Howard University Will Be First HBCU to Lead a Military Research Center

The Department of Defense is giving Howard University $12 million per year for five years to launch a university-affiliated U.S. Air Force research center.
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  • Howard is the 15th school to lead a university-affiliated research center. It will be sponsored by the U.S. Air Force.
  • Howard will lead an association of eight other HBCUs in tactical autonomy technology.
  • The Department of Defense is awarding Howard $12 million per year for five years toward the research center.

Howard University in Washington, D.C., will become the first historically Black college and university (HBCU) to lead a university-affiliated research center (UARC). The center is sponsored by the U.S. Air Force.

The 15th UARC's mission will be to create or maintain focus on tactical autonomy technology for DOD and Air Force missions, the Department of Defense (DOD) announced on Jan. 23. Howard will receive $12 million per year for five years.

According to the DOD, each UARC is a nonprofit research organization that serves a different domain of expertise or specialization.

"We need a team of decision-makers, researchers, scientists, engineers, and leaders who are committed to security and liberty and are excited to work on some of the world's most important problems," Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall said in the release. "If those with the intent to preserve peace don't solve these technical challenges first, those with malign intent will acquire a significant advantage."

Howard will also lead an association of HBCUs to advance autonomy technology and grow and diversify the pool of scientists and engineers.

About 30% of African American science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) professionals graduate from an HBCU, Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III said in the DOD article. However, only a small fraction of DOD research funding goes to HBCUs. He said he's looking to change that.

"To sharpen America's technological edge and to strengthen America's outstanding military, the department is committed to investing even more in HBCUs and minority-serving institutions," said Austin. "Today, we're taking that commitment to a new level."

HBCUs That Howard Will Lead:

  • Jackson State University, Mississippi
  • Tuskegee University, Alabama
  • Hampton University, Virginia
  • Bowie State University, Maryland
  • Norfolk State University, Virginia
  • Delaware State University, Delaware
  • Florida Memorial University, Florida
  • Tougaloo College, Mississippi

"America is at its best when we knock down barriers, when we search for great ideas wherever they reside and when we draw on the full talents of the American people — all of the American people," Austin said in the article.

"So to Howard and the other schools in the consortium, thank you for lifting up the next generation. Thank you for all that you do for our outstanding men and women in uniform. And thank you for making our democracy more secure."