Science and Technology
in service of the warfare state

 

 

The Principal Investigator

Through the single investigator program, the military makes grants to individual researchers on campuses. University faculty search out funds to conduct their research, and often apply to military funding agencies through grant proposals as PIs (principal investigators). The process gives the illusion that the researchers are relatively autonomous from the military because it is the researcher who applies for the grant and chooses the research area and goals. This is a false impression based only on the surface appearance of the military-university relationship. Even the US military is quick to dispel this idea:

"A major contributor to the Army science base is the single investigator working at a university... Individual investigators provide the Army with the ability to broadly influence the total science base, quickly exploiting opportunities that might arise."(1 )

The Army crowns the military's control/influence over scientific research by saying of basic research, "The Army is interpreting and tailoring progress for the Army╠s benefit." This "ability to broadly influence the total science base," and to "tailor" science is how research is most dangerously militarized in universities. The military is able to shape science, and control research in specific areas of engineering and the physical sciences simply because they hold a monopoly of the funds available for support. Individual scientists may be choosing and developing their own research projects, but it is the military establishment that decides the priority and funding for these projects. Research with clear military applications, often overt and solely warfare science is funded, while other topics are left to rot. Brian Martin, a professor of Science and Technology Studies remarks that:

"Military funding also affects what are thought to be the key questions within certain fields, such as certain computational challenges in the early days of computers. This affects areas as diverse as the study of climate, gravitational anomalies, genetic engineering and group psychology."(2)

As Julian Huxley, a British biologist remarked in 1934 of the militarized system of research and development emerging in both the US and UK,

"If you are willing to pay for more men and more facilities in war research than say medical research, you will get more results adapted to killing people and less adapted to keeping them alive."(3)

The system of research weeds out disciplines and projects of little relevance to the military while strengthening warfare science, and promoting projects with primary military applications among the US scientific community.