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Science and Environment

Purdue Officials: New Defense Institute Will Target Dollars, Not The School

Purdue University

Purdue University plans to build on its defense and security interests by creating a hub that'll focus those interactions.

University administrators Thursday announced creation of the Institute for Global Security and Defense Innovation.

It’s designed to lure more investment from the likes of private companies such as Rolls-Royce – which builds engines for fighter planes -- to the federal government’s shadowy Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA.

But even though President-elect Donald Trump spent significant time on the campaign trail trying to sound more hawkish on defense than President Obama, Institute Interim Director Dan DeLaurentis says he doesn’t think the change in administrations is either good or bad for the new center.

“The threats that we’re facing and the need to understand all the various new technologies that we could be leveraging, those are not going to go away," he says. "So I really don’t think that the new administration will have a direct impact on the goals of the Institute.”

Purdue received more than $50 million in the last fiscal year for military research.

DeLaurentis says the Institute will focus on such issues as cybersecurity and  autonomous vehicles, which could include unmanned aircraft tested at Purdue’s airport.

He adds he doesn’t think touting Purdue as a hub of defense-related work will lead the nation’s enemies to target the school or the City of West Lafayette.