Eisenhower's Worst NightmareRoundup
tags: military history, Eisenhower, military industrial complex
William D. Hartung, a TomDispatch regular, is the director of the Arms and Security Project at the Center for International Policy and the author ofProphets of War: Lockheed Martin and the Making of the Military-Industrial Complex.
When, in his farewell address in 1961, President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned of the dangers of the “unwarranted influence” wielded by the “military-industrial complex,” he could never have dreamed of an arms-making corporation of the size and political clout of Lockheed Martin. In a good year, it now receives up to $50 billion in government contracts, a sum larger than the operating budget of the State Department. And now it’s about to have company.
Raytheon, already one of the top five U.S. defense contractors, is planning to merge with United Technologies. That company is a major contractor in its own right, producing, among other things, the engine for the F-35 combat aircraft, the most expensive Pentagon weapons program ever. The new firm will be second only to Lockheed Martin when it comes to consuming your tax dollars -- and it may end up even more powerful politically, thanks to President Trump’s fondness for hiring arms industry executives to run the national security state.
Just as Boeing benefited from its former Senior Vice President Patrick Shanahan’s stint as acting secretary of defense, so Raytheon is likely to cash in on the nomination of its former top lobbyist, Mike Esper, as his successor. Esper’s elevation comes shortly after another former Raytheon lobbyist, Charles Faulkner, left the State Department amid charges that he had improperly influenced decisions to sell Raytheon-produced guided bombs to Saudi Arabia for its brutal air war in Yemen. John Rood, third-in-charge at the Pentagon, has worked for both Lockheed Martin and Raytheon, while Ryan McCarthy, Mike Esper’s replacement as secretary of the Army, worked for Lockheed on the F-35, which the Project on Government Oversight (POGO) has determined may never be ready for combat.
And so it goes. There was a time when Donald Trump was enamored of “his” generals -- Secretary of Defense James Mattis (a former board member of the weapons-maker General Dynamics), National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster, and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly. Now, he seems to have a crush on personnel from the industrial side of the military-industrial complex.
As POGO’s research has demonstrated, the infamous “revolving door” that deposits defense executives like Esper in top national security posts swings both ways. The group estimates that, in 2018 alone, 645 senior government officials -- mostly from the Pentagon, the uniformed military, and Capitol Hill -- went to work as executives, consultants, or board members of one of the top 20 defense contractors.
comments powered by Disqus
- Samuel Chase: The one Supreme Court justice who has ever been impeached
- Maryland Commission Sets Out To Investigate State's Lynching History
- How Joe Biden has Historically Played a Role in Mass Incarceration in the United States
- Crazy Horse Monument to Native American History is Built on Controversy
- William F. Buckley Jr. vs. James Baldwin: A racial showdown on the American dream
- Allen C. Guelzo Reviews Sidney Blumenthal's Latest Installment of His Biography of Lincoln
- What Reconstruction-Era Laws Can Teach Our Democracy: The NY Times Reviews Eric Foner's Latest Book
- Should historians read their own book?
- Cokie Roberts, Pioneering Journalist Who Helped Shape NPR, Dies At 75
- Russ & Daughters History Goes on Display in New York