|by James L.
[Note: This is a re-formatted manuscript that was originally published in
On the Horizon, 1992, 1(1), 3. It is posted here with permission
from Jossey Bass
"Defense conversion" once meant turning missile plants into factories, but
this year it has taken on a much broader meaning that encompasses an overall
plan for restructuring the economy and the nation's defense. Proposals range
from broad spending packages targeted at creating new jobs and assisting
hard-hit communities and workers, to trimming taxes and opposing calls for
deeper Pentagon cuts. According to Senator Phil Gramm, what we're experiencing
is the beginning of a new debate that will continue through the next decade:
What do we do with all the money we used to spend on defense? The House's fiscal
1993 budget resolution, approved March 5, includes spending up to $6.6 billion
for conversion projects such as community development, worker retraining and
research aid, and more spending on housing and transportation. [Fessler, P.
(1992). Hill struggles to assist victims of post-cold war budget cuts. CQ,
The debate over utilizing the peace dividend exists because it will not allow
us to attend to everything (reduce taxes, reduce deficit, rebuild the nation's
infra-structure, attend to social and educational needs, repair the environment,
and jump-start the economy) without pain to one constituency or another,
including our own. However, higher education has an opportunity to generate
integrative/collaborative solutions with governmental agencies and corporations,
and therefore provide a service to society and obtain additional support.