National Security and the Open Conduct of Science

(Adopted by Council on May 21, 1999)

The Council of the American Physical Society emphasizes the critical connection between U.S. national security and scientific research activities. Effective national security requires the highest standards of vigilance and circumspection, and the science on which it is based must meet the highest standard of excellence. However, national security will ultimately be damaged if the underlying science suffers as a result of government practices that indiscriminately discourage or limit the open exchange of ideas.

The Council of the American Physical Society recognizes the great importance of protecting classified information. We urge Congress and the Executive agencies, in carrying out this responsibility, to employ measures and practices that will maintain the strength and effectiveness of the scientific activities on which national defense relies.

Over the course of many years, immigrant scientists as well as foreign visitors and students have contributed enormously to the American scientific enterprise. They have enriched our knowledge and culture, promoted the growth of our economy, and improved the quality of our lives. Any negative characterization of scientists on the basis of ethnic or national origins is destructive to science and American values.