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Military and Defense influence on technological development, Politechs, Saturday afternoon
ADOPTER(S): Harry Halpin (hhalpin AT
FACILITATOR(S): -- enter names here


What do people want this stream to be about? The influence of military and defense on technology is quite broad - ranging from the development of weaponry in the bronze age to how the U.S. military gave us the Internet.

What do people want to talk about? E.g.:


Here's just a few articles and links of interest.

  • For any techies in the audience doing research, here's a classic article from Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility about how military funding influences research. The author of the article, Terry Winograd, a famous AI scientist, refuses military funding.Terry Winograd on Military Funding of Computer Science

The following links are from an email, linking to reports by Scientists for Global Responsibility on military influences on tech development: If any of you are interested in more info about military nanotechnology and QinetiQ's activities, have a look at p54-56 of 'Soldiers in the Laboratory: military involvement in science and technology - and some alternatives' at:

and if you're interested in critiques of current UK science policy and alternative views of how science and technology could be governed, see some of the articles at:

"QinetiQ part fund guided weapons technology centres at Cranfield University and Imperial College London. What are they doing here? QinetiQ was established in 2001 after the MoD privatised some of its activities and the MoD now buys consultancy back from QinetiQ. The MoD holds shares in QinetiQ and so does the US based Carlyle group - one of the world's largest venture capitalists (i.e. a company which speculates and invests in anything and everything so long as it makes them money). And get this - according to the Campaign Against the Arms Trade, former US Defense Secretary Frank Carlucci chairs the Carlyle Group, former UK Prime Minister John Major is Carlyle Europe Chairperson, former US President George Bush Senior is Carlyle Senior Advisor, and former US Secretary of State James Baker is Carlyle Senior Counsellor.

And did you know that Lancaster University is a shareholder in four arms companies? These are: BAe Systems (world's 4th largest arms company); Rolls Royce (25% of the world's military aircraft use RR engines); Smiths Group (provide components to aircraft manufacturers including flight controls and engine parts); and VT Group (manufacture warships and military aircraft and provide 'support') (see

All over the country staff and students are beginning to question their universities and demand an end to this investment by adopting an Ethical Investment Policy. I'm sure we can do the same here. As CAAT says, 'arms companies are already subsidised by public money to the tune of £890m annually - just short of the £950m which will be raised each year by top-up fees, according to the Institute of Fiscal Studies. It seems that public money can be found for weapons, but not for education'.", excerpted from a recent letter in Subtext.