Defense, Higher Ed grow closer with controversial initiative

For the new Obama administration, whose claim to fame is change, one relationship – higher education and defense research – seems to be going in the same direction: closer together. An initiative created by Department of Defense Secretary Robert Gates, a carryover from the Bush administration, is strengthening the controversial relationship between higher education and the DOD. Gates’ Minerva Initiative, created last April, provides government grants to social science researchers performing studies the DOD calls beneficial to national security. The aims include a better understanding of foreign cultures, world religions and foreign military structure. Researchers in favor of this initiative call it a pragmatic relationship that may decrease casualties in war and aid national security. But researchers who oppose the initiative say DOD grants interfere with high ethical standards and may cause foreign governments and populations to shun research related to U.S. military intelligence. Check out tomorrow’s Daily for the full story on the Minerva Initiative and the DOD-higher education relationship.