Monday, September 20, 2021

Intelligence Contract Funneled to CSIS

Here is more from The Intercept:

In 2018, when the government awarded a massive $769 million contract to Alion Science and Technology, a defense contractor, the company promised that the money would go to “cutting edge” intelligence and technological solutions “that directly support the warfighter.”

The Alion contract supports work from the Remote Sensing Center, an intelligence hub that assists the military with ground, maritime, and airborne intelligence. Much of the work, records show, went to subcontractors such as Venntel, a firm that hoovers up location data from smartphones, and Leidos, a technology firm that services a variety of weapons systems and intelligence agencies.

But part of the money embedded in that contract also flowed to the nation’s foremost hawkish think tanks, which routinely advocate for higher Pentagon budgets and a greater projection of America’s military force.

The Center for Strategic and International Studies, or CSIS, and the Pacific Forum are just two of the independent research institutes that were given parts of the $769 million to Alion Science as subcontractors. (The others — the Russia Research Network Limited, Center for Advanced China Research, and Center for European Policy Analysis — are less prominent.) The indirect funding, channeled through a contract meant for advancing the government’s warfighting ability, is unusual among the many Pentagon grants that flow to research institutes.


The Intercept quotes Jack Poulson, the founder of watchdog group Tech Inquiry, as saying that the commingling of projects appeared to be "blurring the lines between think tanks and intelligence contractors." 

The article also notes that the Hudson Institute received nearly $400,000 from a Pentagon contract to produce a report on aircraft defense.  It also says that the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) has received more than $1 million in funding from the Pentagon.