The National Academy of Sciences has built its cachet around Washington, D.C. on its federal charter from 150 years ago.
Regrettably, its core values of collegiality, tolerance, and respect have not been followed, especially when it comes to rewarding employees. Salaries have been choked at a 1 to 2 percent raise per year, even while some high-level officers are in the six figures.
There is also an organizational memory problem. Since the 2013 federal sequestration, the Academy has lopped off hundreds of staff members representing thousands of years of experience. If these employees are replace, they have had to learn all over again how to do simple things needed to do their jobs, such as booking meeting space or reimbursing travel.
Organizations needing research done on certain topics have found it much easier, less bureaucratic, and less expensive to go elsewhere -- to the National Institutes of Health, the Department of State, Brookings, the National Academy of Education, and even private think tanks run by former NAS employees.
I worry for NAS and its future.