (September 2000)
* Imaging Infrared Detectors II, (June 2000)
* Molecular Electronics: Interfacing the Nano- and Micro-Worlds, (May 2000)
* Power Sources for Ultra Low Power Electronics, (June 2000)
* 100 LBS TO Low Earth Orbit (LEO): Small-Payload Launch Options, (January 2000)
* Data Mining and the Human Genome (January 2000)
* Primary Performance Margins (December 1999) (unclassified introduction)
* System-Level Flight Tests, December 1999)
* Remanufacture (of Nuclear Weapons), (October 1999)
* Army Battlefield Communications (September 1999)
* Characterization of Underground Facilities (April 1999)
* Non-destructive Evaluation and Self-Monitoring Materials (April 1999)
* Electro Thermal Chemical Gun Technology Study (March 1999)
* Small Unit Operations (June 1998)
* Signatures of Aging Revisited (March 1998)
* Signatures of Aging [of nuclear weapons] (January 1998)
* Counterproliferation (January 1998)
* High Energy Density Explosives (October 1997)
* Human Genome Project (October 1997)
* Small Scale Propulsion: Fly on the Wall, Cockroach in the Corner, Rat in the Basement, etc.
* Subcritical Experiments (March 1997)
* Quantum Computing (July 1996)
* Inertial Confinement Fusion (ICF) Review (March 1996)
* DNA Computing (October 1995)
* Nuclear Testing: Summary and Conclusions (August 1995)
* Microsurveillance of the Urban Battlefield (February 1995)
* JASON Global Grid Study (July 1992)
* Small Satellites (August 3, 1991)
* Verification Technology: Unclassified Version (October 1990)
* Neutrino Detection Primer (March 1988)
* The Long Term Impact of Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide on Climate: preliminary report (1979) JSR-78-07 and (1980) JSR-79-04; more fully published as MacDonald et al., (1982) [http://books.google.com/books?id=9wdSAAAAMAAJ&ei=iDzhSISAJ5bMzQSM-OTTBw&pgis=1]
* Sonic Boom Report (November 1978)
* Laser Propulsion Study (Summer 1977)
* Tactical Nuclear Weapons in Southeast Asia (March 1967)

ee also

*Human Genome Project
*Quantum computer
*Nuclear testing
*Sonic boom
*Nuclear weapon
*Central Intelligence Agency

Further reading

* Ann Finkbeiner, "The Jasons : The Secret History of Science's Postwar Elite", Viking/Penguin , April 6, 2006, ISBN 0-670-03489-4
* John Horgan, " [http://www.nytimes.com/2006/04/16/books/review/16horgan.html Rent-a-Genius] ", New York Times Book Review, April 16, 2006.


External links

Information on JASON from the Federation of American Scientists:
* [http://fas.org/irp/agency/dod/jason/ JASON Defense Advisory Panel Reports] Information on JASON from the Nautilus Institute:
* http://www.nautilus.org/archives/VietnamFOIA/background/whatisJASON.htmlOnline version of booklet written in 1972 by physicist and anti-war activist Charles Schwartz and the Berkeley-based "Scientists and Engineers for Social and Political Action:"
* [http://ist-socrates.berkeley.edu/~schwrtz/SftP/Jason.html#INTRODUCTION Science Against the People]

Information on JASON from a conspiracy point of view:
* http://www.isgp.eu/organisations/JASON_Group.htm
* http://www.isgp.eu/organisations/Jason_Group_members_list.htm

Note: Because of the (former) secrecy surrounding the group, JASON has featured in conspiracy literature since the 1980s. Much of what has been written in this area is generally considered a mix of fact, conjecture, and pure fantasy.

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