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Monday, June 17, 2024

DoD Awards $18 Million for Academic Research on the Socio-Political Drivers of Future Conflict

Topics include social network websites, Kremlin propaganda, and internet usage patterns among Russians as well as the climate-food-urbanization nexus.

The Department of Defense today announced $18 million in grants to 11 university-based faculty teams under its Minerva Research Initiative, which supports basic research in social and behavioral sciences on topics of particular relevance to U.S. national security.

“We live in a dynamic world, and many of the challenges we face are social or have social elements to them,” said Dr. David Montgomery, director of social science in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (R&E).  “Leveraging the strengths of the nation’s academic research institutions helps DoD define sources of present and future conflicts, with an eye toward better understanding the social and political trajectories of key regions of the world.”

Through its network of faculty investigators, the Minerva Research Initiative builds strong connections to the social science community to help the Department better understand and prepare for future challenges, guided by priorities established in the National Defense Strategy.

The 11 university awardees were selected from approximately 130 applicants in six categories, using a merit competition that evaluated proposals for their potential to make foundational contributions to basic social science and alignment with the National Defense Strategy.  Research proposals were peer-reviewed and selected for scientific merit, relevance, and potential impact in conference between R&E and the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy.

The selected projects include:

  1. Deterrence in Space—Integrated or Entangled? A Wargaming Approach to Multidomain Strategy
    Topic Area: Deterrence in the future operating environment
    Principal Investigator: Mariel Borowitz, Georgia Institute of Technology
  2. Advancing Social Science Research on Demographic Shifts, Climate Change, and Political and Social Stability in Sub-Saharan Africa
    Topic Area: Socio-economic vulnerability to climate change
    Principal Investigator: Arun Agrawal, University of Michigan
  3. Social Network Websites, Kremlin Propaganda, and Internet Usage Patterns Among Russians
    Topic Area: Russian speakers in online spaces
    Principal Investigator: Golfo Alexopoulos, University of South Florida
  4. The Climate-Food-Urbanization Nexus and the Precursors of Instability in Africa
    Topic Area: Socio-economic vulnerability to climate change
    Principal Investigator: Kathy Baylis, University of California Santa Barbara
  5. Future Fish Wars: Chasing Ocean Ecosystem Wealth
    Topic Area: Socio-economic vulnerability to climate change
    Principal Investigator: James Watson, Oregon State University
  6. Integrated Deterrence: Episodic Analysis
    Topic Area: Deterrence in the future operating environment
    Principal Investigator:  Eli Berman, University of California, San Diego
  7. Resurgent Powers, Nontraditional Threats, and Emerging Technologies: Deterrence in a Multi-level Network Framework
    Topic Area: Deterrence in the future operating environment
    Principal Investigator: Brandon Kinne, University of California, Davis
  8. Cross-cultural Multilevel Examination of Power and Influence
    Topic Area: Power and influence in the era of strategic competition
    Principal Investigator: Jasmin Cloutier, University of Delaware
  9. Identifying and Measuring User and Platform Vulnerabilities to Strategic Information Operations
    Topic Area: Power and influence in the era of strategic competition
    Principal Investigator: Brian Ekdale, University of Iowa
  10. Food Fights: War Narratives and Identity Reproduction in Evolving Conflicts
    Topic Area: Power and influence in the era of strategic competition
    Principal Investigator: Samir Kassab, East Carolina University
  11. Semantic Foundations and Formal Methods for Evolutionary System-of-System Architectures
    Topic Area: Management and information in the defense environment
    Principal Investigator: Mark Austin, University of Maryland

The Minerva Research Initiative is jointly administered by the Basic Research Office in R&E and the Strategy and Force Development Office in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, in partnership with the Air Force Office of Scientific Research and the Office of Naval Research.

Click here for more information on the Minerva Research Initiative.

Read more at the Defense Department

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Homeland Security Today
The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.
Homeland Security Today
Homeland Security Todayhttp://www.hstoday.us
The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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