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Pentagon Backs Off From Official's 'Star Wars' Line

May 13, 1986|Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon today distanced itself from Under Secretary of Defense Donald Hicks' statement that he opposes granting research funds to opponents of the "Star Wars" program.

"It is not Department of Defense policy to review researchers' opinions prior to awarding them contracts," said Pentagon spokesman Jack Powers, reading a prepared statement. "Awards to researchers are made strictly on a merit basis."

In an interview published in Science magazine April 25, Hicks said that "the Department of Defense is given money for defense. Those who want to accept money to help us with the programs we need, we want to have. But I don't particularly view it as appropriate when somebody says we don't like the way you're running the department but we sure like your money."

"I have a tough time with disloyalty," he said. "We are in a situation where we are trying to protect the United States against a power that would like to soak us up. A lot of people don't believe that, but I know it's true."

In confirmation hearings before the Senate Armed Services Committee last July 25, Hicks said: "I am not particularly interested in seeing department money going some place where an individual is outspoken in his rejection of department aims, even for research."

The Pentagon statement on the remarks said "the reporter for Science and the congressional committee members had asked for Dr. Hicks' hypothetical opinion, which he provided to them."

"Dr. Hicks is accurately quoted. However, it must be understood that he is speaking hypothetically," the Pentagon statement said.

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