DEFENSE LABS DISAPPEARING? The Defense Department's network of laboratories - responsible for innovations from the global positioning system to handheld drones to thermobaric bombs / are in deep trouble, and in danger of dying a not-so-slow death.As I've reported previously, the labs are having a difficult time retaining top scientific talent despite the soft civilian economy and the emphasis on defense research.Now, a new report by Don DeYoung -- a National Defense University researcher, currently working with the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) - details how key lab programs are being swallowed up by commercial interests.In 18 months, private industry recruited away 20 of 26 NRL researchers working on important fiber optics studies. After 25 years of scientific work, the Defense Department no longer has a center studying this area."The death of this 'canary' sends warning that an ill wind is blowing for the Defense Laboratories," DeYoung writes. "Without reform, their loss of expertise will worsen, eventually to the point where it affects good government and poses significant risks to national security."(via Secrecy News)

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