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After the Pentagon ends the contract, the Top Secret Group group promises to continue: NPR

Jason's has developed technologies as a laser that can help reduce atmospheric distortion. The Air Force uses it to better photograph appropriate spy satellites. R. Fugate / Air Force Research Laboratory hide caption change subtitle R. Fugate / Air Force Research Laboratory Jason's has developed technologies as a laser that can help reduce atmospheric distortion. The Air Force uses it to better photograph appropriate spy satellites. R. Fugate / Air Force Research Laboratory Updated at 5:30 ET A secret group of scientists advising the government of everything from spy-satellites to nuclear weapons, encrypts to find a sponsor after the Pentagon suddenly ended his contract last month. The group, called Jason's, will end up with money by the end of April. The Ministry of Defense says that the group's advice is no longer needed, but independent experts say that it has never been more relevant and worried that the department throws away a valuable resource. Russell Hemley, the head of Jason's, says other authorities still need advice, and Jason's determined to give it. At the end of Thursday, it appeared that another government authority would be willing to take on the group. The Nuclear Security Administration of the Ministry of Energy presented a call saying that it intends to take over the contract for the group. It may happen in a few months, and it is unclear how Miter Corporation, which manages Jason's, would fund the group in time. There are about 60 members of Jasons. During the day, they are…

Jason’s has developed technologies as a laser that can help reduce atmospheric distortion. The Air Force uses it to better photograph appropriate spy satellites.

R. Fugate / Air Force Research Laboratory

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change subtitle

R. Fugate / Air Force Research Laboratory

Jason’s has developed technologies as a laser that can help reduce atmospheric distortion. The Air Force uses it to better photograph appropriate spy satellites.

R. Fugate / Air Force Research Laboratory

Updated at 5:30 ET

A secret group of scientists advising the government of everything from spy-satellites to nuclear weapons, encrypts to find a sponsor after the Pentagon suddenly ended his contract last month.

The group, called Jason’s, will end up with money by the end of April. The Ministry of Defense says that the group’s advice is no longer needed, but independent experts say that it has never been more relevant and worried that the department throws away a valuable resource.

Russell Hemley, the head of Jason’s, says other authorities still need advice, and Jason’s determined to give it.

At the end of Thursday, it appeared that another government authority would be willing to take on the group. The Nuclear Security Administration of the Ministry of Energy presented a call saying that it intends to take over the contract for the group. It may happen in a few months, and it is unclear how Miter Corporation, which manages Jason’s, would fund the group in time.

There are about 60 members of Jasons. During the day, they are normal academics, working in colleges, universities and private industry. But every summer they come together to study hard problems for the military, the intelligence service and other parts of the government.

The group’s name, as the group itself, is incorporated into mystery, but it is believed to be a reference to the mythical Argonauts looking for the Golden Fleece.

“The idea that they will cut down on the kind of advice Jason’s provides is not good for the defense department,” said Steven Aftergood with the Federation of American Scientists, an independent watchdog group. “It’s not good for the nation.”

” We are very independent, we have this diversity of talent and we often come up with very different, very original perspectives and solutions to problems, “says Hemley a physicist and chemist at the University of Illinois in Chicago. Hemley is one of the few members who Publicly identifies himself as part of the group, saying that Jason’s is, unlike anything else out there, academics at the top of their individual areas, with security clearances that allow them to work on any problem.

The group’s origins go back to The Early Days of the Cold War.

“They just formed in 1960,” says Ann Finkbeiner, who wrote The Jasons: The Secret History of Science’s A fterwar Elite It began when a group of physicists won funding from the Pentagon to spend the summer learning the problems facing the Department of Defense in the fight against the Soviet Union. These stubborn researchers were determined to advise the government. They continued to study everything from the anti-submarine war to missile defense.

Russell Hemley is chairman of JASONs. He says that several government agencies are interested in entering into agreements with the group.

Geoff Brumfiel / NPR

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Geoff Brumfiel / NPR

Russell Hemley is chairman of JASONs. He says that several government agencies are interested in joining the group.

Geoff Brumfiel / NPR

“Probably their most famous study was about trying to stop the infiltration from North Vietnam to the south,” says Finkbeiner.

The problem was that northern Vietnam troops and supplies were difficult to find under the dense jungle bar. Jason’s solution was to develop a system of remote sensors that can be air-dropped into the jungle and provide intelligence to the enemy. The program, which much to do with Vietnam, was controversial and did not work perfectly. But it laid the foundation for modern electronic warfare, where sensors provide troops with detailed battlefield information, Finkbeiner says.

In recent years, Hemley says that Jason’s has expanded the areas they study. They have tried to help the Ministry of Agriculture develop better ways to use data to understand crop production, for example. And they advised the Census Bureau on how to streamline their business.

Then it came as a surprise to Hemley and others when the Pentagon at the end of March suddenly announced that It ended its primary contract with Jason’s. The contract, which goes through Miter Corporation, is the vehicle that allows Jason to work with other parts of the government as well. Without it, the group has no opportunity to get millions of dollars in funding that it needs to run annually.

“The department remains committed to seeking independent technical advice and review,” says Pentagon President Heather Babb. However, Steven Aftergood sees another reason for the end of the relationship. He says Jason’s is a blunt gang. are stupid or not working, they are not afraid to say it. “” They offered the opposite of cheerleading, “he says.” And DoD decided that maybe they would no longer pay for it. “

Aftergood says It is a real mistake to link with Jason’s now. The Pentagon is launching an ambitious survey of artificial intelligence, quantum calculations, and advanced hypersonic missiles. Jason’s knowledge of these topics is likely to be useful.

Currently, Hemley says the group is eager to continue their research and is “working closely with our sponsors to make sure it happens”.

National Nuclear Security Administrator Ation, which monitors the nation’s nuclear weapons, would be a natural fit for the group. It has requested numerous studies from Jason’s core layers over the years.

At a congressional hearing earlier this month, NNSA director Lisa Gordon-Hagerty expressed his support for Jason’s: “I can say they are rich and history,” she says, “and their technical expertise is good.” [19659036]
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