Pentagon Devoting Money to Research How to Deal with “Mass Civil Breakdown”

Since we know that Homeland Security (along with other federal agencies) has been arranging to purchase large amounts of ammunition, stories about the Defense Department studying how to deal with “mass civil breakdown” worry me.

From the Washington Times:

The Department of Defense has disbursed some funds to universities so that scientists might study the dynamics of civil unrest — and how the U.S. military might best respond.

It’s called the “Minerva Research Initiative,” and it’s a program that was kicked off in 2008 to “improve DoD’s basic understanding of the social, cultural, behavioral and political forces that shape regions of the world of strategic importance to the U.S.,” The Guardian reported.

More to point: the multi-million dollar research program seeks to uncover “warfighter-relevant insights” to help senior ranking officials in the “defense policy community” come up with “combatant commands” that work in civil unrest situations, The Guardian reported.

One area of study that’s planned for the 2014-2017 time frame partners Cornell University researchers with the U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research to come up with a model for the “dynamics of social movement mobilization and contagions,” the text of the program stated. That particular research area will ultimately determine the “critical mass (tipping point),” of civil uprisings, where protests turn violent, the program text states, The Guardian reported.

The research will also analyze social media users’ accounts, and look at Twitter posts and conversations “to identify individuals mobilized in a social contagion and when they become mobilized.”

Another aspect of the project partners the University of Washington with the U.S. Army Research Office to “uncover the conditions under which political movements aimed at large-scale political and economic change originate,” as well as their “characteristics and consequences,” through study of 58 different countries, The Guardian reported.

I would be surprised if one of those 58 countries was not the United States. But even if the U.S. is not being studied, this description of the “Minerva Research Initiative” sounds like they are trying to deal with normal democratic processes as if they are acts of rebellion or insurgency. If that is how the Pentagon views these actions in other countries, why would they respect such movements here in the United States?