Not known by the average American, the Department of Defense is giving serious consideration to a plan for involving itself in a massive way with American higher education.
The reason for the proposed “partnership” between academia and military is fairly uncomplicated. The military and the universities find themselves competing for the nation’s youth. Eighteen-year-olds are at a premium and this partnership will avoid a head-on struggle. The military will offer financial help that the colleges so desperately need; in return, the Pentagon will have opportunity to provide military training.
According to Thomas Carr, Director of Defense Education for the Department of Defense, to maintain an active duty military force (in the next 5 to 10 years), the military must recruit more than one out of three male 18-year-olds. He predicts that:
1) Military and the colleges will join together in a series of “Cooperative Ventures.”
2) Through this partnership, education will emphasize “task skills” instead of “relative performance.”
3) By 1984 the military will have become a major instrument for youth socialization.
4) Our military bases around the world will be fully used for this new program as satellites will transmit teaching materials to remote areas overseas.
5) Education will become the means whereby the military will recruit “especially qualified personnel:”
6) The armed forces will become the largest degree granting institution in the world.
The “Cooperative Venture” of the military and universities is frightening and fraught with danger. Universities are underfinanced, whereas the military has unlimited funds. As a consequence, “Cooperative Venture” will see the Department of Defense most assuredly dictating policy of universities. Military influence generally aims not at attaining academic excellence, but at social engineering and the accomplishment of political goals; academic freedom would diminish daily. Furthermore, few things are more perilous to a free society than the institutionalization of security.
The potential military takeover of higher education in the United States and the media’s failure to cover this issue qualifies this story for nomination as one of the “best censored” stories of 1978:
Saturday Review, November 11, 1978, “Outlooks,” Editorial, North Carolina.