Pentagon spending millions to prepare for mass civil unrest

The Pentagon is pumping millions of {dollars} yearly into packages that set out to discover the components accountable for creating civil unrest world wide, The Guardian reported this week.

An article by journalist Nafeez Ahmed printed by the paper on Thursday this week acknowledges that the little-known United States Department of Defense program — the Minerva Research Initiative — has since 2008 partnered with universities “to improve DoD’s basic understanding of the social, cultural, behavioral and political forces that shape regions of the world of strategic importance to the US.”

According to this system’s web site, it has not too long ago awarded millions of {dollars} to be divvied up amongst 12 proposals from faculties which have launched tasks related to the Pentagon’s curiosity, together with a Cornell University examine referred to as “Tracking Critical-Mass Outbreaks in Social Contagions” in addition to others involving state stability, social disequilibrium and, in a single occasion, “Understanding American Muslims Converts in the Contexts of Security and Society.” The funding all comes completely from the Dept. of Defense.

“Understanding the Origin, Characteristics and Implications of Mass Political Movements,” a examine out of the University of Washington, was amongst these chosen as effectively. In Lowell, Massachusetts, researchers there’ll use $2 million from the Pentagon to examine terrorist conduct.

“This research is intended to identify precisely how children get involved and how to interrupt and stop the process,” UMass Lowell Professor Mia Bloom instructed the Lowell Sun of her Initiative-accepted challenge. “The analysis will distinction kids in terrorist teams with youngster troopers and youngsters in gangs to higher perceive how they’re alike and the way they differ.”

Jonathan Moyer of the Pardee Center for International Futures within the School of International Studies on the University of Denver instructed a campus publication at that college final month {that a} challenge he’s concerned with — one which may even now obtain Pentagon funding — will “hopefully help us understand instability in middle-income countries, not just the low-income countries.”

“Trying to pull out the Tunisias and the Libyas and the Ukraines,” he instructed the Pardee Center, “and why they is perhaps unstable.”

“The total funds awarded for this set of projects is expected to be around six million dollars in the first year and $17 million over three years,” the Minerva Initiative acknowledged on its web site.

Writing for The Guardian, Ahmed investigated these packages additional and decided that many are immediately concerned in mass protests and different acts of civil unrest witnessed by the world in recent times. The Cornell challenge, for instance, will decide “the critical mass (tipping point)” of social contagians by finding out their “digital traces” within the circumstances of “the 2011 Egyptian revolution, the 2011 Russian Duma elections, the 2012 Nigerian fuel subsidy crisis and the 2013 Gazi park protests in Turkey,” Ahmed wrote. To accomplish as much, researchers say they will examine social media conversations such as Twitter posts “to establish people mobilized in a social contagion and after they grow to be mobilized.”

Another challenge, Ahmed added, is managed by the US Army Research Office and focuses in “large-scale actions involving greater than 1,000 members in enduring exercise” throughout 58 nations across the globe.

The Pentagon’s overseeing of educational tasks like these have raised eyebrows earlier than, and even earned the ire of the American Anthropological Society due to its issues with the place the funding comes from.

“The Department of Defense takes seriously its role in the security of the United States, its citizens, and US allies and partners,” Dr Erin Fitzgerald, the Minerva Initiative’s director, told The Guardian. “While every security challenge does not cause conflict, and every conflict does not involve the US military, Minerva helps fund basic social science research that helps increase the Department of Defense’s understanding of what causes instability and insecurity around the world. By better understanding these conflicts and their causes beforehand, the Department of Defense can better prepare for the dynamic future security environment.”