Northeastern Disorientation

Northeastern and the Military-Industrial-Academic Complex

 · 4 mins read

Contributed by concerned students

“This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience…we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex.”

-Dwight Eisenhower

Today, the dangerous influence of the military-industrial complex (MIC) extends even further than Eisenhower warned in 1961. It is not hard to see the “conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry” exercising total control over the reckless, imperialist foreign policy of the U.S. But in an early draft of his famous speech, Eisenhower actually referred to a military-industrial-academic complex in which academic institutions supply research & human capital to serve military-industrial purposes, enabling the concentration of global power into the hands of an unelected & unaccountable few, fueling the violence and destruction of endless war. In the post-9/11 security/surveillance state, Northeastern has embraced a leading position in this deadly triangle.

Northeastern’s lucrative relationships with federal agencies & private defense contractors have made this university complicit in the death & suffering of Libyans, Syrians, Yemenis, Palestinians, Iraqis, Afghans… the list goes on. Selling out our university to military-industrial interests threatens our ability to have academic freedom, open dissent, and free speech. Northeastern’s integration into the military-industrial-academic complex has manifested in the following ways:

  • From 2012-2015, President Aoun served as a founding member of the Homeland Security Academic Advisory Council, a group of 18 administrators & academics tasked with bringing academic institutions in line with Department of Homeland Security objectives and making recommendations to the Security of Homeland Security.
  • Northeastern has received millions of dollars in donations from Raytheon, the world’s largest producer of guided missiles & fifth-largest defense contractor. In return, Raytheon executives have been given seats in Northeastern’s highest governing bodies (Corporation & Board of Overseers). Their company receives a guaranteed source of labor (hundreds of students have done co-ops at Raytheon & they now employ almost 1,000 Northeastern alumni) and has its name on an auditorium (no, it’s really not an amphitheater).
  • Northeastern is the lead institution in the ALERT program, established in 2008 with a $10M grant from the Department of Homeland Security. Ten industrial partners (including Raytheon) buy into the program to gain access to explosives-related research.
  • The College of Computer and Information Science has been designated a National Security Agency (NSA) “Center of Excellence in Cyber Operations.” CCIS students take NSA-run seminars and temporary jobs, getting training for careers in government cybersecurity.
  • The Kostas Research Institute for Homeland Security occupies a satellite campus in Burlington, MA devoted to research in “arenas critical to national security.” George Kostas, a wealthy nationalistic alum, has made three donations totalling $16M, which has led to a huge influx of funding for security-related research from other sources, in what Northeastern calls “the Kostas effect.”

Northeastern emphasizes “security” as one of three major research priorities; however, 15 years into the “war on terror,” Aoun & the Board of Trustees are still broadcasting the lie that more invasive surveillance, deadlier weapons, & increased academic collusion with the state can make us more secure. Aside from the information above, there is a great deal that Northeastern keeps secret about its relationships with military-industrial entities. Regardless, we can identify a concerted effort to cash in on the growing demand for military-industrial research and development.

Militarization has made Northeastern a lot of money, and as long as it remains profitable, we can expect more of it. In other words, these programs’ future existence depends on never-ending global war & conflict. It’s time for a radically different approach--one that does not devalue human life in pursuit of profits.