Howard University Makes History By Being Awarded $90 Million Contract For Military Research

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The Pentagon has awarded Howard University a $90 million contract for research development. According to Howard University, the contract is between the United States Air Force and the Department of Defense.

The contract establishes the university as the first historically black college or university to serve as a university-affiliated research center (UARC). This was announced by US Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III and US Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall.

“Howard’s new research centre will focus on tactical autonomy,” Austin said Monday. “That’s central to U.S. security in our changing world. Responsibly used autonomous systems make our military faster, stronger, and smarter.”

According to Howard University, the move will help more Black students advance in STEM fields and propel Howard to R-1 research status. According to the university, HBCUs graduate approximately 30% of STEM professionals and one-third of STEM Ph.D. students. They do, however, receive only 0.5% of institutional research funds.

“Howard’s UARC will focus on advanced battle management systems (ABMS) and tactical autonomy, which the Air Force defines as autonomous systems acting with delegated and bounded authority of humans in support of tactical, short-term actions associated with a longer-term strategic vision in war,” says executive director and principal investigator Dr. Danda Rawat.

According to Rawat, the plan is to create efficient, affordable, and trustworthy systems with autonomy and AI capabilities. He noted that this will provide operational advantages to warfighters.

Howard University has been awarded the largest research contract ever signed by an HBCU. Howard University announced in a statement that eight more HBCUs will join the consortium under Howard’s leadership. Jackson State, Hampton University, Tuskegee University, Bowie State University, Delaware State University, Florida Memorial University, Norfolk State University, and Tougaloo College are among them.

 

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