Independent Task Force Submits Report
On ASCE Procedures for Studies of Disasters


Read the Report   (PDF)

From 2008 ASCE President David G. Mongan, P.E., F.ASCE, to members of the Society:

Former U.S. Rep. Sherwood Boehlert

                                                                                               September 2008

As I am sure you know, ASCE has a long history of participating in and conducting engineering studies of national significance, one that dates back to the Johnstown Flood in the late 1800s. The reports published by these study teams have been widely recognized within the professional community for their contributions to our understanding of civil engineering practice and public safety and welfare.

I believe our participation in such studies is an important part of the Society's continuous effort to advance public safety and engineering practice, and that our work contributes to the understanding of how to make engineered structures safer in the event of both natural disasters and man made events. As such, last fall I asked the Honorable Sherwood Boehlert of New York, former chairman of the House Science Committee, to form an independent Task Force to examine ASCE's procedures for organizing, conducting and funding these studies, as well as the best practices of other organizations.

After several months of thoughtful study, the Task Force delivered its report to me on Friday, September 12. Their conclusions focus on four key areas, and in each of those areas they have made several recommendations. The recommendations include ways the Society can address transparency in the policies we have related to such studies, how the studies are funded, the interaction between study teams and the media, and ways to mitigate any potential or perceived conflicts of interest related to the study.

We sincerely appreciate the dedication of Congressman Boehlert and his fellow Task Force members, and believe that the recommendations contained in their report will help strengthen our ability to serve the profession and the public when tragedy strikes. Already, I have tasked Patrick Natale, ASCE's Executive Director, with immediately reviewing in detail the group's recommendations related to the Society's operational procedures and compiling a report of proposed methods of implementation. Further, I have presented the report to the Society's Board of Direction in advance of their November meeting, and have asked them to begin considering ways we can address the Task Force’s high-level recommendations, such as how ASCE should be funding these studies.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at

Read the Task Force on Engineering Reviews Report  

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