Meet The "Minerva Research Initiative" - The Pentagon's Preparation For "Mass Civil Breakdown"

Tyler Durden's picture

About a month ago we showed photos of the Chinese police engaged in a drill designed to crush a "working class insurrection", in which the police did precisely what would be required to end a middle class rebellion. It made us wonder: what does China know that the US doesn't. As it turns out, nothing.

Because long before China was practicing counter-riot ops using rubber bullets, all the way back in 2008 the US Department of Defense was conducting studies on the dynamics of civil unrest, and how the US military might best respond. The name of the project: "Minerva Research Initiative" and its role is to " “improve DoD’s basic understanding of the social, cultural, behavioral and political forces that shape regions of the world of strategic importance to the U.S."

The Guardian which first revealed the details, reports that, "The multi-million dollar programme is designed to develop immediate and long-term "warfighter-relevant insights" for senior officials and decision makers in "the defense policy community," and to inform policy implemented by "combatant commands."

The premise behind Minerva is simple: study how violent political overthrow, aka mass civil breakdown, happens in the day and age of social networks, and be prepared to counteract it - by "targeting peaceful activities and protest movements" - when it finally reaches US shores.

Among the projects awarded for the period 2014-2017 is a Cornell University-led study managed by the US Air Force Office of Scientific Research which aims to develop an empirical model "of the dynamics of social movement mobilisation and contagions." The project will determine "the critical mass (tipping point)" of social contagians by studying their "digital traces" in the cases of "the 2011 Egyptian revolution, the 2011 Russian Duma elections, the 2012 Nigerian fuel subsidy crisis and the 2013 Gazi park protests in Turkey."


Twitter posts and conversations will be examined "to identify individuals mobilised in a social contagion and when they become mobilised."


Another project awarded this year to the University of Washington "seeks to uncover the conditions under which political movements aimed at large-scale political and economic change originate," along with their "characteristics and consequences." The project, managed by the US Army Research Office, focuses on "large-scale movements involving more than 1,000 participants in enduring activity," and will cover 58 countries in total.

Minerva is well funded: From the outset, the Minerva programme was slated to provide over $75 million over five years for social and behavioural science research. This year alone it has been allocated a total budget of $17.8 million by US Congress.

Among the purely "theoretical" recent studies Minerva is funding is a University of Maryland project in collaboration with the US Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory to gauge the risk of civil unrest due to climate change. The three-year $1.9 million project is developing models to anticipate what could happen to societies under a range of potential climate change scenarios.

But what is most disturbing is that since the pretext for Minerva is simply to conduct theoretical social science experiments, there should be zero practical uses of the knowledge gleaned. Well, no.

Although Office of Naval Research supervisor Dr Harold Hawkins had assured the university researchers at the outset that the project was merely "a basic research effort, so we shouldn't be concerned about doing applied stuff", the meeting in fact showed that DoD is looking to "feed results" into "applications," Corman said in the email. He advised his researchers to "think about shaping results, reports, etc., so they [DoD] can clearly see their application for tools that can be taken to the field."


Many independent scholars are critical of what they see as the US government's efforts to militarise social science in the service of war. In May 2008, the American Anthropological Association (AAA) wrote to the US government noting that the Pentagon lacks "the kind of infrastructure for evaluating anthropological [and other social science] research" in a way that involves "rigorous, balanced and objective peer review", calling for such research to be managed instead by civilian agencies like the National Science Foundation (NSF).

And tying it all together, is - who else - the NSA.

One war-game, said Price, involved environmental activists protesting pollution from a coal-fired plant near Missouri, some of whom were members of the well-known environmental NGO Sierra Club. Participants were tasked to "identify those who were 'problem-solvers' and those who were 'problem-causers,' and the rest of the population whom would be the target of the information operations to move their Center of Gravity toward that set of viewpoints and values which was the 'desired end-state' of the military's strategy."


Such war-games are consistent with a raft of Pentagon planning documents which suggest that National Security Agency (NSA) mass surveillance is partially motivated to prepare for the destabilising impact of coming environmental, energy and economic shocks.

As the Guardian's Nafeez Ahmed concludes, "Minerva is a prime example of the deeply narrow-minded and self-defeating nature of military ideology. Worse still, the unwillingness of DoD officials to answer the most basic questions is symptomatic of a simple fact – in their unswerving mission to defend an increasingly unpopular global system serving the interests of a tiny minority, security agencies have no qualms about painting the rest of us as potential terrorists."

We wonder: why is that surprising - by the time the "mass civil breakdown" is set to take place (and grand central-planning experiments by the Fed and its peers will merely accelerate said T-zero Day), virtually everyone who poses even the tiniest threat to the collapsing regime will be branded a terrorist.

Since as we reported previously, yet another current version of what previously was merely science fiction, namely the arrival of pre-crime, or where a big data NSA "pre-cog" computer will determine who is a future terrorist threat merely based on behavioral signals, is just around the corner too, it is simply a matter of time before men in gray suits or better yet - drones - quietly arrest any and all potentially threatening social network "nodes" of future terrorist behavior on the simple grounds that their mere presence threatens the status quo with an even faster collapse.

And now, just ignore all of the above, and keep buying stocks, because all is well: these most certainly aren't the droids you are looking for.

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johngaltfla's picture

Good news! You can shoot down drones! Just wear an old concert t-shirt when TSHTF!!!!

Los Angeles Kings Fans Demonstrate Proper Techniqe to Shoot Down a Police State Drone (VIDEO)
john39's picture

Interesting name:

"Minerva was the goddess of wisdom, war, art, schools and commerce. She was the Etruscan counterpart to Greek Athena. Like Athena, Minerva was born from the head of her father, Jupiter (Greek Zeus)."

Colonel Klink's picture

Only because "I'm a tyrannical cunt" was taken by Hitlery.

knukles's picture

See, AJ was right all along.

Anusocracy's picture

One would think that the government is trying to build an ant colony faster than nature can.

Humant colony, that is.

economics9698's picture

Demographics will determine where these guys operate.  The assholes know diversity breeds civil war.  They will pick up the regular citizens when they get around to it.  

Arius's picture

This country is no Greece ... this is AMERICA!


AlaricBalth's picture

The Minerva Research Initiative competition is for research related to the seven (7) topics listed below. Detailed descriptions of the topics can be found in Section VIII, “Specific Minerva Research Initiative Topics.” The detailed descriptions are intended to provide the proposer a frame of reference and are not meant to be restrictive. Innovative proposals related to these research topics are highly encouraged. White papers and full proposals are solicited which address the following topics:
(1) Strategic Impact of Religious and Cultural Changes
(2) Terrorism and Terrorist Ideologies
(3) Science, Technology and Military Transformations in China and Developing States
(4) National Security Implications of Energy and Environmental Stress
(5) New Theories of Cross-Domain Deterrence
(6) Regime and Social Dynamics in Failed, Failing, and Fragile Authoritarian States
(7) New Approaches to Understanding Dimensions of National Security, Conflict, and Cooperation

ebworthen's picture

Those dumb shits have no idea how things will go down.

They're playing with three Tinkertoy sets instead of a million erector sets with bullets.  DUH.  No clue, keep at it half-brains.

wee-weed up's picture

"Minerva Research Initiative"

Jackboots by any other name...

asdasmos's picture

Posted Elsewhere:


1) The taxes are not worth the value being returned.

I don't have a problem paying taxes, so long as they go to something worthwhile. I will end up paying around 33% - an entire 1/3rd of my income - in my 2013 tax return. Yes, I am getting a refund, but when I am paying tens of thousands of dollars and not getting the services I should receive for that investment in my country, celebrating the return of a few hundred dollars seems absurd.

Where is my benefit from my government for all of this? Do I have free healthcare? No. Do I have a world class education for my child? No. Do I have any kind of guaranteed income should I lose my job? No.

No, instead, I have a country which is the only one in the world to tax its overseas citizens. A country that bails out banks who prey on those who just want a home to raise a family when they become insolvent - but when it happens to me, and I short sell my home, the IRS is there, ready to tax me on "phantom income" - forgiven debt.

I have a country that spends billions on fighting wars for political gain, but does nothing when there actually is evidence of WMD use against others. A country that hemorrhages so much money on military spending, it must turn around and take loans against my child's future - her income - in order to continue to pay for programs we don't need.

2) I'm tired of people being surprised that I'm American because I have manners, common courtesy, and the ability to see the other side of issues.

Seriously, the number of people I meet who think Americans are rascal-riding land whales (like in the movie Wall-E) with handle-bar mounted machine guns, a sack of Big Macs in the front basket, a clinical addiction to NASCAR, and a passion for the modern day artist that is Jerry Springer - it's just too much. I've been introducing myself as Canadian because apparently I'm so polite, that's where they mostly assume I'm from.

3) The fact that none of this is ever going to change, regardless of what party is in charge, and the fact that the American government continues to shred the constitution a little more each year, until it doesn't even matter anymore.

You may not think of America as a police state, but it is. Nobody's going to come grab you in the middle of the night, unless you're reported as a terrorist of some kind. At that point, just forget about "police work" and get ready for the SWAT team.

Nobody is going to take your children way from you, unless Child Protective Services is called, and someone decides - for whatever reason - that it's "in the child's best interest" to be removed.

Nobody is ever going to interfere with your access to medicine, unless you're trying to get something that isn't ridiculously expensive from another country; in that case, get ready for being charged as a drug trafficker.

Nobody is going to freeze your bank accounts, passport, and other means of movement, unless the IRS believes you haven't given them enough money. Suddenly you have debt to prove isn't there, and it will all get "sorted out" at the blistering fast speed of government efficiency. Or you could just pay the amount they say and it all ends quickly.

4) The fact that the future for my child in the US is so dark.

All this debt, and it's going to fall on her and her children. She's broke, and she doesn't even know it yet. Disgusting.

Well, I count myself fortunate that I don't own a home in the US - it affords me the ability to even consider leaving it all behind. There's so much propaganda about how wonderful America is but, when you look at it without those rosy lenses on, what you really see is horrifying.



barre-de-rire's picture

post picture to prove ur not a fat fachist pig selling prepper advises & books on youtube while you drink dozen of coke per day & go camping out of car 50 yards away from parking with your uber maxpedition bags & leatherman wave on the poket...




stop complain & go riot to kill fed's ppl & ur nigger obama to change  your country,  usa is bunch of pussies who  have bigger mouth than ballz.

you deserve what happen cause it makes you happy this way.

you & ur country have fucked the whole planet & now  others start to say fuck you, usa, you shit fuck. no more dollar,  just die.


how dare you complain about your child futur, , you didnt give & still dont give a shit around your own square block & you just fuck a girl to cum without even wanting a kid.

typical americam behavior, you empty your ballz one day for fun, 15 years later " oops i made a mistake, hooo, that wasnt expected "


fuck you.


Advoc8tr's picture

Just what the world needs ... more children ?  I can almost see your point but it largely got lost in the unconstructive vitriol with a side of religious nut baggery that constitutes your comment.

The author himself does a much better job of acknowledging the failures of his own government and his personal disgust / shame at being associated with it.

The only ones that will effect real change are the US citizens themselves ... the more that realise and rebel the closer we get to a solution. 

We all started out as victims of propaganda.  All countries suffer the same problem to varying degrees.

If your country happened to be the world superpower it would be all your fault ... no way you are immuned while the rest of us suffer - you just caused less damage because wherever you are from happens to not be so influential on the world stage.

PS how long do you think a woman would stick around voluntarily if you only ever fucked her to conceive a baby ?  This is why we don't have to chain our women up ... here's a free tip - they actually like and need it as much as we do.


Latina Lover's picture

If I were one of Putin's advisors, I would 'suggest' that the FSB (KGB successor) obtain copies of the report, with all supporting documentation, and use it as a tool for countering color revolutions, instigated by the USSA.  Or, perhaps, the USSA is worried about blowback from one too many bungled foreign operations, such as Iraq, Ukraine etc.

Manthong's picture

I’m just worried that global warming might produce shootings every weekend in Chicago.

I hope they spend enough millions to see if that will happen.

Four chan's picture

im hoping we beat chicagos murder record here in detroit this summer. less is better than more.

shovelhead's picture


Do you know what they say about people who argue with retards?

Jerome Lester Horwitz's picture

Sorry, you lost me. I don't understand gibberish.

angel_of_joy's picture

You and your "friends" are exactly the reason why the guy pretends to be a Canadian, when in civilised company.

No only are you a retard, you are a lunatic too.

Fuck you too, you moron ! You show exactly why this country has no chance in hell to survive...

FlipFlop's picture

I am happy once it is ok to shoot any representative of police state.

Until that happens I send flowers to prison for anyone who shoots a cop, social worker, judge, prosecutor or anyone representing police state (enemy).

EscapingProgress's picture

I'm sure this will all go so much smoother than the invasion and occupation of Iraq. Same dumbasses, same gear, same idealogy, same tactics ... different results??

BigJim's picture

 Among the purely "theoretical" recent studies Minerva is funding is a University of Maryland project in collaboration with the US Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory to gauge the risk of civil unrest due to climate change. The three-year $1.9 million project is developing models to anticipate what could happen to societies under a range of potential climate change scenarios.

Ah, so that's HackMeister's new employer. No wonder she's so keen to emphasise the 'real' and 'pressing' nature of AGW.

G-R-U-N-T's picture

study how violent political overthrow, aka mass civil breakdown, happens in the day and age of social networks, and be prepared to counteract it - by "targeting peaceful activities and protest movements" - when it finally reaches US shores.

It will reach U.S. shores! Collapse of Europe, then Japan then America, then what?

Interesting that government together with cronyism is causing both economic and society to break down and then they have a desire control the people in which they have screwed! What will the people chose, totalitarian rule or individual freedom and liberty???

Notsobadwlad's picture

All part of "the great work". One does not get quiche without breaking a few eggs.

max2205's picture

Waste of money because FSA don't surf son. 

Haus-Targaryen's picture

I think you'll see civilization fall apart in the USSA much faster than in "Europe" (aka Northern Europe)

I couldn't give two shits about the EU, or the Euro, and in my opinion -- the faster these two institutions collapse upon one another the better.  However, if the Euro falls apart tomorrow -- people here will freak out for a day or two, then a new currency will pop up, and the economy will start to rebuild itself like it did in 45.  

If sheeple in the USSA wake up and the dollar died overnight, expect riot police, rioting, civil war, assisinations, suicides, and a general collapse of "civilization."

I imagine it will be a cross between what we see in the East of Ukraine and the Book of Eli.  

Europeans are used to the SHTF, and culturally are able to overcome it materially better than those in the states.  God help you all.  

(I am an American and literally got out, when I saw what was coming.  Best decision I have ever made.) 

Monty Burns's picture

Diversty does indeed breed civil war but it also creates an atomized low social cohesion society which is much easier to control.

AlaricBalth's picture

Multi-Source Assessment of State Stability

"We propose a three year program (with two option years) of basic research to develop new capabilities in predictive state stability modeling and improve our understanding of the fundamental issues surrounding state stability in a cyber-mediated environment. Our primary objective is to understand the way in which media – social and traditional – can be used to effect state stability or instability by individuals, groups and corporations. A secondary objective is to identify indicators in social media and traditional media that can be used as signals of changes in trust, norms, lines of stability, and lines of alliance or competition that could predict state instability."

The primary objective of this study is to understand how social media and traditional media can be used to effect state stability or instability.

The masses have no clue as to how far ahead of the curve the government is in relation to the control mechanisms which are being utilized against them.

AgShaman's picture

The 'Elites' are always petitioning their Ivy League minions to put out these white papers to try and "model" what the future holds in store for them/us...

Generally speaking....most theives and criminals are curious to know if they can get away with their crimes and maintain their ill-gotten booty.

Fred C Dobbs's picture

Glad to see you understand Mr. Knukles.  Most here on should turn into and/or  and listen to Alex Jones and his independent news team.  The zerohedgers that can be woken.

You are the smartest and funniest pinhead I know. 

robobbob's picture

as "independant" as far as Stratfor operatives go.

jones runs limited hang out stories as part of the controlled opposition. good source for out side of main stream news, but always remember its in the furtherance of somebody elses agenda.

has been caught in bald faced lies on several occasions.

Quus Ant's picture

Minerva is probably the name of Dick Cheney's dearly departed mother.

The guy is such a softy.

stant's picture

Everyone in the us and else where has a threat level issued to them like a fico score. Won't be here god willing when they come. Just want them to be where I want when I come.

mkkby's picture

This is all just another scam to loot gov money.  The entire military couldn't openly occupy Baghdad and prevent constant attacks.  What makes them think they can prevent a revolution on a wider scale than one city? 

Remember New Orleans?  If revolution comes to USSA the cops will abandon their posts and save themselves first. 

The NSA is also a scam.  They can spy on a few individuals and blackmail them into submission.  But the ability to collect all electronic data AND MAKE SENSE OF IT  is impossible, and should be laughed at.


Notsobadwlad's picture

Those who run the NSA seemingly believe that the use of technology in a manner that emulates the functions and ability of the creator will make them "gods".

They also seemingly believe that they need to create "purpose" for people.

More's the pity ... that is not how or why it is done.

lakecity55's picture

"No worries, Sir. Our Hi-Tech weaponry will defeat those Afghans in a month!"

Anasteus's picture

In fact, all the colected data make sense and helped them finally understand that their days are numbered. That's why the programme has been introduced.

RichardP's picture

The posts in this thread highlight the fallacious thinking that life started when I was born.

These kinds of programs were going on at the Pentagon in the early seventies and before that.  I know.  I was there.

One of the main responsibilities of the Federal Government is to maintain the peace.  The general public will never know what levels of violence have been averted in the past, both domestic and international, because they will never be told.  Because they don't need to know.  They just need to be kept as safe as possible

If I can't see it, it doesn't exist is not a good way to approach life.  Contrary to the opinions of some, most people do not know all there is to know.  That has been true forever.  Yet still the human race manages to survive.

kareninca's picture

First you say that people "don't need to know."

Then you say "If I can't see it, it doesn't exist" is not a good way to approach life.  So one should know what is going on.

Fuck you.  You can't even come up with a consistent argument for your beloved vision of a fascist police state.  Moron.

Here's a suggestion  -  actual, full information for everyone.  What a concept!!!  No, our good leaders don't want that, all for our sake.  Naturally it's not for the sake of keeping power and control themeselves, no that couldn't be the reason, no, no possibly.  Not because they are power hungry, anti-democratic control freaks.

SofaPapa's picture

The patronizing paternalism of these pricks is off the charts, no?  I've argued with one face-to-face.  It's frightening how little respect for "the people" these masters of the universe have.  For them, the people is okay only if they are controlled by "the smartest guys in the room".  This guy I used to argue with before I learned it was pointless actually used that exact phrase!  And he was talking about Obama!!!  LOL.  These are sick people.

RichardP's picture

To both responders - I was stating how things are/have been, not how they should be.  That is, I'm not advocating anything, I'm just providing perspective on what is/has been re. the subject of this thread.

Re.  Needing to know everything / should know everything:  I was not proposing that.  If you can't see it, it doesn't exist is not a call to learn everything.  It is a call to recognize and accept that things are going on whether you know about them or not.  Perhaps this is a better way of making that point in the context of this thread:  I see it now, therefore it just came into existance.  Well, no.

Re. You don't need to know.  Are you seriously arguing that the Federal Government should spend taxpayer dollars to tell us everything they do - particularly when most folks would not be informed enough to even understand what they were told about the governments activities?

Re. being ruled by the smartest guy in the room:  It is human nature for one person or group to dominate all others whenever possible.  That has been true forever.  Given this, why do you object to being ruled by the smartest guy in the room?  If you are going to be ruled by someone, why not the smartest one?  You don't actually prefer to be ruled by the dumbest one do you?

Re. the subject of this thread:  The Pentagon has not just started preparing for mass civil breakdown.  It has been preparing for this since the riots of the mid to late 1960s.  What is being reported in this thread is nothing new, and is nothing to get excited about.

SofaPapa's picture

This will be my last response, and you can take the last word if you like.  Your type usually likes to have the last word.  Fine.

You are only proving my point by missing it entirely.  You are so bought into your own premise you can't even see it.  In particular, I am speaking about the smartest guy in the room.  I will make this clear for you: these guys are not the smartest guys in the room.  In fact, they are of relatively average intelligence, and I feel quite confident that I know many many people in the circles I have crossed in my life who are equally capable of handling complex and ambiguous problems as these assholes are.  The greatest problem we face as a species is that they actually think they are so smart.  And worse yet, people like you go along.  The one thing they do have an excess of is the draw to power.  The ability to get into power, however, is not the same as the ability to solve complex issues.

Other than that, to your two other points, how much people should know and whether this has always been this way. You are correct that this is not new.  In fact, it goes back as far as our species.  Those of us arguing that the bullies in the room should leave us alone to live our lives in peace have always had this fight, and rarely have we had success.  But I'm enough of a dreamer that I can pray that some day maybe our species (or more appropriately our culture) might evolve enough that the majority of us cease accepting the word of these masters of the universe for any more than the garbage it usually is.  It's a 1-in-a-million hope, but like I said, I can dream...

As to how much people should know, you are arguing the point backwards.  This is not about how much states spend to inform the public.  That's a joke - the answer is of course zero.  It's about how much they spend to hide the truth from us.  The amount of money and resources they use to make sure that the population cannot find out what their "public servants" are doing is the point here, and it is here that the state's claim to represent the people is shown for what it is: a blatant lie.  And I give the population at large more credit than you do for their intelligence.  They know very well at this point they are being lied to.  Within the US, the lies just aren't causing enough direct damage to most people that they are motivated to action.  But the anger is simmering.  If you don't sense that, you're tone-deaf.

Have a nice day.

Sean7k's picture

Nothing forestalls violence like the belief you are already defeated. If they can convince enough people of their superiority, people will not chance the effort. Of course they cannot control the US, maybe a few cities, perhaps they can sabotage infrastructure or disperse chemical and biological weapons, but once you start mass killing the population, you have already lost the war.

I see no study for a peaceful withdrawl of acceptance or refusal to obey the laws. For the refusal to use FED notes or bank transactions. To withdraw wealth from points the government can control access. They only understand violence and thus, can only imagine a violent start and finish. 

The power of the People is acceptance of the State in all its' guises. Once this is withdrawn, the State withers and dies. 

kaiserhoff's picture

These fools clearly think the American military would murder American civilians, on orders from the criminal scum in Vichy DC.  I've know dozens of military officers, and that is NOT my opinion.

shovelhead's picture

They have been identified and won't be invited.

Where did all the Generals go?

Sean7k's picture

That's the dream, but history has a different story to tell. Worse, they are creating mechanical soldiers and targeting devices which need no soldiers except as controllers. Then, there is the possibility of foreign troops, aka UN, these troops will not care. 

Violent people only see solutions via violence. This is a weakness, not a strength. The slow, but accumulative creation of civil disobedience and rejection is a power too difficult to defeat. What would happen if 20% of the population used pm's in ALL trade? Or barter, etc? The examples are endless...

Jerome Lester Horwitz's picture

When your military is comprised of hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens who have no loyalty to the citizens of this country you will find that they will gladly follow orders to fire upon its citizens!

Arius's picture

what are you talking about???  what planer do you live on?  i guess might different where you live, but almost everywhere, people are not being convinced now of the power of the state .... dahhhh, they have seen it from the time of birth and are aware to the time of death .... unless you have been convinced otherwise, that somehow it exist to serve you and now you are suprised ... well welcome to the reality and PLS SHUT UP!

CH1's picture

The NSA is also a scam.  They can spy on a few individuals and blackmail them into submission.  But the ability to collect all electronic data AND MAKE SENSE OF IT  is impossible, and should be laughed at.

Dude, you have NO IDEA what you're talking about. It's worse than you know.