Why IDA Must Go–Part 1
Before the 21st-century “era of permanent war and blogging” began, some anti-war student activists at Columbia University explained in a leaflet why they felt that Columbia University should fully sever its connections to the Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA):
“In a series of articles in Nation (Oct. 9 & Dec. 18, 1967), historian Gabriel Kolko has analyzed the consequences of the alarming increase in Defense Department grants to major universities. This growing military-academic complex, Kolko argues, constitutes `a virtual revolution on U.S. military research structure. As the nature of modern warfare changes from confrontations between technological powers in a state of mutual terror and unstable balance to wars against guerrillas, the Pentagon’s needs have shifted increasingly from military hardware…to socio-economic “`soft-wares”‘ that Washington hopes will compensate for the ideological and human superiority of guerrilla movements. And since only the university possesses the necessary social scientists for such research, it may be fairly argued that the Pentagon will increasingly need the university far more than the academy will require Defense Department funds.’ For all who recognize the American military to be the main source of violence and repression throughout the world, the lesson is clear: we must by whatever means necessary and to the limits of our power prevent the military from using what is becoming its main weapon–the university.
“In this connection, the campaign against the Institute for Defense Analyses is crucial. Already the Defense Department’s `main weapons systems evaluation think tank’ (Newsweek, Aug. 12, 1963), IDA is rapidly becoming its main agency for procuring top talent in the social and behavioral sciences. This new direction for IDA is most clearly reflected in the September, 1967 reorganization when the old Economic and Political Studies Division which is expected to vastly expand studies on the techniques of counterinsurgency (IDA Bulletin, July 26, 1967). The old EPSD was engaged in `third area conflict studies’ including analyses of counter-insurgency in Thailand and studies of the motivation and morale of Vietcong military and civilian personnel (Hearings, House Comm. on Appropriations, Subcommittee on Defense, FY 1967, vol. 3, pp.607f.). In 1966, ESPD undertook three new projects: an analysis of national security objectives in the Indian Ocean Area; an evaluation of probably military developments in China through 1980; and an analysis of weapons and tactics in counterinsurgency warfare (IDA Annual Report, 1966). With this new reorganization, those who are already bearing the burden of the Pentagon’s `soft-wares’ can look forward to a good deal more of the same…”