IDA’s 21st-Century Weapons Research Work
In the 21st-century, IDA has continued to develop new weapons technology and evaluate weapons systems for the Pentagon’s “permanent war machine.” According to IDA’s website during the first decade of the 21st-century, for example, IDA’s Joint Advanced Warfighting Program (JAWP) was serving “as a catalyst for developing breakthrough improvements in military capabilities,” “helping to conceptualize and develop new warfighting concepts and capabilities” and preparing “for implementations of the new warfighting concepts and capabilities.” In addition, on its web site IDA also revealed that after the Pentagon “lost about 100 helicopters from fall 2001 to spring 2005” in Afghanistan and Iraq, it “asked IDA to examine available data and records to identify why the helicopters were lost and to develop options for reducing future losses.”
IDA researchers found that “about one-third” of Pentagon helicopter losses in Afghanistan and Iraq “were due to engagements by enemy forces, which primarily used shoulder-fired missiles, rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs), and small arms.” So IDA’s weapons research study then “identified several options” for the Pentagon “to improve rotorcraft survivability” in U.S. military-occupied Iraq, “including: enhancing the onboard countermeasures suite to counter shoulder-fired missiles; modifying tactics and procedures to minimize exposure to RPGs and small arms;” and “developing a lightweight sensor package integrated with software-based terrain avoidance to improve aircrew performance in degraded environments.”
The weapons research think-tank, on whose board of trustees NYU’s New Center for Urban Science and Progress Director Steven Koonin currently sits, was also developing, in the early 21st-century the weapons technology that the U.S. war machine required to wage urban warfare in places like Baghdad, Iraq more effectively. As the IDA noted on its website during the first decade of the 21st century:
“U.S. Joint Forces Command (JFCOM) asked IDA to provide technical assistance as a follow-on to the Urban Resolve Phase I experiment conducted in 2004. This new work focused on improving current joint operations in an urban environment.
“Our researchers designed and conducted the 2005 experiment to identify and evaluate potential near-term improvements in command and control, sensors, and intelligence to support operations in Baghdad. In the process, IDA helped JFCOM develop an advanced synthetic experimentation environment to explore current issues in simulation.
“In addition, JFCOM initiated the Urban Resolve 2015 Experiment, which will build on the 2005 environment to identify more effective concepts for future stability operations than those currently available for Iraq and Afghanistan. IDA participated in a series of workshops that defined the kinds of information needed to attack insurgent networks, the most effective means for obtaining that information, and the details needed to incorporate these concepts into supporting models used to execute the event.
“We developed a concept involving tags and unmanned aerial vehicles equipped with advanced sensors that blends both human and technical means for detecting insurgent activities, tracking their vehicles and personnel, and locating their facilities. Tag and sensor models were developed to take advantage of the existing JFCOM simulation suite in order to bring the concepts to life in the Urban Resolve 2015 human-in-the-loop simulation. The goal is to refine and quantify the battlefield utility of these and other concepts, providing a guide for the DoD science and technology community that will lead to advanced concept technology demonstrations and transition to field operations.”
IDA’s website also described how IDA’s Systems and Analyses Center conducted weapons research studies for the Pentagon’s war in Iraq and Afghanistan in the area of irregular warfare planning and experimentation during the first decade of the 21st-century:
“Improvised explosive devices (IEDs) have produced most of the recent battle casualties among U.S. and Coalition forces in Iraq… In 2005, the Joint IED-Defeat Task Force asked IDA to review existing DoD organizations and processes established to defeat the IED threat and to identify opportunities for improvement.
“IDA formed a team of more than 30 researchers from six research divisions, including the military component of IDA’s Joint Advanced Warfighting Program (JAWP). The study’s main source of information was the IED-Defeat community itself – from soldiers and Marines in the field to home-based organizations supporting their efforts.
“The team formed task groups that focused on functional dimensions of the IED challenge. JAWP’s senior military officer led a team of military and civilian analysts in Iraq for five weeks that collected warfighters’ perspectives throughout the region, ranging from headquarters to combat patrols. A complementary effort in the United States visited training installations and gathered insights from recently returned veterans. Other teams addressed the following: the adequacy of IED training programs; the intelligence community’s support to the warfighter; the process for identifying, developing, and rapidly fielding new counter-IED technologies; the process for developing and disseminating new IED-defeat tactics; the process for tracking and analyzing operational performance in order to gauge progress and determine the effectiveness of tactics or technologies; and DoD’s capacity to integrate these elements into a coordinated and responsive program.
“In each area, teams made recommendations, which DoD is considering as it refines its approach to defeating the IED threat.”
As the Los Angeles Times observed in an August 15, 2004 article:
“During the U.S.-led attack on Iraq, the Institute for Defense Analyses provided senior Pentagon officials with assessments of the operation.
“Staff members from the institute formed part of an 18-member civilian analysis team working from the Joint Warfighting Center in Virginia.
“The operation was described in a June 3, 2003, briefing by Brigadier General Robert W. Cone of the Army. `This team did business’ within the Army Central Command `on a daily basis, by observing meeting and planning sessions, attending command updates, watching key decisions being made, watching problems being solved, and generally being provided unrestricted access to the business of the conduct of this war,’ Cone said, according to a transcript of the session.”
IDA’s website also notes that the Defense Science Study Group [DSSG], “a program…that introduces… science and engineering professors to the United States’ security challenges and encourages them to apply their talents to these issues” was begun in 1986” and is directed by IDA. The IDA website’s description of IDA’s Defense Science Study Group program indicates how the program helps the Trump administration recruit current and future weapons development researchers for the U.S. permanent war machine:
“IDA solicits nominations from senior leaders within major universities and from DSSG mentors, advisors, alumni, and current members. Because participation in the DSSG requires acquisition of a security clearance, all members must be U.S. citizens…. …
“Each group meets for two years for approximately 20 days per year, divided into two week-long sessions each summer and two three-day sessions each academic year. During these eight sessions, members focus on defense policy, related research and development, and the systems, missions, and operations of the armed forces and the intelligence community.
“The first session, held at IDA’s headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia, provides members with an overview of the DSSG program. Prominent individuals from the defense and national security arenas, IDA researchers, DSSG mentors, and alumni introduce new members to the defense establishment, the current national security environment, and the role science and technology plays in that environment. Members also visit the Pentagon’s National Military Command Center, are briefed by such senior Pentagon officials as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and meet with national security professionals within the Executive Office of the President.
“The second session includes members’ first foray into `the field.' Members visit Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Joint Command facilities on the East Coast. Previous classes have met with senior military officers from the Navy’s Atlantic Fleet, Marine Forces Atlantic, and special operations teams. They have also toured aircraft carriers, AEGIS-equipped destroyers, and tactical submarines. In addition, this session has included visits to the II Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina; the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina; the U.S. Central Command and U.S. Special Operations Command at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, and has ended with a tour of a Trident submarine base in Georgia.
“The third session focuses on Army, Navy, Marine and Air Force installations and defense industry facility tours on the West Coast and in the Midwest. Members again fly via military aircraft. Past trips have included visits to Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and Northrop Grumman facilities; Fort Lewis; Edwards, Peterson, Offutt, and Wright-Patterson Air Force Bases; Fort Irwin National Training Center; Third Fleet, and Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center at Twentynine Palms.
“The fourth session includes visits to intelligence agencies in the Washington, DC, area…. During the fifth session, also held in the Washington, DC area, members discuss their initial ideas for research `think pieces’…In the sixth session, DSSG members tour national laboratories. In 2013, DSSG members visited the Air Force Research Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore, Sandia, and Los Alamos National Laboratories.
“In the seventh session, members take advantage of the resources available to them at IDA and visit defense and Government offices in the Washington DC area to advance their research. They also visit additional defense related laboratories such as the Naval Research Laboratory and MIT Lincoln Laboratory.
“During the eighth and concluding session of the program, members present the results of their `think pieces.’…”
Ending NYU’s Pentagon-IDA Connection In 2019
|NYU's Center for Urban Science: IDA-Connected?|
But if you think—like most antiwar Barnard College and Columbia University students did 50 years ago—that neither university administrators nor university professors in New York City should be helping to develop more deadly weapons for the U.S. permanent war machine, then you probably understand why it’s morally right for anti-war NYU students and faculty members to now demand that NYU New Center for Urban Science and Progress Steven Koonin resign from IDA’s board of trustees in 2019.
(conclusion of August 2018 article that originally appeared on ZNet website)