The roundtable convened four times over a two-year period to discuss and study these issues as well as other urgent and ongoing issues associated with the central relationship between advancements in science and the preservation of security. The specific aims of the collaboration were:
To foster dialogue between the science and technology and security communities as part of the process of formulating national policies regarding scientific collaboration and communication;
To establish a focal point for unbiased and deliberative consideration of solutions to the dilemmas posed by balancing the need for open scientific communication with the need for protecting national and homeland security; and
To propose policy-relevant research and analysis in this area.
David Baltimore, then President of the California Institute of Technology, and Harold Brown, former Secretary of Defense, co-chaired both the roundtable and the commission. The roundtable was dissolved in spring 2005 and was reconstituted the following fall as the Committee on Scientific Communication and National Security, a standing committee of the National Research Council. David Baltimore and Robert Gates, then President of Texas A&M University, co-chaired the committee until May 2007 and December 2006, respectively.