Friday, January 5, 2007

Con Edison's IDA Connection In The 1990s

“Student uprisings against the Vietnam War, the draft and all things military or quasi-military had strained and, in some cases, ruptured the ties of the think-tanks with the nation’s universities. They had depended on the universities for faculty guidance and participation, for facilities and for free-flowing intellectual exchange…One of the sufferers had been the Institute for Defense Analyses, the think-tank at the disposal of the Secretary of Defense himself, and of the Director of Defense Research and Engineering, working hand in glove with the Defense Department’s Advanced Research Projects Agency…There were signs in the mid-seventies, however, that it was making a bit of a comeback…Even though IDA had lost its official claim on the consortium of 12 universities which had founded and fed it in years long gone by, it still was drawing on their resident brains in an unofficial, informal—even sub rosa-fashion.”

The Superwarriors: The Fantastic World of Pentagon Superweapons by James Canan (page 174)

The antiwar folks who occupied Columbia University’s buildings in 1968 demanded that Columbia end its ties to the Pentagon’s weapons research think-tank, the Institute for Defense Analyses [IDA]. Both Columbia University President Grayson Kirk and Columbia University Trustee William Burden sat on the IDA board of trustees and the IDA executive committee. And, in Columbia’s name, Kirk and Burden were approving the top-secret IDA weapons research projects that enabled the Pentagon to develop its electronic warfare, automated battlefield and laser-guided aerial bombardment military capacity which it used in its 1991, 1998 and 2003 high-technology bombing blitz of Iraq, its 1999 high-technology bombing blitz of Serbia and its 2001 high-technology bombing blitz of Afghanistan. Today, in this current “era of permanent war and blogging”, a Pentagon weapons research think-tank in Virginia, called the Institute for Defense Analyses [IDA], continues to develop new weapons for urban warfare and space warfare use in the 21st-century.

In the early 1990s Con Edison Trustee Ruth Davis was also a trustee of the Pentagon’s IDA. Between 1977 and 1979, Con Edison Trustee Davis had been the Pentagon’s Deputy Under-secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering. And between 1979 and 1981, Davis was a U.S. Department of Energy assistant secretary. Ruth Davis was also a director of Control Data, United Telecommunications, Aerospace Corporation and the Pymatuning Group during the late 1980s. Among the other corporate establishment figures that Con Edison Trustee Davis sat next to on these corporate boards were members of the board of the following corporations and institutions: Shell Oil; General Mills; 3M; Chemical Bank/Texas Commerce Bank; McGraw-Hill; Equitable Life Assurance; Southeast Banking of Florida; the RAND Corporation; and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

In a 1991 telephone interview, I asked IDA’s Vice-President of Administration and Finance during the 1990s, Ruth Greenstein, what was the role of an IDA trustee such as Con Edison Trustee Ruth Davis?

According to Greenstein, the role of an IDA trustee is similar to the role of a board of directors’ members in any business corporation, although IDA is a “not-for-profit” corporation which works directly for the office of the U.S. Secretary of Defense.

The reason why Davis was on the IDA Board of Trustees during the 1990s, according to IDA spokesperson Greenstein was that “She goes back years with quite significant Defense Department experience.”

Asked to describe the kind of work IDA was doing for the Pentagon during the 1990s, Greenstein replied:

“We do a range of both policy analysis and basic research to sharpen Defense Department capabilities. We are involved in evaluating major weapons systems like the B-1 bomber and assessing new technologies and engaging in fundamental research.”

According to Greenstein, in the early 1990s about one-third of IDA’s trustees formerly worked for the U.S. government, such as Con Edison Trustee Ruth Davis, retired “General Rogers” and IDA’s then-chairman of the Board of Trustees, former U.S. Secretary of the Air Force, Robert Froehlke, who was “also a director of an insurance company.” Con Edison Trustee Davis, according to Greenstein, was the only IDA trustee who also sat on the board of directors of a utility company. Another one-third of the IDA trustees during the 1990s—like Samuel Huntington of Harvard University—were recruited from the U.S. academic community “because of their expertise on national security issues,” according to the IDA spokesperson.

When I asked her if any of IDA’s research proved relevant during the 1991 Gulf War, Greenstein noted that IDA also engaged in “quick response” military research for the Pentagon in the 1990s.