Private military firms and the Department of Defense are the United States military technology complex. Here's a look at virtual modeling and simulation environment, cybersecurity, and robotics contracts between US DoD and private military firms in July 2009, and also one study done between a private military firm and one Harvard professor.

July 13, 2009 -
Booz Allen Hamilton, Herndon, Va., was awarded $16,424,272 contract to provide Defense Logistics Agency with logistics enterprise security, cyber situational awareness of emerging cyber threats and network intrusions within DLA boundaries.  55th Contracting Squadron, Offutt Air Force Base is the contracting activity (SP0700-98-D-4002). (((( Booz Allen Hamilton conducted a study with Harvard University Professor Steven Kelman that "provides insight on organizational strategies that work best for delivering effective, meaningful change in government."))))

July 17, 2009 -
"Northrop Grumman, as part of a cooperative research and development agreement (CRADA) with USJFCOM (United States Joint Forces Command) is providing virtual human-in-the-loop physics-based platform and sensor simulations and contributing technologies to EC09 that enhance ISR utilization in the execution of irregular warfare military operations.... 'The virtual modeling and simulation environment provided by Northrop Grumman and exercised by the USJFCOM warfighters adds robustness to live demonstrations and provides the analytical underpinning in evaluating alternative net centric ISR architectures,' said Chris Frangos, chief architect of advanced programs and technology for Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems sector.... Virtual simulation is used in place of live assets to exercise and experiment with new tactics, techniques and procedures (TTP)."

July 30, 2009 -
iRobot Corp., Bedford, Mass., is being awarded a $13,481,433 firm-fixed-price cost-plus-fixed-fee, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for the procurement of man transportable robotic system (MTRS) production systems, depot level repair parts, spare kits, depot repair services, parts supply, training, engineering enhancements, configuration management, and approved accessories for the Army, (58 percent) and Navy, (42 percent).  The MTRS is a small robotic vehicle used by explosive ordnance disposal technicians to conduct remote reconnaissance, render safe, and/or dispose of explosive devices.  Work will be performed in Bedford, Mass., and is expected to be completed by July 2010.  Contract funds in the amount of $150,000 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year.  This contract was not competitively procured.  The Naval Surface Warfare Center, Indian Head Division, Indian Head, Md., is the contracting activity (N00174-09-D-0005).

July 2009. A historic month for one Harvard professor, Booz Allen Hamilton, iRobot Corp., Northrop Grumman, the United States Joint Forces Command, and the respected others. And it was a little over a month ago. Not often are press releases like these given the spotlight. When I read these pieces of information I "tumbled down the rabbit hole," if you will. I read on, and then further past other DoD technology contracts until arriving at the conclusion this is how international relations nowadays works-- the private sector is a strong player in United States defense programs and international relations (IR).  In other words, private firms and technology drive United States IR and even influence academic, or institutional, studies. To what ends? I question. But I can only imagine.

And I wonder, in the words of P. W. Singer, if "our machines may not be the only thing wired for war."