The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is soliciting companies to provide new technology that would allow the U.S. Department of Defense to predict future “societal unrest” by keeping track of “all human activities that can be measured.”
A solicitation posted on FedBizOpps outlines DARPA’s intent to fund research and development of “game-changing technologies” that will “provide a decisive information advantage for the U.S. and its allies,” opening the door to “powerful ways to gain insight into the world.”
“Essentially all human activities that can be measured, from mercantile to military, are being quantitatively re-examined in the context of this new, “big data”, capability. Early demonstrations have produced remarkable insights into human activities and enabled quantitative decision making,” states the solicitation, adding that the agency is looking to develop new algorithms which can forecast “online correlation for societal unrest.”
DARPA has already been heavily engaged in research aimed at forecasting social unrest, most notably the agency’s Crisis Early Warning System (ICEWS), but the results have been patchy, with ICEWS only successful in predicting four out of sixteen rebellions, political upheavals and incidents of ethnic violence during the time period over which it was applied.
Over the past six years, the Pentagon has shown an increased interest in creating models that can forecast domestic and international disorder.
A report produced in 2008 by the U.S. Army War College’s Strategic Institute warned that the United States may experience massive civil unrest in the wake of a series of crises which it termed “strategic shock.”
“Widespread civil violence inside the United States would force the defense establishment to reorient priorities in extremis to defend basic domestic order and human security,” stated the report, authored by [Ret.] Lt. Col. Nathan Freir, adding that the military may be needed to quell “purposeful domestic resistance.”
We have also reported numerous times over the past several years on how the federal government is gearing up for civil unrest, including the Department of Homeland Security’s purchase last October of 240,000 pepper spray projectiles, 100 pepper spray launchers, as well as 36 “riot expansion kits.”
In 2011, the DHS announced that it would intensify its monitoring of social media in order to pre-empt social dislocation within the United States.
Back in 2012, we reported on FM 3-39.40 Internment and Resettlement Operations, a U.S. Army manual that describes how political activists in prison camps will be indoctrinated by specially assigned psychological operations officers. The document makes numerous references to how government agencies like the DHS, ICE and FEMA will be involved in the domestic internment of U.S. citizens during “civil support operations.”
A second US Army Military Police manual that was leaked months later also outlined how military assets would be used domestically to quell riots, confiscate firearms and even kill Americans on U.S. soil during mass civil unrest in the aftermath of a crisis.