UH is chosen as site for new security center
Some criticize the selection decision by the Department of Homeland Security
The University of Hawaii at Manoa is one of two universities selected for a new Department of Homeland Security research center, U.S. Sens. Daniel Inouye and Daniel Akaka announced yesterday.
The Center of Excellence for Maritime, Island, and Port Security could bring up to $2 million a year during a four- to six-year period for "problem-solving research" into maritime and island security issues, according to a news release issued by the senators.
However, opponents of a Navy research center at UH-Manoa said the new homeland security center raises similar issues.
"We don't believe that public universities should be turned into an agent of the national security state," said Kyle Kajihiro of the American Friends Service Committee and a member of the Save UH/Stop UARC Coalition.
Kajihiro said there's a concern about whether research at the center would be classified. He is also concerned about the increasing amount of research money that comes from the military and homeland security agencies, which he said comes at the expense of funding for more basic research.
Jim Gaines, the UH system vice president for research, and Gary Ostrander, the UH-Manoa vice chancellor for research, did not return phone calls yesterday asking for details of the new center.
The news release does not indicate if the center will perform classified research or how it will be funded.
Inouye cited UH's location, research expertise and its experience in natural disaster research in tsunami and earthquakes as reasons to locate the center at UH-Manoa.
Inouye is a senior member of the Senate Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, and chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, which has jurisdiction over homeland security issues involving the nation's transportation infrastructure and telecommunications.
Akaka, a member of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security, added that UH-Manoa was selected "after a highly competitive selection process. That demonstrates UH has the intellectual muscle to be on the front lines in helping to secure our country."
The Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, N.J., is the other center and will be responsible for research into port security.