In a 2011 Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, who has been selected to become the next president of the University of California, made a series of speechs on college campuses across the country.

Here is an excerpt from her appearance at MIT where in a speech about "The Future of Science as Public Service," she outlined her "vision for science in government."

In sum, we need a model where there is more scientific knowledge deployed across government, and more knowledge of government and public policy in our science and engineering communities.

So, I want to paint a bit of a picture for some of the younger students here about what science in government should look like by the time you are 40. By that time, it should not be unusual for a top scientist to take a leave from academia or the private sector and spend a couple of years in government — and, hopefully, at (the Department of Homeland Security) — working on solving important technological problems.

This happens to an extent today. Right now at DHS we have top academics in biosecurity, systems engineering, cyber security, and behavioral science. But not nearly to the extent we need. It is not unusual for a lawyer, an economist, or even political scientist to leave private practice for a time, or take a sabbatical from academia, to work on a particular policy issue at a government agency.

We need to do a better job at making a similarly worthwhile and workable path for top scientists to serve the public interest, and to help make our nation more secure. We need to work with academia and the private sector to help ensure that a stint like this is seen as a period of valuable service — not as a gap in a resume or a distraction from important projects.

And to build this community of talent, we need to work with scientists in order to better understand and remove the barriers to this kind of exchange. This is the picture of what science as public service should look like — a place where scientists are empowered; where the technical needs of government are fully addressed; where government service and scientific career paths have greater flexibility; and, where there are many ways to contribute, even from outside government.

Source: Department of Homeland Security