Over the years UD has occasionally stated that UDRI does not work on "weapons" or "weapons systems." This page is written in response. Several sections on this page also point out why these weapons run afoul of Catholic Just War doctrine, which should be relevant at the University of Dayton.
The Minuteman III nuclear missile
In 2007 UDRI obtained a contract under the "propulsion replacement program" for the Minuteman III. The propellant in these ICBMs is apparently replaced from time to time. This contract runs for 5 years, according to UDRI staff. Nuclear weapons have been strongly condemned by the Catholic Church. Details at:
UDRI has issued two press releases in the past few years describing contracts to work on the A-10 Warthog aircraft, as mentioned on the home page. One contract involved improving the wings; another involved biofuels specifically for this aircraft.
A Catholic university should consider Just War doctrine when deciding to accept or decline government contracts. Just War doctrine does not only address whether or not a war should be started; it also addresses how warfare is to be conducted. Paragraph 2313 of the catechism of the Catholic Church states that non-combatants must be treated humanely.
Here is an example of the A-10 killing children:
" . . . nine children and a man were found dead after an attack by an A-10 ground attack aircraft. The plane was targeting a Taliban suspect. Though U.S. officials originally said former Taliban district commander Mullah Wazir was killed in the attack, U.S. ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad on Tuesday said they were no longer certain. Villagers say a local laborer was the man killed in the assault."
Is this an insolated incident? Again, no; Human Rights Watch has specifically condemned the use of the A-10 in Afghanistan for repeated civilian deaths (see home page).
UDRI has also worked on a contract for the Maverick missile, as shown on this entry on the site GovernmentContractsWon.com:
Contract Dollar Amount * Defense Dept Contract IDs/Numbers * Product/Service RDTE/Other Defense-Adv Tech Dev Government Contracting Office FA8650 DET 1 AFRL PK Principal Place of Performance City of Dayton, Ohio
Claimant Program OTHER AIRCRAFT EQUIPMENT Weapon System MAVERICK (LASER) From Date 2/28/2008 To Date 2/28/2008
The Executive Director of UDRI, Mickey McCabe, serves on the Board of Governors of LOCI, the LADAR and Optical Communications Institute at UD.
LADAR, laser radar, is used to guide weapons such as LOCAAS, the “Low-Cost Autonomous Attack System;” details at http://www.fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/smart/locaas.htm (this is from the site of the Federation of American Scientists). LADAR may also be used on a cruise missile, the Surveilling Miniature Attack Cruise Missile (SMACM)http://www.lockheedmartin.com/products/SurveillingMiniatureAttackCruiseMis/SMACMPhoto3.html (from the site of Lockheed Martin).
Here is an illustration of one of LOCI's laser devices. This illustration is from a powerpoint presentation which was posted on the LOCI site for some months but has since been removed. I will try to post the entire presentation here.
UD issued a press release about its sponsorship of LOCI in the summer of 2007:
As stated elsewhere on this site, the production of weapons is problematic for a Catholic university since they have been used in unjust wars.
Also, “smart” munitions such as LOCAAS and SMACM -- even when they do hit their targets -- kill civilians. This has been in the news with recurring civilian deaths in Afghanistan (details at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/06/30/AR2007063000537.html). NATO and U.S. military personnel explain that the Taliban are using civilians as human shields; even if this is the case (and even if the administration of UD accepts these deaths), it is not an excuse that will placate Afghanis. Afghan president Hamid Karzai has said that civilian deaths are no longer acceptable or understandable (http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2007/05/03/1177788234481.html#); why does UD think it is a good idea to facilitate more civilian deaths when our allies ask us to desist?
Finally, even when “smart” munitions hit their target, the intelligence about the target may be wrong in the first place; the United States claimed that the bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade in 1999 was a mistake, although the bombs did hit the building they were aimed at; also, the Al-Shifa pharmaceuticals plant in Khartoum, bombed (accurately) in 1998, may not have been involved in WMD production as claimed at the time. Does UD want its LADAR used in attacks like these?
UDRI itself (as opposed to LOCI, mentioned above) has worked on the engine rings of the Harrier aircraft, as mentioned on UDRI's site.
Here is an article from the BBC about a Harrier killing civilians in 2003: