The final assembly of all U.S. nuclear weapons takes. place in the Texas Panhandle. Houston has more oil company headquarters than any other city in the world. The whole state reeks of Sunbelt boosters, strident antiunionists, political hucksters, and new industry and money. THIS IS THE LOOK OF TEXAS TODAY and the Texas Observer has its independent eye on all of it. We offer the latest in corporate scams and political scandals as well as articles on those who have other, and more humane, visions of what our stae can be. Become an Observer subscriber today, order a gift for a friend, or instruct us to enter a library subscription under your patronage. Send the Observer to name address city. state zip this subscription is for myself gift subscription; send card in my name $20 enclosed for a one-year subscription bill me for $20 name address city state zip THE TEXAS OBSERVER 600 W. 7th, Austin, Texas 78701 University Defense Contracts Goin’ to Study War Some More By Nina Butts Austin IN THE WINTER of 1982, Lockheed Missile and Space Company opened its doors in Austin. Its parent corporation, Lockheed, is the fifth largest weapons contractor in the nation and is headquartered in California. The Austin plant makes Navy communication systems and is part of Lockheed’s plan to “diversify geographically.” Within eighteen months of its arrival here, Lockheed had donated several thousand dollars’ worth of heavy industrial equipment to Austin Community College and arranged for ACC instructors to train Lockheed employees on the job, using money provided by the state through the Economic Development Commission. “We fulfill whatever needs they have out there,” said ACC industry liaison Theron Lee. “We do . . . on-site type training.” “When Lockheed came to town,” a source inside the college noted, “ACC was its welcoming committee.” LIKE THE LINE dividing the Pentagon and the weapons corporations, the line between aca demia and the military-industrial complex often becomes grey. The relationship of Austin Community College to Lockheed is one instance. Research funds are another. In universities and colleges all over Texas, scientists labor under contracts with both the Pentagon and the weapons corporations. In addition, students coming out of science and engineering schools are wooed by weapons contractors, whose recruiters regularly visit the campuses. And one of Texas’ major defense corporations, This is the second in a series of articles by Nina Butts examining Texas’ role in the weapons industry. The series is funded by a Carey McWilliams Fellowship from the Nation Institute. Tracor, in Austin, was founded in 1955 by a local lawyer and four University of Texas scientists. Pentagon spending at Texas colleges and universities was $35 million in fiscal 1983, for both research and officer Texas 37.8 % of all research grant money came from the Defense Department in fiscal 1983. Also, research grants from NASA and the Department of Energy often involve weapons research. University scientists are not immune to moral questions about being paid by the military to do their work. “Scientists all over ask those questions,” said one university physicist. “Our research is on basic physics . . . the military takes our basic research answers to questions and does what it wants to with it, good or bad or whatever. The scientist always hopes it will be used for good.” “Do we sell our souls? That is the appropriate question,” said Loyd Hampton, director of the UT Applied Research Laboratories, which had close to $17 million in Navy contracts last year. “There are . . . things that are left to value judgments that we reach one conclusion to while somebody else might reach another conclusion.” One university mathematician claimed, “I don’t really feel guilty working for the military because [my work] has peacetime applications just as much as military. I don’t really have to go in and build a weapons system.” One reason in some cases perhaps the first reason that university researchers do work for the Pentagon is that the Pentagon has the money to fund them. “There will always be a scarcity of research money,” said A. J. Dusek, head of UT’s Office of Sponsored Projects. He added that there are researchers who, “if they could get money from some other source, would not want to get it from the Defense Department. It’s just that that’s where the funding is these days.” 6 MARCH 9, 1984
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