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Armed with ExpertiseThe Militarization of American Social Research during the Cold War$

Joy Rohde

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780801449673

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801449673.001.0001

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Creating the Gray Area

Creating the Gray Area

Scholars, Soldiers, and National Security

(p.9) 1 Creating the Gray Area
Armed with Expertise

Joy Rohde

Cornell University Press

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines the relationship between social science and Cold War militarism. During the Cold War, social scientists hoped to provide the foundations for a successful counterinsurgency doctrine. However, the synthesis of civilian and military expertise was uneasy. As social scientists mobilized to protect American national security from the communist threat, their efforts pushed them onto the front lines of militarization. Moreover, military patronage threatened scholars' intellectual autonomy and fundamentally challenged long-standing national values. Nevertheless, with militarization hidden behind social-scientific rhetoric and creative institutional configurations, scholars and soldiers tried to recast the spread of American military power as democratic reform and the militarization of social knowledge as an antidote to Cold War militarism.

Keywords:   social science, Cold War militarism, Cold War, counterinsurgency, American national security, communism, militarization, military patronage, American military power

In 1946, sociologist Philip M. Hauser confronted his fellow social scientists: Were they ready, he asked, “for the supreme challenge of providing enough knowledge about human institutions and human relationships in time to prevent the suicide of the human race?” World War II had ended, but dire threats remained: social dislocation and physical destruction threatened Europe’s future; inequality and anti-imperialist unrest loomed in Asia and Africa; and a growing ideological chasm divided the Americans and the Soviets. Although the physical sciences produced miraculous results in the last war, their triumphs only intensified the destructiveness of military conflict. It was time, Hauser argued, for experts in human relations—those who could tackle the fundamental causes of war—to engineer a lasting peace.1

As the euphoria of victory gave way to the stark reality of Cold War, social scientists laid claim to the management of international conflict. Whether hot or cold, they argued, war was at its most basic a form of communication. Armed encounters, Princeton psychologist and Pentagon adviser Charles Bray argued, arose “as an extension of the conflicts of societies of men which have different political, social, and personal values and goals.” “The proper concern of the Department of Defense with the atom, with space, with missiles and airplanes and submarines,” he elaborated, “is only to persuade other men, in other parts of the world, that they cannot, without reason, impose their wills upon us.” Johns Hopkins University’s Paul Linebarger concurred; in war, “you are fighting against men. Your purpose in fighting is to make them change their minds.”2

(p.10) Many military officials and civilian policymakers found these arguments compelling. Even some physicists concurred. Luis Alvarez, veteran of the Manhattan Project, explained to Pentagon officials that if World War I had been the chemists’ war, and World War II the physicists’ war, then “World War III … might well have to be considered the social scientists’ war.”3 And indeed, over the course of the 1950s and 1960s, the Pentagon mobilized experts on human behavior, persuasion, culture, and psychology to create an arsenal of social knowledge designed to contain communism and, they hoped, avert future wars.

The world war that Alvarez forecasted never came to pass, but the Cold War nevertheless became a social scientists’ war. After Chiang Kai-shek’s defeat in 1949, American military strategists seeking the philosophy and techniques that had propelled the communists to victory turned to Mao Tse-tung’s writings. They took to heart his argument that revolutionary warfare was above all political. As military historian Andrew J. Birtle explains, a number of American military experts “believed Mao had created a whole new form of warfare … for which all previous experience was irrelevant.” According to Marine Corps lieutenant colonel T. N. Greene, Mao’s work indicated that future wars would be fought “not only in the sharp black and white of formal combat, but in a gray, fuzzy obscurity where politics affect tactics and economics influence strategy.” In such a war, “the soldier must fuse with the statesman, the private turn politician.”4

Social scientists hoped to provide the foundations for a successful counterinsurgency doctrine. But the synthesis of civilian and military expertise was uneasy. As social scientists mobilized to protect American national security from the communist threat, their efforts thrust them onto the front lines of militarization. It was an experience as heady as it was perilous. Military patronage provided social scientists with access to scarce financial resources, presented new and exciting intellectual problems, and promised power and prestige. It seemed that disciplinary values and national values complemented each other. But mobilization also posed significant challenges. It threatened scholars’ intellectual autonomy and fundamentally challenged long-standing national values. Americans viewed themselves as a peaceable people, forced into conflict only by the actions of an unprincipled enemy. By reorienting civilian institutions and scholarly interests toward national security concerns, the Cold War threatened to undermine that cherished identity. If Americans willingly directed their intellectual, political, and economic resources toward warfare, they might themselves become belligerent.5 As social scientists mobilized from the late 1940s to the early 1960s, they pursued intellectual projects and created institutions that reflected these competing convictions.

Cold War militarization was tied to two further problems, each potentially devastating to Americans’ national identity, which would also forcefully shape (p.11) social scientists’ Cold War efforts. Despite the nation’s long history of intervention and empire, many Americans were deeply ambivalent about the global reach of their power; they tended to think of themselves, at worst, as reluctant imperialists. Furthermore, they worried that national security concerns might centralize political power at home. Pitted in a life-and-death battle against a statist, imperial behemoth, many Americans believed that they must not fall victim to the very state centralization and global expansionism they sought to fight.6

Cold War social science was forged in the crucible of these anxieties. As they mobilized, scholars and their patrons sought intellectual tools that would extend the nation’s global role while maintaining the conviction that American power stood for freedom, liberty, and self-determination. They often pursued these goals unconsciously, and the results of their efforts would be complex and contradictory. They sought institutional arrangements that would keep researchers at arms’ length from the state, but they struggled for a decade to strike a balance between military and civilian, public and private. By the end of the 1950s, government-funded social scientists would work on military problems from private, university-managed research institutes. Military experts would expound counterinsurgency methods as peaceful techniques. With militarization hidden behind social-scientific rhetoric and creative institutional configurations, scholars and soldiers would try to recast the spread of American military power as democratic reform and the militarization of social knowledge as an antidote to Cold War militarism.

Wars’ Lessons

The conviction that social science could render global affairs legible and manageable was not new to the Cold War. When the nation entered World War II, social scientists mobilized. They amassed information about enemy morale and analyzed propaganda for the Office of Strategic Services, the Office of War Information, and the Library of Congress; they designed psychological warfare campaigns against the Germans for the Psychological Warfare Division of the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force; they studied manpower mobilization for the armed services; and they managed the home front, supervising Japanese American internees for the War Relocation Authority. As Ellen Herman argues in her masterly study of American psychology, World War II taught social scientists to equate “social responsibility with government service, democracy and tolerance with psychology, and enlightened planning with behavioral expertise.”7

(p.12) The line between the martial and the civil, notoriously blurred at the height of the Cold War, had already grown hazy by the early 1940s. In fact, it had been blurrier for social scientists than for physical scientists. While social researchers generally worked in uniform or from within civilian wartime agencies during World War II, physical scientists and engineers conducted their research at arms’ length from the government. Instead of drafting civilian scientists into wartime labs—which would increase the reach of the national security state while militarizing scientific careers—the wartime Office of Scientific Research and Development (OSRD) offered government-funded research contracts to researchers who remained within their university laboratories. Between 1940 and 1944, over 60 percent of war research was carried out on contract in university- and industry-based labs. American scientists credited the OSRD with developing a system that mobilized the sciences for war, yet insulated universities and the private sector from military control, intellectual rigidity, and other wartime disruptions. The system also appeared to mitigate one of the potentially pernicious consequences of wartime mobilization. Its creator, Vannevar Bush, was a staunch opponent of government growth; the OSRD created a decentralized system that harnessed private institutions and specialized expertise to the war effort without unduly extending the federal government’s reach. And it delivered the goods that won the war.8

In engineering and the physical sciences, the federal government maintained this model after the war, keeping scientists and engineers invested in military questions during peacetime by negotiating contracts for innovative research. Social scientists, on the other hand, found themselves demobilized after the armistice. Margaret Mead wrote that social scientists “took their marbles and went home.”9 But some did not want to give up the game. In Washington, social scientists found challenging research questions, welcome visibility and influence, and much-needed funding. As peace devolved inexorably toward Cold War, social scientists like Bray and Linebarger continued to argue for their disciplines’ relevance to global affairs.

The military, however, was more ambivalent in the late 1940s. It made some room for research, but its efforts were decentralized and, in the opinion of many social scientists, dangerously inadequate. Programs in tried-and-true fields like military psychology and man-machine systems continued. But in the areas that social scientists’ argued were most crucial to the Cold War—propaganda, psychological and political warfare, area studies, and nation-building efforts—their arguments for inclusion went largely unheeded. Between 1946 and 1950, when funding for all non-psychological research was cut, the Office of Naval Research provided the only significant source of money—approximately $2 million annually—for social science research related to problems of American national (p.13) security. Other efforts enjoyed more longevity, but not more influence. The air force think tank RAND, established after World War II to advise the air force on strategy, established a social science division in Washington in 1948. But its researchers toiled in obscurity and geographic isolation until the division was welcomed to RAND’s Santa Monica headquarters in 1956. Even then, RAND’s most important contributions to the Cold War effort, such as deterrence theory, came out of other divisions. Social scientists found little sympathy for their efforts from the civilian side of government, where congressional misgivings about the utility of social science and the politics of its often liberal experts constrained research funding. Congress voted to exclude the social sciences from the planned National Science Foundation in 1946—three years before it managed to pass legislation creating the organization.10

The Korean War—and the military’s abysmal propaganda showing in it—provided social scientists with fodder for the argument that they could help improve American national security. Although army chief of staff Dwight Eisenhower had instructed the army to maintain its psychological warfare capacity in the late 1940s, the military, believing that such an activity was manipulative, dishonest, and not “real soldiering,” had allowed it to atrophy. But the Korean experience indicated to some military officials that propaganda and psychological warfare might be crucial to preserving democracy.11 Becoming convinced that “war was a struggle for national and international psyches,” the military turned once more to social scientists for help.12 Researchers from the army’s Operations Research Office (ORO) interviewed North Korean POWs to evaluate the effectiveness of the army’s multibillion-dollar propaganda leafleting campaign. Their conclusions were damning. One assessment found that the military’s psychological warfare and propaganda programs “ranged from the unplanned, … the unorthodox, and all the way to the inept.”13 ORO officials lamented their institution’s lack of behavioral expertise; created to perform operations research, its staff was composed primarily of physicists, mathematicians, and engineers. They recommended that the army make an effort to recruit “properly qualified social psychologists” to devise techniques to destabilize communist regimes in peacetime as well as during hot war.14

Social Science and Special Warfare in the 1950s

The army took this advice to heart. By the mid-1950s, it was apparent that American psychological, cultural, and political shortcomings in Korea were only one (p.14) manifestation of the military’s lack of preparation for the era’s conflicts. As the Cold War drew the United States into regions once peripheral to national security and intellectual interests—Iran in 1953 and the islands of Quemoy and Matsu in 1955 to name only two instances—some national security officials concluded that the attitudes, beliefs, and perceptions of foreign peoples might be as important to the Cold War confrontation as missile silos and regional alliances. The army’s ground forces would bear the brunt of Cold War special operations, an amorphous category of military activity that included psychological and political warfare, guerrilla operations, and counterinsurgency, each of which was often conducted in cooperation with indigenous allies. To mobilize its new, unfamiliar partners and intimidate its seemingly exotic enemies, the army turned to social scientists and area studies experts for help. The Office of the Chief of Psychological Warfare (OCPW) led the charge. Created in 1951 to jump-start psychological operations in the Korean War, OCPW was a unique, autonomous army office that reported directly to the chief of staff. Despite its name, the office was responsible for all aspects of special warfare. Recognizing the military’s deficit in social science and area knowledge after the Korean War, OCPW began looking for “eminent civilian specialists” from elite universities to write fifty-five “special warfare area handbooks”—compilations of area studies information on strategically important countries, from the Soviet satellites to the new nations threatened by communism.15

The army tempered its suspicions of psychological and special warfare by the early 1950s, but overcoming scholars’ disciplinary qualms about national security work proved more challenging. Despite the rhetoric of social science boosters like Bray and Linebarger, many academic social scientists and university administrations were wary of working too closely with the military. As one anthropologist explained, “The academic world lives on free and open interchange of hypotheses and findings,” an activity that government work, particularly work relevant to psychological warfare and special operations, might preclude. Administrators expressed concern that close government ties might endanger universities’ ability to advance knowledge regardless of its utility. It was one thing to tailor scholarship to operational needs in a time of war, but doing so during peacetime might permanently subvert free inquiry.16

Scholars needed to look no farther than Harvard University’s Russian Research Center to substantiate their concerns. In the late 1940s and early 1950s, its staff sought to produce knowledge useful to national security agencies. Funded by the air force, Sovietologists endeavored to create a “conceptual model” of Soviet society—a functionalist description of its social, economic, and political structures—which could be used to shape American foreign and military policy. As historian David Engerman explains, scholars at the center initially “envisioned (p.15) their job as equal parts scholarship and government service.” They believed they could meld their intellectual interests to strategic work, advancing social science while providing the military with predictions about the consequences of the “simultaneous atom-bombing of twenty major cities,” for example. They soon found otherwise. Security and secrecy posed one barrier. Believing that sound intellectual work required an open environment, Harvard University banned classified research contracts. But research with operational implications could not be published openly, so the Russian Research Center was forced to negotiate a second, classified contract to skirt Harvard’s rules. And while the project’s staff viewed themselves as disinterested social scientists, they had to undergo the cumbersome process of gaining security clearances before they could access their research subjects, who included Russian refugees living in West German displaced-persons camps.17

The conflicts between intellectual and military goals hampered the center’s work. As the air force pressed for useful results, such as lists of hard and soft targets that could destabilize the enemy, social scientists feared they were being treated as intelligence gatherers rather than scholars. The center concluded its air force work in 1954 with both parties chastened by the experience. Its outgoing director, Clyde Kluckhohn, encouraged his replacement to focus on “the development of scholars and scholarship.” A 1954 survey of Harvard social science faculty confirmed that the Sovietologists’ experience was not an isolated case. Many Harvard social scientists who had worked with the federal government reported that their sponsors often interfered with study design, methodology, and results. Others explained that they avoided government work for fear it would come with too many strings attached.18

Experiences like these indicated that it would take creative institutional efforts to fuse the scholarly and the martial. Rather than contract with a university for research, as the air force had done, the army’s psychological operations staff turned instead to a quasi-academic institution that had a long history of military service: the Human Relations Area Files. HRAF was an outgrowth of Yale’s Cross-Cultural Survey, founded by anthropologist George Murdock in 1937 to collect and systematize information about “primitive” cultures around the world. The outbreak of World War II proved a boon to Murdock’s outfit. Hoping that the Yale effort could assist the military in its operations in the Pacific, the navy assumed a significant portion of its financial burden during the war. Murdock’s researchers—some of whom served in uniform as members of the Naval Reserve—worked with naval intelligence officers to produce materials designed to help American military governments manage nations liberated from Japanese control. After the war, the armed forces, the CIA, and private philanthropies each contributed to expand the HRAF survey into a massive, systematic (p.16) classification system of cultures around the globe. By 1954, it had grown into a consortium of sixteen academic institutions, many with excellent reputations in the social sciences and area studies.19

HRAF’s institutional structure seemed well suited to OCPW’s needs. In place of direct contracts between the army and individual scholars—a prospect that many area studies researchers found problematic if not downright distasteful—the army negotiated a $3 million contract with HRAF in 1954 for the special warfare handbooks. HRAF then subcontracted individual books to scholars in its consortium. The military and Clellan Ford, the president of HRAF, believed that this system would overcome academics’ reluctance to work with the army by establishing indirect liaisons; the subcontracting system could mobilize social scientists without threatening their sense of academic independence or presenting them with the menacing specter of professional and intellectual militarization.20

A year into the contract, HRAF officials argued that the system was a resounding success. In a letter to army officials, its contract manager enthused, “I cannot state too emphatically that in every case I’ve encountered there is a general reluctance at every stage” among academics to take on army contracts for special warfare handbooks. However, “once I make it quite clear that the subcontract is with HRAF and not directly with the Army, they are more likely to consider a subcontract. HRAF’s position as a buffer between the academic and the government worlds is, in my opinion, a major contribution toward getting the academic specialists to work on government problems.”21

In reality, the situation was not quite so rosy. The handbook program merged scholarly and military goals incompletely at best. Between each party’s narrow field of interest in area studies lay a chasm. The bounty that HRAF anticipated accruing from the army contract (in addition to its annual $50,000 overhead fee) was largely academic. Ford and his colleagues thought that handbook contracts offered area studies scholars the opportunity to evaluate the state of knowledge in their fields, take stock of “the free world’s research resources,” and translate esoteric foreign texts “hitherto barred from most Americans.” Ford also reported that HRAF planned to use the subcontracts to fund graduate students, thus “increasing our reservoir of persons with some intimate and critical area knowledge.”22 The army’s psychological warfare office, however, had no interest in advancing area studies. Rather, psychological warfare officials sought to understand “the intellectual and emotional character of strategically important peoples,” knowledge that would help “field commanders to communicate with target groups in a way that will influence target group thoughts and actions.”23

The army’s intentions were not obscure. The contracts were, after all, for volumes officially titled Special Warfare Area Handbook; they were unmistakably (p.17) military products. The army did not seek generalized compilations of area studies knowledge. Even though each handbook included sections on the history, geography, ethnic groups, and political structure of a nation, OCPW officials insisted that all information be carefully tailored to special warfare considerations. To this end, it issued a template to which each handbook was to conform. A chapter on public information, for example, should describe which media—whether newspapers, radio, or word-of-mouth communication—most effectively reached target audiences in each nation. Likewise, a chapter on “Attitudes and Reactions of the People” assessed each nation’s level of modernization and included lists of symbols that inhabitants found particularly meaningful. And a chapter on “Subversive Potentialities” assessed the probability and possible sources of internal unrest and revolution.24

That the army’s special warfare officials thought elite area studies scholars were the best reservoirs of information about psychological warfare and communist insurrection—and that HRAF officials could construe writing special warfare handbooks as scholarship—indicates how unclear the boundary between civilian and military matters was in the early Cold War. But the army’s special warfare officers soon modified their relationship to scholarly experts. In 1958, the special warfare office allowed its contract with HRAF to expire. It handed the task of producing special warfare area handbooks over to a new institution. Its name, the Washington Area Human Relations Area Files branch, was cumbersome, but its organization was elegantly streamlined. The army had created the Washington branch in 1955 to conduct the classified research necessary to produce the final section of the handbooks, which described the military organization and strength of the nation under question. Its staff was housed on American University’s campus in Washington, D.C., in proximity to the State Department, the Pentagon, and intelligence agencies, whose files the army’s security-cleared researchers combed for the most up-to-date information. The Washington office was as successful as HRAF was disappointing. To ensure that handbooks conformed to army needs but also reflected social scientific expertise, writers worked in teams of five: three social scientists, one retired military specialist with a background in psychological or special warfare, and one professional writer whose job it was to convert social scientists’ prose into “less technical social science jargon” accessible to “the educated layman.” These teams churned out classified addenda to the handbooks, producing many ahead of schedule; by contrast, as of 1957, university researchers working on subcontract with HRAF had yet to deliver a product on time.25 When the HRAF contract expired, the Washington branch took on the task of writing entire handbooks.

The Washington branch bore the imprint of the military far more visibly than did the HRAF system. This, in fact, contributed to its success. The army found the (p.18) lesson of the HRAF experience unambiguous. By subcontracting, it had enticed academics into its orbit, but the results failed to fulfill military requirements. Buffers were counterproductive; “eminent civilian specialists” were too hard to militarize. It was more efficient and productive to create one’s own research institution, one designed to commingle social science with military expertise. The calibration of balance between military and academic culture and influence was crucial. The army did not place the handbook program on a university campus cynically. They believed that in order to be useful to soldiers and military planners, handbooks had to be hybrid products, part social-scientific and part military. And the arrangement seemed to work. By the early 1960s, military officials regularly pronounced the special warfare handbooks the “bread and butter” of the army’s social science program. American University officials were pleased as well. As the university’s president, Hurst R. Anderson, wrote to the head of the handbook unit, “Everywhere I go I find the Area Handbooks recognized and well regarded, and am glad to see the University’s name on them.”26

The Gray Area’s Anti-Statist Roots

The Special Warfare Area Handbook series was guided by the conviction that knowledge about the attitudes, beliefs, and perceptions of people on the geopolitical periphery was crucial to winning the Cold War, or at least to containing communism. But military officials and social scientists worried that area studies knowledge was too feeble a compass to navigate the overwhelming complexity of Cold War geopolitics in an era of rapid decolonization. The handbooks alone could be overwhelming, revealing a dizzying variety of peoples, cultures, and political systems Americans might encounter abroad. Global events punctuated that complexity. The handbook program got under way as representatives from twenty-nine unaligned Asian and African nations gathered at the Asian-African conference in Bandung, Indonesia, to chart their futures. While conference participants sought a course independent from American and Soviet hegemony, Americans interpreted the conference as a sign that 1.5 billion people might be drifting leftward. With so many hearts and minds up for grabs, psychologist and longtime military adviser Leonard Doob argued, the government required something less unwieldy than a catalog of the “likes and dislikes, attitudes, emotional and intellectual characteristics” of peoples from various nations, tribes, and ethnicities. Rather, he argued, the military needed to invest in behavioral science, which would reveal the “basic concepts involved … any place in the world because everywhere there are human beings.”27 Why get bogged down in knowing (p.19) and influencing individual nations if one could know and influence humans the world round?

Anthropologist Catherine Lutz has argued that the armed forces drove the militarization of American relations with the third world during the Cold War. But Doob’s comments indicate that the behavioral scientific project was also an engine of militarization. Many civilian behavioral scientists actively—although not necessarily consciously—pursued the militarization of American foreign relations, for it resonated with their professional and intellectual interests. Influential social scientists in the early Cold War believed that they were nearing the discovery of a theory of human behavior that was applicable across time and space. Drawing on universal principles, they would eventually be able to explain any human activity, whether the behavior in question took place at a polling station in New York City or in a guerrilla conflict in rural Indonesia. This conviction was well suited to national security concerns. Doob argued that researchers armed with the laws of communication could help psy warriors successfully persuade foreign populations to embrace American values—perhaps without firing a shot. Likewise, social scientists claimed that they could help the military manage the third world’s transition to capitalist modernity by untangling the complex relationships between political stability, economic development, and psychological satisfaction that drove modernization. And, they argued, they could vanquish communist-directed insurgencies by revealing the social and political dynamics of “internal warfare”—the popular social-scientific term for revolution. If the state could support the quest for universal social laws, perhaps behavioral science could win the Cold War by suggesting scientifically derived strategic principles applicable to the national security state’s Cold War efforts around the world.28

Few members of the armed forces were convinced that Cold War victory lay principally in social research about special operations and unconventional warfare. But they had other motivations, including the instinct for self-preservation, that led them to embrace both behavioral science and unconventional warfare. By the mid-1950s, the army brass worried that President Eisenhower’s New Look policies, which privileged nuclear weapons and downsized conventional forces, threatened the service’s future. The president argued that the policy would contain the escalating costs of American national security. Invoking Harold Lasswell, he warned that if the army’s size increased further, “we might just as well stop any further talk about preserving a sound U.S. economy and proceed to transform ourselves forthwith into a garrison state.” Compared to conventional forces, nuclear stockpiles were thought to be cheap, but Eisenhower’s policies, which slashed the number of army divisions from twenty-one to fourteen, threatened to reduce the army’s relevance and status.29

(p.20) Eisenhower had offered the New Look to contain military spending. His critics, on the other hand, argued that because the policy was strategically unbalanced, it threatened to make war more likely and more destructive. While pursuing tactical nuclear capabilities, army heroes like Matthew Ridgway and Maxwell Taylor also argued that, rather than nuclear confrontations between the superpowers, future conflicts might be limited wars—low-level, nonnuclear engagements that could arise anywhere in the world but would most likely surface in the third world. Such wars, they insisted, would require ground forces equipped with enhanced special warfare capabilities, including the kinds of tools social science offered. This approach allowed them to contain the threat of militarization, but it was an approach different from Eisenhower’s. By keeping conflicts limited, they argued, they could extinguish postcolonial “brushfires” before they led to full-scale war.30

SORO emerged out of these competing visions, each of which was designed to contain militarization. Although army officials were not so naïve as to take behavioral scientists’ promises at face value, they were lured by the explanatory potential of social knowledge. Hoping that prescriptions for action might emerge from social knowledge, the army’s OCPW opened the Special Operations Research Office (SORO) in 1956 and charged it with supporting and clarifying the service’s psychological and unconventional warfare mission. The army instructed SORO’s staff—a motley of political scientists, social psychologists, sociologists, anthropologists, and area studies experts—to conduct research that provided “commanders and staff agencies … with scientific bases for decision and action.” In past conflicts, the military could rely on experience to formulate doctrine and strategy. But if all previous American military experience was irrelevant to the age of revolutionary warfare, perhaps experts in social change could help the army formulate that crucial body of knowledge. SORO’s researchers took to calling themselves Sorons, with a heavy dose of good humored self-deprecation, motivated by their sense of the enormity of the task they faced. The free world, after all, might rest in the balance.31

The research office started small. By 1957, its staff numbered a meager twenty-one researchers, and its budget totaled only $225,000. But it grew steadily in the early 1960s under a president who shared army officials’ faith in the potential of special warfare. After winning the election in part by blaming the Republicans for creating what was in fact a fictional missile gap, John F. Kennedy turned his attention to the military’s counterinsurgency gap. Kennedy’s advisers worried that the Soviet Union had “many years of experience with the techniques of subversion and insurgency,” and Nikita Khrushchev’s 1961 declaration that he would provide unswerving support for so-called “wars of national liberation” seemed to confirm their fears; the Soviets, they warned, possessed (p.21) “a comprehensive, tested doctrine for conquest from within.”32 To meet the communist challenge, the president doubled the army’s Special Forces numbers, elevated their status in the army, and increased the military’s counterinsurgency budget by hundreds of millions of dollars. At the same time, Kennedy’s national security team expanded the list of trouble spots from three—Laos, South Vietnam, and Thailand—to nearly a dozen, including Burma, Iran, the Cameroons, Guatemala, and Venezuela. SORO benefited. By 1966, it boasted over one hundred researchers and a budget well over $2 million. Its research reports became a staple of counterinsurgency training at the Special Forces’ headquarters at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.33

The army intended the research office to be a hybrid institution, one that melded behavioral scientific expertise with operational practicality. SORO embodied the conviction shared fervently among a number of social scientists and soldiers that the Cold War necessitated seamless cooperation—not only between civilian and military experts, but also between public and private institutions. The army accordingly sought to establish a middle ground between academic social science, which the HRAF experience had taught was often too scholarly to be of immediate use, and programmed research performed by in-house scientists, which often lacked the flexibility, intellectual creativity, and highly trained research personnel that winning hearts and minds required. Accordingly, the psychological warfare office designed SORO as a Federal Contract Research Center. FCRCs grew out of World War II weapons and operations research projects; MIT’s Rad Lab, which mobilized academic scientists to work on government-funded national security projects like the development of radar, was an early inspiration. Developed to fulfill the state’s urgent need for original, high-quality research, FCRCs were fully funded by the government, but institutionally private and staffed by civilian scientists. Some FCRCs, like the air force’s RAND Corporation, operated as autonomous private institutes. Others, including SORO, were managed by universities. Although legally autonomous, SORO was located on the grounds of American University, which operated the facility under an exclusive contract with the army.34

Pentagon officials touted FCRCs as the ideal solution to the peculiar challenges of mission agency research. They were thought to be superior to university research contracts, which often failed to produce results of sufficient operational relevance, and to in-house research laboratories. Because FCRC researchers were not technically employees of their sponsoring agency, they were thought to be more objective than in-house researchers who, by virtue of their close relationship to their sponsoring agency, might rubber-stamp ineffective policies and plans. According to this logic, SORO’s researchers would have no qualms about challenging the army’s outdated approaches to the technically complex challenge (p.22) of special warfare. And the army’s doctrine desperately needed updating. Army officials waxed eloquent about the importance of special warfare to winning hearts and minds in the third world, but their doctrine was still steeped in the experience of World War II, in which special warfare was synonymous with supporting Eastern European partisan movements.35

Despite their ability to question their sponsoring agencies’ approaches, FCRC staff were also thought to be more likely than university-based researchers to provide operationally relevant products. Because FCRC employees worked solely for their sponsoring agency, they were intimately familiar with and invested in its mission. SORO, for example, had no purpose unless it embraced the logic of battling for hearts and minds. And FCRCs boasted further benefits over universities. Because they were problem oriented and interdisciplinary, they were freed of the disciplinary inflexibilities of traditional academic departments. They also offered longevity. Unlike short-term contract research projects, which assembled temporary teams of experts, FCRCs maintained a permanent pool of expertise geared toward the operational requirements of their sponsors.36

To SORO’s creators, FCRCs seemed well equipped to nurture the remarkably hybrid expertise that winning hearts and minds would require. Federal Contract Research Centers were known by the late 1950s as havens for retired military men; many of them, including SORO for a time, were directed by retired officers. Furthermore, retired psychological warfare and intelligence experts were regular fixtures on SORO’s staff. Between 1956 and 1969, the research office was home to fifteen retired career military officers whose ranks ranged from lieutenant colonel to brigadier general. They came to the research office with hands-on experience in psychological operations, guerrilla warfare, and other aspects of “politico-military affairs.” Their expertise and careers indicate the social scientific status accorded to those with appropriate military experience in the 1950s and early 1960s. Lieutenant Colonel Hartley Dame joined SORO in 1964 after serving twenty-five years in the army. Although he had no training in the social sciences, his extensive experience warranted his hiring as a senior research scientist. Dame spoke seven languages, had served with the American forces in Berlin after World War II, was a member of the elite Diplomatic Corps, and had been a military attaché to the American embassy in Turkey. He was awarded the Legion of Merit for building and administering the Koje-do prisoner-of-war camp during the Korean War. SORO suited him. Over the course of six years, he coauthored at least eight research reports on politics and culture—not in Europe or Asia, despite his long experience there—but in Latin America. Dame also pursued a master’s degree at American University in political science while working at SORO.37

(p.23) Dame and his fellow officers worked side by side with trained civilian social scientists, many of whom had military or intelligence experience. Nearly half of SORO’s civilian staff had spent time in the military or worked for national security agencies during World War II or the Korean War. They brought their experience with special warfare to the research office. Asianist and Harvard PhD Norman Jacobs had been stationed in the Philippines with an army intelligence unit during World War II. After the war, he served as an economist for the American occupation forces in Tokyo. At SORO, he specialized in cross-cultural communications with Chinese communists. His colleague political scientist William E. Daugherty spent the first half of World War II analyzing Asian propaganda programs for the Department of Justice before enlisting in the marines as a psychological warfare and intelligence officer, specializing in Japan.38 For these men, working in the gray area provided a natural opportunity to meld their national security experience and scholarly interests.

SORO was one site in a rapidly expanding landscape of federally funded research. By 1962, the federal government ran sixty-six FCRCs, forty-three of which were funded by the Pentagon. A sizable social science community thrived in these institutions. Much of the government’s investment in social research—particularly research related to Cold War strategy—took place in the Defense Department’s quasi-civilian FCRCs. By the end of the 1950s, each of the armed services had its own social science research organization. The army, not typically considered a research innovator, maintained two social science FCRCs alongside SORO. The Operations Research Office, renamed the Research Analysis Corporation in 1961, was founded in 1948 in collaboration with the Johns Hopkins University. Its staff assessed field operations, psychological warfare, and bombing tactics during the Korean War. Those efforts earned 113 of its researchers the United Nation’s Korean Service Medal. After the war, ORO researchers busied themselves with strategic studies of military aid programs and other operations research projects. The army’s Human Resources Research Office (HumRRO), created in 1951 with the cooperation of George Washington University, employed military psychologists who conducted studies of human performance, leadership, motivation, and man-machine systems.39

These research sites were central nodes in the growing scholarly and bureaucratic gray area—an informal network of institutions poised productively, yet also uncomfortably, between academia and the state. The gray area was a physical, institutional space where scholars worked on military problems, and even with military officials. It was also a cultural and intellectual space where military and scholarly worldviews, conventions, and ideas met, clashed, and merged. This landscape encompassed FCRCs like SORO, RAND, and the Institute for Defense (p.24) Analyses, founded in 1956 to perform strategic analysis for the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Pentagon. It also included private, nonprofit research institutions like the Hudson Institute, established in 1961 by former RAND nuclear strategist Herman Kahn. And it encompassed for-profit research corporations like Ithiel de Sola Pool’s Simulmatics Corporation, which took advantage of the national security state’s largesse to send Pool’s graduate students to Vietnam, where they completed their doctoral work while investigating counterinsurgency techniques for the Pentagon.40

As the incubator of the military-industrial-academic complex, the gray area brought the promises and perils of Cold War militarization into high relief. As Michael S. Sherry explains, Americans were willing to meld military and civilian institutions and values because they believed that “in an age of instant and total warfare, the vigilant nation must be constantly prepared.” This conviction animated Sorons and their colleagues at RAND, Hudson, and Simulmatics. But their projects came with political and psychic costs, for they were part of the broader Cold War mobilization many Americans worried could expand the size and power of the state itself. If protecting national security required growing the state, a phenomenon that seemed unavoidable in the anxious climate of the 1950s and early 1960s, then a secure America could become a statist America. Many Americans—Sorons included—worried that the pursuit of national security might counterintuitively threaten the very democracy the national security state sought to protect, by allowing government intrusion into intellectual life and private institutions.41

Contracting seemed to offer protection against statism. As political scientist Aaron Friedberg argues, federal legislation encouraged the practice in the 1950s and 1960s. Convinced that private research institutions were more efficient, more innovative, and more in line with American political and economic values than publicly managed ones, Congress imposed salary caps on government scientists, limited the number of civil service positions, and slowed federal facility construction, all in an effort to encourage the state to invest in the private sector. Policymakers’ fears of the negative consequences of militarization encouraged the gray area’s growth. Over the course of the 1950s and 1960s, research contracting spread dramatically as investment in atomic research, space science, and social knowledge intensified. The number of federal contract research centers tripled between 1951 and 1967; funding for them skyrocketed, from $122 million to $1.16 billion.42 Most federal officials endorsed this development. As one 1962 assessment concluded, contracting with the private sector offered “the largest opportunity for initiative and the competition of ideas” while stimulating “the long-term strength of the Nation’s scientific resources.”43 Contracting seemed to foster a private, decentralized research sector that circumvented the dangers of (p.25) state growth and created institutions that were attuned, but not beholden, to the needs of American national security.

Although the notion that FCRCs were private was illusory, it shaped Sorons’ professional identities. They did not consider themselves military employees. Their university environment made their mission seem more scholarly than martial. Although all of SORO’s operating funds, including researchers’ salaries, came from the army, when Sorons published their research in academic journals or attended conferences they identified themselves as employees of American University. SORO attracted social scientists eager to apply their expertise to problems of national security but disinclined to join in-house military research laboratories, where the pay was less and prestige was lower. SORO’s researchers were, in fact, better paid than AU’s tenured faculty. A senior staff scientist, for example, reaped approximately $23,000, compared to the less than $13,000 earned by the average full-time tenured faculty member.44 While federal funding for social science generally lagged far behind that for the physical sciences, SORO offered social scientists the opportunity to pursue research for rather generous pay.

SORO arose amid a tangled web. National security seemed to dictate military vigilance and preparedness; but preparedness also threatened to turn the nation into a garrison state. Caught in this contradiction, SORO’s architects designed the research office in a way that they hoped would protect democracy at home while providing the military the knowledge to project it abroad. For civilians and military officials alike, research contracting appeared to insulate scholarship from undue military interference. Sorons and their champions anticipated that tremendous intellectual, economic, and national benefits could flow from scholars’ arms-length alliance with the military.

Civilian Engines of Military Control

Social scientists and their military patrons were not the only groups who fostered the militarization of American social science. University administrations and Congress also strengthened the close relationship between the military and scholars. At American University, administrators actively encouraged SORO’s militarization. More ironically, Congress, which had sought to contain the growth of the national security state by encouraging the creation of public-private research partnerships, would bear significant responsibility for the heavy hand the military exercised over its social researchers. Unlike American University, it would do so rather unwittingly. But the result was the same. Civilian institutions did much to allow and encourage the military to exercise tight control over its social researchers.

(p.26) By accepting SORO onto its campus in 1956, American University joined the ranks of dozens of middling institutions that used national security funds in an effort to catapult themselves into the intellectual elite. Defense funding was a particularly attractive commodity for AU, which by the early 1950s was far from competitive with its peer institutions; it had twice lost its accreditation and was suffering from tight budgets and a deteriorating physical plant. The university took SORO on with zeal; unlike short-term research contracts, FCRCs offered a potentially permanent source of lucrative overhead payments. In its early years, SORO earned the university $54,000 annually; by 1967, that number topped a quarter of a million dollars. In exchange, the university provided office space for researchers, but gave the army nearly free rein over its daily operations and research. The arrangement benefited the army by enabling it to attract social scientists unwilling to work for in-house military research facilities. The university benefited as well. AU was far from a powerhouse in social research before taking SORO on; until 1950, it had no psychology department and no reputation to speak of in any of the social sciences. By 1966, owing principally to SORO’s presence, it ranked among the top ten universities contributing to federally funded social research.45

American University’s militarization did not begin with SORO, nor with the Washington branch which preceded it and was absorbed into the research office. The campus boasted a long history of service to American national security. During World War I, the university loaned its ninety acres to the War Department, transforming the ivory tower into Camp Leach. Its small student population was ousted from its classrooms—students attended classes in their professors’ homes—as the War Department installed barracks and trained over one hundred thousand troops. The centerpiece of Camp Leach was its contribution to the chemists’ war: at the American University Experiment Station, a staff of over two thousand researchers developed and tested mustard gas and ricin. AU continued its tradition of service during World War II, loaning its grounds once more to the military. Students were again displaced as the campus converted itself to wartime efforts, including housing navy WAVES.46 While American University did not contribute to the physicists’ war in any meaningful intellectual capacity, SORO gave it the opportunity to make a difference to the social scientists’ war, and to reap the institutional, intellectual, and financial benefits of militarization.

Yet American University officials were somewhat ambivalent about the pursuit of national security. Instead, they framed their institution’s participation in the processes of militarization as a commitment to intellectual internationalism. American University’s president Hurst Anderson embraced SORO as part of his broader educational vision. A self-proclaimed devotee of “international learning” owing to his family’s longtime dedication to Christian mission (p.27) efforts—Anderson was a Methodist bishop—he fervently believed that education could foster international peace. He defined worthwhile intellectual work as that which prepared men “to live and work in the complex world of many cultures and national aspirations.” In the context of the Cold War, such a conviction translated seamlessly into militarized social research, but the rhetoric of internationalism masked the elision. A few months after SORO was opened, Anderson’s institution took further steps to pursue his vision by inaugurating the School of International Service. Just as SORO was intended to give soldiers some of the qualities of statesmen, the School of International Service was designed to cultivate a new breed of policymaker and diplomat who combined expertise in international affairs with area studies. While SORO toiled by design in relative obscurity, the School of International Studies earned the endorsement of none other than President Eisenhower, who remarked at the school’s inauguration ceremony that “the waging of peace demands the best we have.”47

Anderson’s educational philosophy was suited to the nation’s hybrid Cold War mission in more ways than one. He abhorred knowledge pursued for its own sake. In his self-published memoirs, he devoted more than a passing comment to complaining about faculty who placed their scholarly interests, which he called “personal intellectual hobbies,” above their pedagogical and public responsibilities. No one could accuse Sorons of toiling in pure research. He also had the right politics for a man at the helm of a militarizing university during the Cold War. He openly boasted that he had no qualms about firing suspected communists who made their way onto AU’s faculty. Nor did he worry that an alliance with the army might corrupt his university’s intellectual or educational mission.48 While university administrators occasionally complained in private that the army treated SORO as if it were “merely a Pentagon office located elsewhere,” publicly Anderson framed SORO as one of his institution’s central efforts to mobilize education for global peace.49

Congress, by contrast, was as suspicious of social research as American University was enthusiastic. Social scientists, particularly those working on the sensitive subjects of communism and revolution, had few allies on Capitol Hill in the 1950s and early 1960s. Instead, viewing social research as wasteful and useless, legislators subjected it to repeated ridicule. In 1953, the air force’s Human Resources Research Institute—the sponsor of Harvard’s study of the Soviet social system—came under sustained attack when a congressional subcommittee labeled it an example of the air force’s profligate research spending. The State Department, which claimed to be engaged in a similar research study, joined in the attack. Within a year, the Human Resources Research Institute was forced to close its doors, even though the Harvard study yielded over three dozen military reports and scholarly publications describing the social and psychological (p.28) strengths and weaknesses of the Soviet Union.50 This process was repeated almost annually as congressmen recited lists of government-sponsored social research studies and determined on the grounds of their titles alone that they were wasteful. Names like “Area Analysis of Afghanistan with Illustrations” and “Communism in India” led one committee to conclude that “much of the information to be compiled is already available.”51

Because the military relied on congressional appropriations to fund its research programs, it began implementing techniques to avoid Capitol Hill’s scrutiny. Psychologist and psychological warfare expert Leonard Cottrell insisted that the problem was so bad that the nation’s enemies might well exploit it. He joked, “I wonder if the Russians have noted in their psychological warfare handbooks that a proper use of words like ‘congressional investigation’ can almost certainly unnerve and immobilize certain parts of our military structure.” Russian propaganda notwithstanding, congressional attacks on military-funded social research programs had consequences at SORO, even informing the institution’s name. In early 1956, after two months of careful thought, the psychological warfare office announced that it had decided to name the new agency the “Psychological and Guerrilla Warfare Research Office,” or PSYGRO for short. But three days after American University and the army executed the PSYGRO contract, the army announced that the name would have to be changed. According to NATO and army rules, security concerns precluded military officials from mentioning guerrilla warfare. For the trained psychological warrior, however, there was a more important reason for renaming the fledgling institution. One official pointed out in a classified memo that the research agency might also be subjected to ridicule should anyone “twist the name” to associate PSYGRO with Vigoro, a common fertilizer. Even a psyops novice could recognize the problem with another suggested name, the Bureau of Special Operations, or BOSO. Although who might take advantage of the research office’s name was left unstated—after all, it was anyone’s guess if the Russians or Congress would discover it first—the committee settled on the more benign SORO.52

On its face, SORO’s name was of minor consequence, but it was in fact one part of a larger effort on the part of the military and social scientists to avoid public scrutiny. Congressional distrust of social science also led the military to encourage its researchers to embrace secrecy. Experts on Soviet and Asian politics and culture were seen in Washington not as useful reservoirs of national security information, but as security risks, for their research required that they read subversive literature and interact with current and former communists. That suspicion was a source of unwelcome scrutiny. In 1953, a congressional investigation into foundation-supported social science singled out studies conducted (p.29) at Harvard’s Russian Research Center as security risks. Members of Congress insisted that research into communism should not receive research funding—whether private or public—unless all researchers were carefully screened. SORO’s army handlers took this entreaty to heart. Every Soron, from the lowliest administrative assistant to the most senior researcher, underwent full security screenings by the Defense Department and the FBI—at the very least, employees had to have “secret” clearance—and signed a statement asserting that they were not affiliated with any institution on the U.S. attorney general’s extensive roster of ostensibly communist and front organizations. The same held true for researchers at RAND, ORO, and other institutes. Owing in part to congressional fears, social scientists in the gray area learned the habits of secrecy. They became accustomed to checking out their research materials from document-control offices, storing their work in special safes, and reading and publishing carefully guarded classified reports.53 Congressional scrutiny had the unintended consequence of enhancing the culture of secrecy in the military-industrial-academic complex.

Not all congressional actions that fostered militarization were unintentional. Elected officials also had the habit of attacking social research for being insufficiently militaristic. In 1958, an outraged Senator Richard Russell called on Congress to ban the public funding of “defeatist” social research. The target of the Georgia Democrat’s wrath was Strategic Surrender, a study conducted by RAND’s Paul Kecskemeti that explored post–World War II cases of military surrender. Russell objected that the study was designed to discover “when and how or in what circumstances the Government of the United States should surrender this country and its people” to the communists. Although a senator who had read the Kecskemeti study informed Russell that nowhere did the text recommend American surrender, Russell and his supporters insisted that such research only “weaken[ed] the determination and will of the American people to make the sacrifices” that nuclear war required.54 Social science, Russell seemed to imply, was not becoming dangerously militarized by its association with the military. Rather, it was weakening American national security. Minnesota Republican Edward Thye concurred, reporting that he was “as shocked as anyone could be” when he learned of the project, “because this Nation is not contemplating surrendering to anyone. We never have.” Republican Senator Styles Bridges suggested that the amendment require that every researcher who studied surrender be fired, as well as any bureaucrat in the Defense and State Departments who allowed such research to proceed. He charged that communists were behind the study; whoever allowed Strategic Surrender to go forward, he raged, was employing “the typical Communist technique of working from within [the American government] in (p.30) order to brainwash our people, pave the way for appeasement, soften us up, and then destroy us.” Russell’s amendment banning “defeatist” research passed easily, although Bridges’s suggestions were not included.55

The congressional stance toward military-funded social research was nothing if not ambivalent. When congressional officials endorsed research contracting, they seemed to share Americans’ broader concerns that the Cold War might create a garrison state at home. But many elected officials in the 1950s and early 1960s were more concerned about communist subversion and other threats to American national security than they were about the threat of Washington’s militarization. Regardless, the climate of suspicion legitimated the military’s careful control of its social research programs at the same time that Congress tried to contain the growth of the national security state. Cognizant that “a military social science research program will receive long-term support only if it emphasizes the conduct of research and refrains from journalistic comments on world affairs,” SORO’s military supervisors insisted that researchers avoid becoming embroiled “in debates on social philosophy or engaged in political commentary.”56

The prospect of congressional scrutiny justified the army’s heavy-handed control over SORO’s research planning. Its “work program,” which was generated annually, was the result of extensive negotiations between SORO, its patrons, and other interested parties in the Defense Department. Each fall, SORO’s army supervisors carried out what they called a “dragnet.” They sent short descriptions of SORO’s proposed research projects throughout the service. The various commands ranked their interest in each task, and if they felt that the proposals did not meet their needs adequately, they proposed their own studies. Armed with this feedback, SORO’s staff redesigned and refined their work program. In an activity that resembled an advertising pitch, SORO’s leadership then spent an hour attempting to convince their patrons of the relevance and viability of their plans. Army officials then met without Sorons to finalize SORO’s research projects. In its early years, the army even suggested the appropriate methodological approach, which military officials called the “method of attack,” for each study. The whole process ended nine months after it began, when SORO’s patrons notified their researchers which projects the army would fund. Only then could research begin. Ongoing projects were subject to the same process and could be suspended at any time.57

The army endorsed this time-consuming, top-down method as instrumental to keeping researchers responsive to military needs. But Sorons and the military found it difficult to identify the point at which SORO’s work was sufficiently, but not too, operationally relevant. In 1960, researchers proposed “Task Target,” a study designed to identify social psychological tools that would make it easier for the army to communicate with foreign anticommunist guerrilla forces (p.31) receiving military support from the United States. Sorons viewed the project as an investigation of cross-cultural communication in Cold War environments, but the army deemed it “not militarily useful.” The project was canceled in 1961. Yet the army also rejected studies on the grounds that they were too militaristic. In June 1957, SORO forwarded a final plan for “Task SUPO” to the psychological warfare office. Shorthand for Determination of Subversive Potential of Specific Social Groups in the Enemy Territory, SUPO promised to identify Soviet social groups that might be opposed to the Soviet government, uncover their political, cultural, and psychological needs, and design programs to encourage them to destabilize the regime. For social scientists, the study was a classic application of theories of persuasion and communication to the communist threat. But while the army pronounced the project “sound in concept,” it concluded that the study strayed too far into the realm of “operational” work. Psychological warfare officials rejected it.58

The gray area was shot through with the institutional and bureaucratic consequences of American ambivalence about militarization. American University embraced national security problems, allowing military needs to influence its institutional configuration and its educational mission. But it did so largely under the aegis of intellectual internationalism. Congress was even more conflicted. Yet it did more than AU to encourage the militarization of research and the culture of secrecy in the gray area. Congressional scrutiny—whether designed to weed out communist subversives or rein in defense spending—encouraged SORO’s managers to be hypervigilant.

Hiding Empire

Yet Sorons did not frequently lament the militarization of their research or their careers. Their professional, intellectual, and personal interests were frequently well served by their alliance with the national security state. Even though they were subject to what could become intrusive military oversight, they viewed themselves as restraining militarization; their knowledge, they argued, could render the military a more pacifistic organization. Social science could turn war into peace. By constructing these narratives of civilianization, social scientists hid the negative consequences of the American embrace of national security, even from themselves. They also helped construct the prevalent American Cold War narrative. By shielding the expansion of American power behind the language of scientific expertise, social scientists helped ease themselves and their fellow Americans into their Cold War role. They helped protect Americans’ exceptionalist sense of their nation’s identity and mission.

(p.32) Cold War social scientists believed that their research was intellectually innovative. As MIT modernization theorist Lucian Pye explained to an audience of scholars and military officials, the problems of counterinsurgency were fundamentally indistinguishable from exciting questions of modern social and political development. He explained to those in uniform, “the range of problems which you now identify as counterinsurgency” were all subsumed underneath one crucial social scientific problem: “how to build the most complex of all social institutions …: the modern nation-state.” Likewise, Princeton’s Harry Eckstein explained, because violent revolution was at its most basic a form of social and political change, scholarly studies of national upheaval yielded insights central to the rapidly growing fields of political, social, and economic development.59 By this line of reasoning, SORO’s work—investigations of the causes of internal revolution, the mechanisms of persuasion, and the structures of communist guerrilla cells, to name only a few—could be crucial to the larger behavioral scientific goal of determining the universal laws of human and social behavior. The research office, by this logic, was on the vanguard of scholarship.

In this context, the Pentagon’s requirement that researchers make use of military and intelligence files, and the onerous system of security clearances and classification that went with it, was not a dangerous signal that national security concerns seeped into scholarship and subverted academic freedom. Rather, it was an opportunity. The researchers’ work afforded them access to sources unavailable to academic social scientists. Most of SORO’s research projects required them to mine classified government intelligence files and military records for information. Their work often remained classified as a result, keeping researchers from gaining public credit for their toil. But for many, that was a fair trade-off for access to the most up-to-date sources on international politics in the Cold War. Indeed, even some university scholars took on private government contracts precisely for these benefits. One Harvard social scientist reported that his access to classified materials benefited his research: “I find that I get intelligence work of the highest order in the reports we have [from the government]…. I participate in the preparation of all kinds of reports there [in the government office], and I have access to materials that I otherwise wouldn’t get.” Another cited his work for the government as “indispensable to a man working in my field.”60 Secrecy could be a boon to scholarship.

The government’s researchers understood themselves as the beneficiaries of rich, untapped sources and sites of knowledge that improved their research. Irwin Altman, a psychologist and head of psychological warfare research at SORO, argued that most academic research in psychology suffered from a major methodological shortcoming: it was typically performed on college students in laboratory environments. As such it was oversimplified, sanitized, and almost (p.33) irrelevant. SORO, on the other hand, offered access to real-world subjects; it brought researchers face to face with the men and women living on the front lines of the global Cold War. Psychologist Ray Hackman, a seasoned veteran of Pentagon-funded research—he had worked with the Office of Naval Research, ORO, the Systems Development Corporation, and the private, for-profit Psychological Research Associates over the course of the 1950s—concurred. In the pages of Scientific Monthly, he disparaged university researchers as cowards and extolled his colleagues as brave risk takers. So-called “pure” research, he argued, was in fact research of little consequence. Scholars of real-world problems, by contrast, tackled important and exciting scientific challenges, unpacking the complicated causal forces at work in multivariate social systems.61

For Sorons, the Cold War rendered the tired distinctions between pure and applied science as obsolete as those of war and peace or martial and civilian. SORO’s mission reflected a faith that the subjects of social research and military operations were closely connected, perhaps even indistinguishable. Research could benefit academic social science, the military, and the free world. While some of SORO’s research resulted in modest area studies reports with titles like “An Ethnographic Summary of the Ethiopian Provinces of Harar and Sidamo,” and others led to annotated bibliographies of counterinsurgency scholarship, researchers aspired to produce social systems models and generalizable theories of social change that would enhance both military strategy and social scientific knowledge. Even projects that sounded heavily militarized were thought to generate new insights about and methodological approaches to social scientific problems. For example, SORO designed Project Propaganda Infiltration, or Propin for short, to develop counterpropaganda techniques. But Propin researchers argued that this effort also yielded breakthroughs in knowledge about the relationship between communication and attitude change among nonliterate populations. Propin researchers grounded their research in Elihu Katz’s and Paul Lazarsfeld’s “two-step flow” theory of communications, which stipulated that rather than flowing directly from the media to the audience, information was mediated by opinion leaders and other “key communicators.” The Propin research team, aided by indigenous social scientists and graduate students in Thailand, administered communications questionnaires that sought to identify key communicators, their favored media, and the audiences with whom they communicated. While the military publication resulting from the study indicated which audiences and media psy warriors could target to greatest effect, Sorons argued in the academic literature that the study was a methodological breakthrough that demonstrated that rigorous sampling and mass interviewing could be brought to bear on research in the developing world.62

(p.34) Thus projects with far-reaching military implications could yield insights relevant to scholarship. Project Revolt, initiated in 1960, was designed to help the army anticipate and prevent communist revolutions around the globe. If successful, it could give the army a blueprint for stabilizing friendly nations in the third world, circumventing violence while containing communism. Predicting violent social change required Sorons to identify the underlying social, political, economic, and psychological factors that sparked revolution. To this end, they compiled historical case studies of revolutions to test a variety of popular theories, including the hypotheses that marginalized, economically powerful intellectuals played key roles in instigating revolutions, and that a growing middle class militated against revolution. They also investigated the kinds of countermeasures—from military aid to martial law—that counterinsurgency forces could deploy to contain violence. In the pages of the peer-reviewed journal Rural Sociology, Soron Ritchie P. Lowry explained the seamless intellectual relationship between his field and government-funded counterinsurgency research. SORO’s work, he argued, was little different from academic social research, for it was ultimately “concerned with the larger academic questions of processes and techniques of social control and social change,” the bread and butter of midcentury behavioral science. His work, he explained, satisfied equally his desire to advance knowledge and improve human welfare: “The opportunity afforded by the Army’s current interest in special warfare,” he elaborated, “goes far beyond the possibility to contribute to contemporary American foreign policy. Results could accrue which would influence the development of social knowledge and theory for years to come.”63

Lowry downplayed the foreign policy implications of his work, but he and his peers believed that their research would avert violence and, perhaps more important, remake the military as an engine of peace and development. Social scientists prided themselves on producing information that could contain, and even prevent, conflict. As SORO’s William Lybrand explained to an audience of military officials and social scientists in 1962, “rather than destructive, our aims are constructive—to create internal conditions and encourage political, social, and economic systems which remove hunger, disease, poverty, oppression and other sources of discontent.” Armed with social scientific knowledge, “our military establishment is a direct, positive instrument for human progress.” Lybrand was not blazing new ground with his claims, of course. He echoed the values of President Kennedy, who argued to West Point soldiers that same year that their Cold War mission was not to kill, but to “help those who have the will to help themselves.”64 Sorons, like most Americans in the early (p.35) years of the Cold War, acclimated themselves to the spread of American power by arguing that they acted with the best of intentions. They took on secret military work with a sense of scientific and national duty, and the nation took on its expanding empire with benevolent reluctance.

Even further, social scientists implied that their contributions to American foreign policy enhanced democratic values at home. In his pioneering 1957 volume Limited War, Robert E. Osgood justified the intellectual pursuit of limited war by arguing that “the liberal and humane spirit needs an environment conducive to compromise and moderation.” The political and social milieu likely to follow nuclear holocaust was certainly not conducive to democracy.65 Social scientists who studied insurgency did not threaten American democracy by enhancing the militarization of scholarship and foreign policy; they strengthened it. Militarization, according to this logic, actually fulfilled the promise of American democracy.

Social scientists even argued that their military work helped bring Americans back in touch with their revolutionary origins. As the Smithsonian’s Advisory Group on Psychology and the Social Sciences explained in 1957, “some of the demands of the future—such as the involvement of large segments of the citizenry in direct defense activities—recall the roots of our democracy that produced the frontiersman, the minuteman, and the vigilante.”66 Of course, each of those sought to battle and conquer its enemies, but the advisory group implied that many of them operated in the name of liberty, progress, and manifest destiny. Militarization and global interventionism revitalized American national identity.

This sentiment, however, was uncommon. On the rare occasions that Americans addressed militarization directly, they revealed their anxieties about its implications for democracy. In January 1961, President Eisenhower issued a grave warning to the nation. Since World War II, he said, Americans had directed an astonishing quantity of economic, intellectual, and human resources to national defense. He conceded that such an effort was a necessary response to Soviet antagonism. Yet he admonished Americans to “guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex.” Its “total influence,” he intoned, was “economic, political, even spiritual … felt in every city, every Statehouse, every office of the Federal government.” It was also felt in science. The threat here was twofold. The president warned scholars to guard against the danger that contracts become “a substitute for intellectual curiosity.” But equally treacherous, he cautioned, was the “opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.”67

(p.36) That the first president to warn against the militarization of American politics and science was also the one who did much to encourage it speaks volumes about Americans’ ambivalence about militarization in the 1950s and early 1960s. By the time Eisenhower issued his warning, large swaths of American social research were unquestionably militarized. The roots of this process were diverse; the military, social scientists, university administrations, and even elected officials both wittingly and unwittingly encouraged Americans to envision military problems as scientific subjects. With revolutionary war recast as a social, economic, and political problem, it moved easily into the purview of civilian strategists working in the gray area. But the flip side of “civilianization” was militarization. The boundaries between war and peace were so blurred by the early 1960s that army psychological warfare manuals defined peace as “simply a period of less violent war in which nonmilitary means are predominantly used to achieve certain political objectives.”68

Yet, by rendering national security questions the subjects of science, researchers and their patrons hid the fact of military influence over scholarship and policy—even from themselves. Research contracting seemed, at the time, to insulate academic inquiry from undue military influence. It also seemed to guard against statism. And while Eisenhower warned that the denizens of the military-industrial complex might endanger American democracy, social scientists argued the opposite. Counterinsurgency doctrine, designed cooperatively by social scientists and military experts, would help keep wars limited and could perhaps avoid conflict altogether. Their work, it seemed, enhanced American democratic values. For reasons that the next chapter explains, the particular ways social scientists framed the nature and function of Cold War democracy would do much to draw their attention away from their complicity in the processes of militarization.


(1.) Philip M. Hauser, “Are the Social Sciences Ready?” American Sociological Review 11 (1946): 380.

(2.) Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Psychology and Social Sciences, “Defense Needs for Long-Range Research in Psychology and Social Sciences,” December 19, 1957, p. 1, HSR Briefing folder, box 3, Record Unit 179, Smithsonian Institution Research Group in Psychology and the Social Sciences, Records (Smithsonian Institution Archives, Washington, D.C.); Charles Bray, untitled speech, undated, HSR briefing folder, box 3, Smithsonian Institution Research Group in Psychology and the Social Sciences; Paul Linebarger, Psychological Warfare (Washington, D.C.: Infantry Journal Press, 1948), 29.

(p.159) (3.) Alvarez quoted in Jesse Orlansky to Ithiel de Sola Pool, September 8, 1961, IDAMisc. folder, box 72, Ithiel de Sola Pool Papers, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Institute Archives and Special Collections (Cambridge, Mass.).

(4.) Andrew J. Birtle, U.S. Counterinsurgency and Contingency Operations Doctrine, 1942–1976 (Washington, D.C.: Center of Military History, United States Army, 2006), 25; Lt. Col. T. N. Greene, The Guerrilla—and How to Fight Him (New York: Praeger, 1962), v.

(5.) A classic interrogation of the relationship between patronage and scholarship in Cold War science is Paul Forman, “Behind Quantum Electronics: National Security as a Basis for Physical Research in the United States, 1940–1960,” Historical Studies in the Physical Sciences 18 (1988): 149–229. On militarization and American national identity see Sherry, Shadow of War.

(6.) Aaron L. Friedberg, In the Shadow of the Garrison State: America’s Anti-Statism and Its Cold War Grand Strategy (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2000); Odd Arne Westad, The Global Cold War: Third World Interventions and the Making of Our Times (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), chap. 1; Marilyn B. Young, “The Age of Global Power,” in Rethinking American History in a Global Age, ed. Thomas Bender (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002), 274–94.

(7.) Ellen Herman, The Romance of American Psychology: Political Culture in the Age of Experts (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995), 81, chaps. 2–3; Eugene M. Lyons, The Uneasy Partnership: Social Science and the Federal Government in the Twentieth Century (New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 1969), chap. 4.

(8.) Friedberg, Shadow of the Garrison State, 327–30; Larry Owens, “The Counterproductive Management of Science in the Second World War: Vannevar Bush and the Office of Scientific Research and Development,” Business History Review 68 (1994): 515–76.

(9.) Quoted in Virginia Yans-McLaughlin, “Science, Democracy, and Ethics: Mobilizing Culture and Personality for World War II,” in Malinowski, Rivers, Benedict and Others: Essays on Culture and Personality, ed. George W. Stocking Jr. (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1986), 184–217, 214. The literature on the physical sciences in the Cold War is immense. Useful overviews include Roger L. Geiger, Research and Relevant Knowledge: American Research Universities since World War II (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993), and Stuart W. Leslie, Cold War and American Science: The Military-Industrial Complex at MIT and Stanford (New York: Columbia University Press, 1993). On the challenges of uniting the physical sciences and the military after the war see Amy Sue Bix, “Backing into Sponsored Research: Physics and Engineering at Princeton University, 1945–1970,” History of Higher Education Annual 13 (1993): 9–52; and Michael A. Dennis, “‘Our First Line of Defense’: Two University Labs in the Postwar American State,” Isis 85 (1994): 427–55.

(10.) Ron Theodore Robin, The Making of the Cold War Enemy: Culture and Politics in the Military-Intellectual Complex (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2001), 47, 50–51. On the exclusion of the social sciences from the NSF see Daniel Lee Kleinman and Mark Solovey, “Hot Science/Cold War: The National Science Foundation after World War II,” Radical History Review 63 (1995): 110–39.

(11.) Quoted in Michael McClintock, Instruments of Statecraft (New York: Pantheon Books, 1992), 36. On the history of psychological warfare in the U.S. military see also Stanley Sandler, Cease Resistance: It’s Good for You! A History of U.S. Army Combat Psychological Operations (Fort Bragg, N.C.: United States Army Special Operations Command, 1999); and Christopher Simpson, Science of Coercion: Communication Research and Psychological Warfare, 1945–1960 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1994).

(15.) “Progress Report 1954–1955,” typescript, p. 9, Special Warfare: HRAF Progress RPTS, 2/55–4/57 (U) folder, box 3, entry 156, Records of the Office of the Chief of Special Warfare, Security-Classified Correspondence Relating to Special Warfare Area Handbooks, 1954–58, RG 319: Records of the Army Staff (National Archives 2, College Park, Md.); McClintock, Instruments of Statecraft, 37–39.

(16.) Human Relations Area Files, “Quarterly Progress Report, 1954–1955,” typescript, p. 33, Special Warfare: HRAF Progress RPTS, 2/55–4/27 (U) folder, box 1, entry 156, Records of the Office of the Chief of Special Warfare, Security-Classified Correspondence Relating to Special Warfare Area Handbooks, 1954–58, RG 319. On concerns about classified research contracts see Harold W. Dodds, “The Dangers of Project Research,” Social Problems 1 (1954): 90–93; and J. L. Morrill, “Higher Education and the Federal Government,” Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 301 (1955): 41–45.

(17.) David C. Engerman, “The Rise and Fall of Wartime Social Science: Harvard’s Refugee Interview Project, 1950–1954,” in Cold War Social Science: Knowledge Production, Liberal Democracy, and Human Nature, ed. Mark Solovey and Hamilton Cravens (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012), 29, 35.

(18.) Kluckhohn quoted in Engerman, “Rise and Fall of Wartime Social Science,” 37; Harvard University, The Behavioral Sciences at Harvard: Report by a Faculty Committee, June 1954 (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1954), 289–93.

(19.) Matthew Farish, The Contours of America’s Cold War (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2010), 64–66; Clellan Ford, “Human Relations Area Files: 1945–1969,” Behavior Science Notes 5 (1970): 1–27; Rebecca M. Lemov, World as Laboratory: Experiments with Mice, Mazes, and Men (New York: Hill & Wang, 2005), chaps. 8–9.

(20.) Milton D. Graham to C. D. Leatherman, January 18, 1955, Special Warfare: HRAF Correspondence, 54–58 (U) folder, box 1, entry 156, Records of the Office of the Chief of Special Warfare, Security-Classified Correspondence Relating to Special Warfare Area Handbooks, 1954–58, RG 319.

(22.) Clellan Ford to Gen. William C. Bullock, February 4, 1955, Special Warfare: HRAF Correspondence, 54–58 (U) folder, box 1, entry 156, Records of the Office of the Chief of Special Warfare, Security-Classified Correspondence Relating to Special Warfare Area Handbooks, 1954–58, RG 319.

(23.) “FY 59 M&O Funds to Be Programmed—$160,000—Contract No. DA-49–083–973,” n.d. [c. December 1956], Special Warfare (RAC) 1956 (U) folder, box 2, entry 156, Records of the Office of the Chief of Special Warfare, Security-Classified Correspondence Relating to Special Warfare Area Handbooks, 1954–58, RG 319.

(24.) Description drawn from Foreign Area Studies Division, Special Warfare Area Handbook for Ethiopia (Washington, D.C.: SORO, October 1960), American University Archives and Special Collections (Washington, D.C.). For the template see Office of the Chief of Psychological Warfare, Department of the Army, “Format for a Psychological Warfare Country Plan,” September 9, 1955, Special Warfare: HRAF Correspondence, 54–58 (U) folder, box 1, entry 156, Records of the Office of the Chief of Special Warfare, Security-Classified Correspondence Relating to Special Warfare Area Handbooks, 1954–58, RG 319.

(25.) HRAF, “Quarterly Progress Report,” p. 28, 30–2, Special Warfare: HRAF Progress RPTS, 2/55–4/27 (U) folder, box 3; Office of the Chief of Psychological Warfare to Clellan Ford, April 17, 1957, Special Warfare: HRAF Correspondence, 54–58 (U) folder, box 1, entry 156, Records of the Office of the Chief of Special Warfare, Security-Classified Correspondence Relating to Special Warfare Area Handbooks, 1954–58, RG 319.

(p.161) (26.) Dr. E. K. Karcher Jr., “Army Social Science Programs and Plans,” in Proceedings of the Symposium “The U.S. Army’s Limited-War Mission and Social Science Research,” ed. William A. Lybrand, 344–59 (Washington, D.C.: SORO, 1962), 349; Hurst R. Anderson to Col. C. B. Hutchinson, March 31, 1964, SORO/1964 folder, box 1, Papers of the Special Operations Research Office (American University Archives and Special Collections).

(27.) “Remarks of Leonard W. Doob,” in Lybrand, Proceedings of the Symposium, 236. On Bandung see Westad, Global Cold War, 99–103.

(28.) Catherine Lutz, Homefront: A Military City and the American Twentieth Century (Boston: Beacon Press, 2002); Robin, Making of the Cold War Enemy, 24–25; Michael E. Latham, Modernization as Ideology: American Social Science and “Nation Building” in the Kennedy Era (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2000), chap. 1.

(30.) Andrew J. Bacevich, The Pentomic Era: The U.S. Army between Korea and Vietnam (Washington, D.C.: National Defense University Press, 1986), 49–53. See also James M. Gavin, War and Peace in the Space Age (New York: Harper, 1958); and Maxwell D. Taylor, The Uncertain Trumpet (New York: Harper, 1960).

(31.) U.S. Army, Official Contract DA-49–083 OSA-973, typescript, April 17, 1956, p. 1, SORO-973 file, box 10, entry 1393, Accession 73-A-2008, OCRD [Office of the Chief of Research and Development], DAR [Director of Army Research], Transaction Files, 1967–69, RG 319; Ritchie P. Lowry, “Toward a Sociology of Secrecy and Security Systems,” Social Problems 19 (1972): 439.

(32.) Quoted in McClintock, Instruments of Statecraft, 170. For SORO’s early budget see U.S. Army, Official Contract DA-49–083 OSA-973, typescript, April 17, 1956, SORO-973 file, box 10, entry 1393, Accession 73-A-2008, OCRD [Office of the Chief of Research and Development], DAR [Director of Army Research], Transaction Files, 1967–69, RG 319.

(33.) On the growth of the Special Forces and third world trouble spots see McClintock, Instruments of Statecraft, 163–66, 180. On SORO staffing and budgets see Walter Pincus, “Pentagon Plans to Clear ‘Camelot Studies,’” Washington Star [c. July 1965], Camelot (Publicity)/1965 file, box 1, Special Operations Research Office Papers. On SORO’s relationship to Fort Bragg see Col. William H. Kinard, “The New Dimensions of Special Warfare,” in Lybrand, Proceedings of the Symposium, 60.

(34.) Harold Orlans, Contracting for Knowledge (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1973); and U.S. Office of Technology Assessment, A History of the Department of Defense Federally Funded Research and Development Centers, OTA-BP-ISS-157 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, June 1995), 7–20.

(37.) On the presence of military officers on SORO’s staff see Joy Elizabeth Rohde, “‘The Social Scientists’ War’: Expertise in a Cold War Nation” (PhD diss., University of Pennsylvania, 2007), 108–14. On Dame’s career see Walter G. Hermes, Truce Tent and Fighting Front: The Last Two Years (Washington, D.C.: Center of Military History, U.S. Army, 1990), chap. 11; and Kate Montressor, “Dame-Conary-Hanson-Fuller Genealogy,” Person Card for Hartley Fuller Dame, http://www.aviatrix.com/genealogy/ps01/ps01_222.htm (accessed November 10, 2005). Dame’s SORO reports include Hartley Dame and Aubrey Lippincott, Selected Aspects of the San Blas Cuna Indians (Washington, D.C.: SORO/CINFAC, 1964); and Margaret P. Hays, Christy Ann Hoffman and Hartley Dame, The Political Influence of University Students in Latin America (Washington, D.C.: SORO/CINFAC, 1965); Hartley Fuller Dame, (p.162) “The Causes and Effects of Military Intervention in Politics in Hispanic America: Argentina, a Case Study” (MA thesis, American University, 1969).

(38.) Rohde, “‘Social Scientists’ War,’” 114–15; “Jacobs, Norman,” American Men and Women of Science: The Social and Behavioral Sciences, 12th ed. (New York: Bowker, 1973), 1117–18. On Daugherty see R. D. McLaurin, ed., Military Propaganda: Psychological Warfare and Operations (New York: Praeger, 1982), 376.

(40.) On these institutions see Sharon Ghamari-Tabrizi, The Worlds of Herman Kahn: The Intuitive Science of Thermonuclear War (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2005); Gene M. Lyons and Louis Morton, Schools for Strategy (New York: Praeger, 1965); and Bruce L. R. Smith, The RAND Corporation: Case Study of a Nonprofit Advisory Corporation (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1966). On Simulmatics see Joy Rohde, “The Last Stand of the Psychocultural Cold Warriors: Military Contract Research in Vietnam,” Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences 47 (2011): 232–50.

(42.) Friedberg, Shadow of the Garrison State, 332–34. On the explosion of contracting see Harold Orlans, The Non-Profit Research Institute: Its Origin, Operation, Problems, and Prospects (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1972), 5, 11.

(44.) Annex A to Contract No. DAHC-19–67-C-0046, DAHC19–67-C-0046, CRESS Employee Benefits (Insurance, Travel, Salaries and Wages) file, box 10, entry 1393, OCRD, DAR, Transaction Files, 1967–69, RG 319; William J. Baumol, “On the Financial Prospects for Higher Education: The Annual Report on the Economic Status of the Profession,” AAUP Bulletin 54 (1968): 194.

(45.) On overhead costs see “Budget, Fiscal Year 1958,” Special Warfare: RAC, 1957 (U) file, box 2, entry 156, Records of the Office of the Chief of Special Warfare, Security-Classified Correspondence Relating to the Special Warfare Area Handbooks, RG 319; and “Contract No. DAHC-19–67-C-0046,” typescript, July 1, 1967, p. 6, DAHC19–67-C-0046 American University (CRESS) Basic Contract and Modifications file, box 10, entry 1393, Accession 73-A-2008, OCRD [Office of the Chief of Research and Development], DAR [Director of Army Research], Transaction Files, 1967–69, RG 319. On the history of the social sciences at American University see John R. Reynolds and Joanne E. King, Highlights in the History of American University, 1889–1976 (Washington, D.C.: Hennage Creative Printers, 1976), 61. On AU’s ranking see U.S. Congress, House, Committee on Government Operations, Subcommittee on Research and Technical Programs, Use of Social Research in Federal Domestic Programs, pt. 1, Federally Financed Social Research: Expenditures, Status, and Objectives (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1967), 65. For a case of the impact of government funding on university status see Rebecca Lowen, Creating the Cold War University: The Transformation of Stanford (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997).

(46.) Reynolds and King, Highlights in the History of American University, 25, 57. When the First World War ended, the army buried its large cache of weapons on and around AU’s campus. Some long-term residents in the neighborhood have since complained of rare illnesses. Cf. Carol D. Leonnig, “Residents’ Federal Lawsuits Blocked; Weapons Tested in Spring Valley,” Washington Post, September 17, 2003, B8; John Ward, “Spring Valley Sick Blame Chemicals in WWI Dumping: A Survey Finds a Disquieting Number of Serious Illnesses,” Washington Times, November 14, 2004, A1.

(47.) Hurst R. Anderson, An Educational Journey: Trivia and More Important Things in the Life of a Teacher and College and University President (Lakeside, Ohio: privately printed, 1977), 65–66 (p.163) ; Eisenhower quoted in Reynolds and King, Highlights in the History of American University, 71.

(49.) Cf. Donald Derby to Hurst Anderson, March 20, 1964, SORO/1964 file, box 1, Papers of the Special Operations Research Office.

(50.) Raymond V. Bowers, “The Military Establishment,” in The Uses of Sociology, ed. Paul F. Lazarsfeld, William H. Sewell, and Harold Wilensky (New York: Basic Books, 1967), 234–74; Lyons, Uneasy Partnership, 143–45; Robin, Making of the Cold War Enemy, 50.

(51.) Senate Committee on Post Office and Civil Service, Subcommittee on Federal Manpower Policies, Report on Manpower Utilization by the Federal Government through the Use of Private Contract Labor, 83rd Cong., 1st sess. (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1953), 5–6. See also U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Defense Department Sponsored Foreign Affairs Research: Hearings before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, 90th Cong., 2nd sess., May 1968, 32–33.

(52.) Leonard S. Cottrell Jr., “Social Research and Psychological Warfare,” Sociometry 23 (1960): 105–6. On PSYGRO and the name change see “Scope of Contract PSYGRO,” March 6, 1956; C. D. Leatherman to Research Advisory Committee Members, April 18, 1956; and Minutes of RAC meeting, April 26, 1956, Special Warfare: RAC, 1956 (U) file, box 2, entry 156, Records of the Office of the Chief of Special Warfare, Security-Classified Correspondence Relating to the Special Warfare Area Handbooks, RG 319.

(53.) Robin, Making the Cold War Enemy, 54–55; House Select Committee to Investigate Foundations, Final Report of the Select Committee to Investigate Foundations and Other Organizations, 82nd Cong., 2nd sess. (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1953), 6. On security clearances at SORO see HRAF/WAHRAF Clearances—Special Orders, folder 16, box 5, entry 156, Records of the Office of the Chief of Special Warfare, Security-Classified Correspondence Relating to the Special Warfare Area Handbooks, RG 319. On secrecy practices see Janet Farrell Brodie, “Learning Secrecy in the Early Cold War: The RAND Corporation,” Diplomatic History 35 (2011): 643–70.

(54.) Congressional Record 104, pt. 14, August 14, 1958, 17516–17; Paul Kecskemeti, Strategic Surrender: The Politics of Victory and Defeat (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1958).

(55.) Congressional Record 104, pt. 14, August 14, 1958, 17520–21, 17743.

(56.) Karcher, “Army Social Science Programs and Plans,” in Lybrand, Proceedings of the Conference, 359.

(57.) On the dragnet process see Booz, Allen, and Hamilton Inc., “Study of Organization Structure and Administrative Practices,” July 1965, pp. 17–20, box 1, Papers of the Special Operations Research Office. For examples of dragnets see 1301–01 RDAF Dragnet FY 69 1968 Requirements Submitted file, box 5, entry 1295D, OCRD [Office of the Chief of Research and Development] Social Science Branch RD Administration Files, RG 319.

(58.) On Task Target see “Army Human Factors Research Advisory Committee Meeting,” May 3, 1961, AHFRAC Meeting Minutes file, box 1, Acc 79–0068, RG 319. For SUPO see SORO, “Task Statement, 20 June 1957,” and Maj. Gen. O. C. Troxel to Col. Kai Rasmussen, July 5, 1957, Special Warfare: RAC, 1957 (U) file, box 2, entry 156, Records of the Office of the Chief of Special Warfare, Security-Classified Correspondence Relating to the Special Warfare Area Handbooks, RG 319.

(59.) Lucien Pye, “The Role of the Military in Political Development,” in Lybrand, Proceedings of the Conference, 164; Harry Eckstein, “Internal Wars,” ibid., 250–62.

(p.164) (61.) Irwin Altman, “Mainstreams of Research in Small Groups,” Public Administration Review 23 (1963): 203–8; Ray C. Hackman, “Purity, Body, and Flavor: The Applied Scientist,” Scientific Monthly 81 (1955): 213–14.

(62.) Paul A. Jureidini and John M. Lord, An Ethnographic Summary of the Ethiopian Provinces of Harar and Sidamo (Washington, D.C.: SORO, October 1964); D. M. Condit, A Counterinsurgency Bibliography (Washington, D.C.: SORO, 1963); Elihu Katz and Paul Lazarsfeld, Personal Influence: The Part Played by People in the Flow of Mass Communications (New York: Free Press, 1960); Milton Jacobs, Charles E. Rice, and Lorand Szalay, The Study of Communication in Thailand with an Emphasis on Word-of-Mouth Communication (Washington, D.C.: SORO, July 1964); Milton Jacobs, Farhad Farzanegan, and Alexander Askenasy, “A Study of Key Communicators in Thailand,” Social Forces 45 (1966): 192–99.

(63.) N. A. LaCharite and E. W. Gude, “Project Revolt,” Army Information Digest 20 (February 1965): 39–41; Ritchie P. Lowry, “Changing Military Roles: Neglected Challenge to Rural Sociologists,” Rural Sociology 30 (1965): 222.

(64.) William A. Lybrand, foreword in Lybrand, Proceedings of the Symposium, vii; Kennedy quoted in Seymour Dietchman, The Best-Laid Schemes: A Tale of Social Research and Bureaucracy (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1976), 6.

(65.) Robert Endicott Osgood, Limited War: The Challenge to American Strategy (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1957), 27.

(67.) Dwight D. Eisenhower, “Farewell Address to the Nation,” Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1960–61 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1961), 1038–39.