Even before 9/11 universities and the military were connected, and especially in New Mexico.
The Chronicle of Higher Education looked at the effects of military research in universities. One, the Pentagon supplies 10 percent of all federal dollars for academic research, but a disproportionate share in some disciplines. For instance 69 percent of research funds for electrical engineering, and 60 percent of funds for computer science, are provided by the Pentagon. In 2000 the Defense Department budget for science was 8.7 billion dollars, 11 percent more than last year. The Pentagon is the 3rd largest supporter of scientific research. $1.8 billion of that goes to university scientists. They have great influence on university departments that are useful in their strategic goals, which we will get to later, and influence the direction of science.
The research is justified by pointing to spinoffs, such as lasers and the internet. But the costs of military research do not add up in research for civilian use. The research on military applications must have a result for the military. The military expects results for their investments. These include bioengineered tissue to patch wounds, smaller batteries, studies in nanoscience, biometric materials, “intelligent systems,” compact power sources, information technology, and smart materials.
This funding is spread to 355 colleges and universities in 1997. Many times the only source of funding is the Pentagon for much of this research. University departments, and in many cases whole universities, have a dependent relation with the Pentagon. This increase in funding is also encouraged by lobbying from an entire interest group, as this funding is so established. The article also points to the Coalition for National Security Research (CNSR). Its mission is: “CNSR is a broadly-based coalition united by a commitment to a stronger defense science and technology base. Participants include scientific, engineering, mathematical and behavioral societies, academic institutions, and industrial associations. The Coalition strongly supports DOD’s S&T programs across all defense organizations, especially those defense research programs performed in our nation’s universities.” An entire coalition of professional societies and universities campaign for further militarism on universities.
The Chronicle also list the Defense Science Board for encouraging more military research, and Gary Chapman of the 21st Century Project at the University of Texas at Austin as the lone voice opposing military reserach on campus.
The largest recipient of Pentagon cash was Johns Hopkins University with $229.3 million in 1997. But the University of New Mexico where I was located on and off was no stranger both to the militarization and corparatization of the university. We will get more to this later.
One project indirectly tied to the University of New Mexico was the Solar Orbit Transfer Vehicle. Research is conducted by the New Mexico Engineering Research Institute, operated by the University of New Mexico. In 1998 according to the press release from Kirtland Air Force Base, “Air Force Signs Boeing to Build $48 million Solar Rocket.” The Air Force Research Laboratory, Space Vehicles Division, based at Kirtland, gave a contract to Boeing to develop the SOTV to transfer satellites from a Low Earth Orbit to Geosynchronous Orbit. The Air Force is interested in outer space, as we see here. Also, Boeing Skunk Works is mentioned.
The Air Force Research Laboratory and its several divisions figure prominently in the building of exotic weapons for imperialist designs of “full spectrum dominance.” Before than known as the Air Force Office of Scientific Research. The Space Vehicles Directorate and the Directed Energy Directorate are based at Kirtland.
Another research field in New Mexico is laser weapons. Also, New Mexico holds the largest number of nuclear weapons as anywhere in the United Snakes. Stay tuned for that.
“Air Force Signs Boeing To Build $48 Million Solar Rocket. News Release. February 23, 1998.
Brainard, Jeffrey. “Pentagon Spending on Research Sees Largest Increase In a Decade.” Chronicle of Higher Education. December 10, 1999