Saturday, June 14, 2014

Pentagon invests millions in exploring mass civil unrest

The Pentagon is spending millions of dollars on programs studying factors of civil unrest around the world, journalist Nafeez Ahmed states in his article published by The Guardian this week.

According to the article, the US Department of Defense has developed a special program - the Minerva Research Initiative - that since 2008 engages different US universities in research work aimed at improving "DoD's basic understanding of the social, cultural, behavioral and political forces that shape regions of the world of strategic importance to the US." The funding comes entirely from the Department of Defense.
"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 states on its website.
According to the program's website, it has recently awarded millions of dollars to be divided between 12 proposals from colleges that have launched projects relevant to the Pentagon's interest, such as, for example "Understanding American Muslims Converts in the Contexts of Security and Society" or "Understanding the Origin, Characteristics and Implications of Mass Political Movements."
According to Nafeez Ahmed, there is a project managed by the US Army Research Office and focuses on "large-scale movements involving more than 1,000 participants in enduring activity" across 58 countries around the globe.
"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," Dr Erin Fitzgerald, the Minerva Initiative's director, told The Guardian.

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