[The following exchange subsequently appeared in the Observer's Calls & letters section:]
To the Observer:
The article titled “The Pentagon’s Pet Projects” in your November 2008 issue incorrectly suggests that as Chief Scientist of the U.S. Air Force I will be directing research funds to the University of Michigan. The writer of that article never contacted me. If he had I would have clarified his misunderstanding of the defense science research funding process and the role of the Air Force Chief Scientist in it. The Chief Scientist is the principal science and technology advisor to the senior Air Force leadership, and thus is far removed from the minutiae of directing funds for individual research projects. Moreover, there are effective legal protections in place to ensure that those who serve in such a position are free from conflicts of interest. Your article did a disservice to readers by suggesting otherwise.
Dr Werner J. A. Dahm
Chief Scientist, U.S. Air Force