The planned merger between Raytheon and United Technologies will only further consolidate a bloated military-industrial complex.
That’s the take of William D. Hartung, the director of the Arms and Security Project at the Center for International Policy.
He is is the author, most recently, of a Nation magazine article titled Defense Contractors Are Tightening Their Grip on Our Government.
“When you build one of those huge, industrial defense conglomerates like we have in Lockheed Martin, they multiply their power,” Hartung told Corporate Crime Reporter in an interview last week. “They have more money to make campaign contributions, more money to spend on lobbying, they have more facilities in more states and Congressional districts and thus they have leverage over more members of Congress. They can drive a better bargain for themselves with the Pentagon.”
“And also, you have the revolving door. Most notably you have a former Raytheon lobbyist, Mike Esper, who is now Secretary of Defense. You had a former Raytheon lobbyist, Charles Faulkner, at the State Department, who lobbied for arms sales for Saudi Arabia – bombs – Raytheon products – they were going to use in Yemen. He left under a cloud.”
“This is just a small proportion of what is out there. Hundreds of people go back and forth every year – either from the Pentagon to the major contractors or from the contractors into government. The revolving door swings both ways. You have this elite that works back and forth. If you are at the Pentagon and used to work at Lockheed Martin you might look more favorably on Lockheed Martin. If you come from the Pentagon and go to Lockheed Martin, you can use your connections with your former colleagues to try and get a better deal for your company.”
“And perhaps most insidious, if you are at the Pentagon and are looking ahead to employment in the defense industry, you may go lightly on the companies because you are going to turn around in a few years and be asking them for a job where you will make a lot more money than in government.”
Who are the top five Pentagon contractors?