TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Direct and Indirect Military Spending

Direct and Indirect Military Spending
8 Apr 2007 20:56:18 -0700

I would like to expand what I mentioned earlier about the Defense
Department supporting the early growth of the Internet and its

I divide military spending into two categories, direct and indirect.

What I call Direct would be for direct military purchases, like guns,
tanks, and the like. That may or may not have civilian benefit. The
Jeep certainly did, originally developed as a military vehicle, it
found widespread civilian use to this day. Certain engines in tanks
were later used in civilian commercial vehicles. The makers of Tang
beverage drink claim this, I don't know if the claim is true.

An example would be IBM's SAGE computer used for invasion radar
control tracking. This was not something civilians bought. However,
IBM learned a great deal from developing the project which helped in
subsequent civilian products.

What I call Indirect would be generally supporting a product
purchaseable by anyone, but getting a boost by the defense purchase.
I call the Internet predecessor part of this. Or, products purchased
by defense contractors to enable them to do a contract.

An earlier example would be IBM's first computer, the 701. It was a
civilian product with no direct military involvement. But it was
purchased mostly by companies and organizations with defense business,
such as fighter jet aerospace companies or nuclear research labs.

The old Bell System was a major defense contractor, in both plain
communication systems and advanced electronics, such as fire control.
I am not sure if any of the many products Bell Labs/Western Electric
did in WW II or later inspired a civilian product or benefit. AFAIK
almost all civilian telephone entities were expressly developed for
such purpose. (Perhaps the 4 ESS, the toll switching machine was done
for Autovon first???)

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