Christian Sorensen: War Industry Muster–War Is A Racket

War is Money (Encourage people to consider how our socio-economic-cultural system incentivizes and rewards aggressions and other harmful behaviors/activities.)

Image by Robert F. W. Whitlock via Flickr

by Christian Sorensen
Writer, Dandelion Salad
March 26, 2019

On Industry Leadership

C.P. Sorensen on Mar 19, 2019

The U.S. war industry is comprised of the corporations that develop, market, and sell goods and services to the Pentagon and allied regimes around the world.

In this episode of War Industry Muster, we analyze three contracts from the first week of February 2019. These contracts educate us about the leadership within the war industry, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, and the extent to which war corporations cooperate.

War Industry Muster — 11 February 2019

C.P. Sorensen on Mar 19, 2019

In this episode of War Industry Muster, we analyze three contracts from 11 February 2019, available at: https://dod.defense.gov/News/Contracts/Contract-View/Article/1754592/

These contracts educate us about many topics: the AEGIS weapon system, hyping threats to obtain greater profits, the many corporations that work on the F-35, conflicts of interest within the Pentagon, and the Pentagon’s ongoing audit.

Militarization of Space

C.P. Sorensen on Mar 19, 2019

In this episode of War Industry Muster, we analyze how the U.S. war industry militarizes space. We learn about corporate infrastructure and the ways in which war corporations sustain endless war.

All information was distilled from: https://dod.defense.gov/News/Contracts/

Locations and “Jobs”

C.P. Sorensen on Mar 19, 2019

In this episode of War Industry Muster, we analyze how the U.S. war industry corrupts U.S. Congress. We focus on how war corporations spread out production facilities across Congressional districts, and how these corporations play the “jobs” card with corrupt Senators and Representatives.

Transcript:

On February 26th, 2019, Raytheon sold the Pentagon $25 million worth of work on its Tomahawk missiles.

This contract teaches us a lot about how the war industry operates.

The U.S. war industry is comprised of the corporations that produce, market, and sell weapons of war to the Pentagon and allied regimes.

Raytheon’s work on the Tomahawk missile takes place in over forty locations across the United States.

These locations include everywhere from El Segundo, California; to Walled Lake, Michigan; to Addison County (Vergennes), Vermont.

But why? Why spread out the production of a weapon of war across the United States? Why not produce it in one facility?

This gets to the heart of the ways that war corporations corrupt U.S. Congress.

War corporations spread production of major weapons of war across Congressional districts because doing so ingratiates the war corporation with the politicians.

The U.S. war industry spreads production facilities across Congressional districts in order to prepare the terrain, leveraging the “jobs card” to co-opt Senators and Representatives.

U.S. politicians and their war industry bosses are now quite proficient at claiming the “defense industry” creates “jobs, jobs, jobs.”

All major war corporations rig the terrain in the same fashion. Raytheon is not alone.

For example…

The LPD (which stands for landing platform, dock) is a new, over-budget ship being built by Huntington Ingalls. Huntington Ingalls spreads work on the LPD across twenty-three locations, including Brunswick, GA; Carson, CA; Columbus, OH; Devens, MA: Grand Rapids, MI; Mayport, FL; Mossville, IL.

Northrop Grumman spreads work on the MQ-4C drone across at least fourteen locations in the U.S., including Baltimore, MD; Bridgeport, WV; Newton, ND; Palmdale, CA; Red Oak, TX; and Salt Lake City, UT.

Lockheed Martin constructs one littoral combat ship in over forty-five locations.

Production locations for Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter—a weapon system projected to cost the taxpayer roughly $1.5 trillion during the course of its lifetime—are distributed across nearly every U.S. state, from New York to California, Montana to Arizona.

“Jobs, jobs, jobs,” the corrupt politicians say.

(Meanwhile both parties encourage policies and pass laws that gut the U.S. manufacturing base, export jobs, and automate the rest. Pretending to care about the working class is one shared trait between the D.C. political class and the war corporations that pay them.)

“Jobs, jobs, jobs”

Lockheed Martin is a master of playing the jobs card. Its corporate literature frequently boasts of adding jobs. Recent boasts include “Lockheed Martin Meets 1,800 Employee Hiring Commitment; Plans to Add 400 More Jobs in Fort Worth,” and “Lockheed Martin Could Add 2,400 Jobs in Six Years.”

Lockheed Martin also regularly boasts that the F-35 program “supports 194,000 direct and indirect jobs nationwide.”

Take caution when hearing a war corporation throw the word “jobs” around. War industry jobs they speak of are never what they seem.

  1. These “jobs” are mostly part-time, temporary, and/or menial (painters, welders, roustabout, etc.), parsed out to an increasingly desperate workforce that has been devastated by D.C.’s bipartisan austerity measures, outsourcing and automating of jobs, the degrading so-called “gig economy,” and neoliberal economic policies in general.
  2. Some jobs are construction jobs—maybe building a new hangar at Hill AFB, for example—and these jobs are gone in a year or so.
  3. The “jobs” about which the war industry boasts always lack robust labor rights, including no hardy collective bargaining powers, or lengthy maternity and paternity leave.
  4. The “jobs” about which the war industry boasts are often not new jobs at all. They’re just shuffled from one sector of the war industry to another. They’re not new.
  5. Worst yet, the jobs that the war industry includes in its totals are often already filled. In its job tallies, a war corporation might include people already doing a job, like producing, for example, a wire that happens to also be used in a weapon of war. The wire is being produced regardless of whether or not a war corporation is purchasing it, yet executives in the war corporation include this in job counts. The wire manufacturer is not a new job; it is a job that exists and happens to produce something that the war industry can use.
  6. War corporations produce some direct jobs (jobs of long-term employment at a war corporation plant), but these jobs are relatively few and far between. The ones that pay well require advanced degrees, which the majority of the population does not have. Most jobs within corporate tallies are indirect jobs (like the microchips being manufactured in East Asia—not U.S. jobs) or induced jobs (like the “gig economy” participant who is driving her own car at less-than-minimum wage, shuttling the corporation’s physicist to and from work, or the waiter at the Tucson restaurant where the missile engineer dines). In short, U.S. war executives are full of it.

The war industry can inflate job numbers because there is no accountability. The lawmakers work for the war industry. This is what happens when corporations capture government.

Lockheed Martin’s F-35 is a good case in point.

Lockheed Martin includes in its tallies jobs that are barely tangential to the F-35 aircraft.

Third party manufacturers that are already in business, for example, are often included in Lockheed Martin’s total jobs count.

This is like saying, “Kevin Bacon worked with 194,000 actors on his last project,” and you’re including in your count all of the workers who never arrived on set, let alone saw Kevin Bacon. You’re including every employee of the timber company from which the movie’s producers purchased wood. You’re including all of the employees of the cosmetics company, even though only two of them sold products to Hair & Makeup. You’re including the crew of the ship from the Netherlands that imported flowers, which eventually adorned the movie stars’ dressing rooms.

So the next time a major war corporation claims it is creating jobs, take the number they give you and cut it in half.

All of this talk of “jobs, jobs, jobs” redirects our eyes away from a crucial point: all of the money—roughly $1.09 trillion each year—that D.C. spends on war and preparation for war ultimately loses jobs because a decent portion of that $1.09 trillion could have otherwise gone to public services. The jobs lost, which could have gone to the public good, include teachers educating our youth, manual laborers improving our public transportation, permaculturists improving our cityscapes, scientists tackling the energy crisis, and specialists helping fellow humans acquire affordable housing.

In other words, jobs are lost when tax dollars are funneled into the commerce of endless war. Starved governmental services are sacrificed further in order to support an already-profitable war industry. What public good would you improve with all of this money?

Talk of “jobs, jobs, jobs” ignores another obvious fact, which Professor Seymour Melman pointed out long ago: The “size of military expenditures and expenditures for military research are systematically, but negatively, correlated with productivity growth.” And, Melman points out, unlike other products, you can’t eat, consume, play with, learn from, or interact with most goods & services sold by the U.S. war industry. Simply put, the war industry hurts growth and builds tons of shit that most people cannot use or benefit from.

The claim that the “defense” industry brings “jobs, jobs, jobs” is a stale public relations ploy. It hides the truth that needs to be repeated: spending on healthcare, education, or clean energy creates more jobs than spending on war, as U-Mass Amherst’s Political Economy Research Institute has pointed out time and time again.

The Raytheon Tomahawk contract from February 26th, 2019 has shown us one of the tricks that war corporations use to dominate Congress. This trick (spreading production across Congressional districts) is in place long before war corporations bribe politicians with campaign finance or send legions of lobbyists to Capitol Hill.

Until the U.S. citizenry wake up and recognize the racket of endless war for what it is, U.S. society will continue to be militarized, Washington will continue to send your sons & daughters, brothers & sisters off to fight in optional wars, and the ruling oligarchy will continue to ignore your basic needs like healthcare, clean air and water, quality education, and good-paying non-militant jobs.

War is a racket.

Mergers and Acquisitions

C.P. Sorensen on Mar 19, 2019

In this episode of War Industry Muster, I analyze recent mergers and acquisitions within the U.S. war industry.

All information was distilled from: https://dod.defense.gov/News/Contracts/

Link

Transcript:

Today we discuss mergers and acquisitions in the U.S. war industry and consequences of industry consolidation.

The 1990s witnessed a lot of mergers and acquisitions in the U.S. war industry.

The U.S. war industry, as you know, is comprised of the corporations that develop, market, and sell goods and services to the Pentagon and allied regimes.

Some of the bigger moves of the nineties were…

  • Boeing merging with McDonnell Douglas.
  • Lockheed acquiring Martin Marietta.
  • And Raytheon gobbling up Hughes Aircraft.

Conventional insight says that the end of the Cold War necessitated a lower war budget, forcing the U.S. war industry to respond by consolidating.

But in fact, the war industry fought tooth and nail to keep the war budget above $250 billion (roughly $386 billion in today’s dollars).

The war industry—along with its public relations apparatuses, think tanks, and media allies—hyped up the “threat” of Saddam Hussein as an excuse for the Pentagon to maintain a constellation of bases across the Persian Gulf. It also pushed for the militarized War on Drugs, devastating the Western Hemisphere, from Bolivia and Colombia to Main Street, USA.

Inevitable results of 1990s mergers and acquisitions included: 1) the industry becoming more susceptible to shareholder pressure and insatiable Wall Street investment firms; and 2) the industry pursuing more foreign military sales (FMS), including more and more sales to despotic regimes like Mubarak’s Egypt and the Saudi regime.

The industry also institutionalized the privatization of military services in the 1990s; jobs that once were carried out by the uniformed solider, sailor, airman, and Marine (everything from mowing lawns to signals intelligence to combat) were now in the private domain, up for grabs to the shrewdest corporation.

The Clinton White House, a country club of neoliberal ideology, was fully onboard. It supported these changes wholeheartedly.

By the end of the 1990s, three beasts remained dominant, hogging about two-thirds of the industrial power: Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and Raytheon.

When the dust settled the Pentagon had less leverage over the war industry, because, in part, these three corporate beasts were the only game in town.

By now monsters like Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and Raytheon should be household names. Among their anti-democratic activities are: pushing for endless war by lobbying your Senators and Congressional Representatives, bribing your elected officials with campaign contributions and dark money, donating money to think tanks to obtain scurrilous pseudo-academic studies supporting endless war, and funding colleges and university to co-opt the finest minds in the nation.

Why is this history and context so important?

Because recent years have seen a return to the mergers and acquisitions in the war industry that plagued the 1990s.

Recent mergers and acquisitions include:

  • AECOM buying URS in October 2014
  • PAE acquired A-T Solutions (Tysons Corner, VA) in 2015.
  • Northrop Grumman buying Orbital ATK in 2017.
  • General Dynamics buying CSRA (an IT corporation) in 2018.
  • United Technologies bought Rockwell Collins ($23 billion-$30 billion) in 2018.

SAIC is now buying Engility, an IT powerhouse.

Harris and L3 are now merging into L3 Harris Technologies Inc. (Melbourne, FL). This new $33.5 billion corporation will now jump into direct competition with beasts like Raytheon.

Now, Parsons is buying OGSystems, and Textron bought Howe & Howe Technologies (Maine corporation).

I will link below to a document I compiled summarizing the goods and services each of these corporations sells the Pentagon and allied regimes. You can then see what their respective pairings produce.

These mergers and acquisitions will continue to put more and more power into the hands of war corporations and Wall Street—altogether furthering the need for endless war as a means of keeping profits up.

Industry Cooperation

C.P. Sorensen on Mar 25, 2019

War corporations cooperate more than they compete.

Transcript:

For starters, war corporations lobby together and bribe U.S. Congress together via campaign contributions, political action committees, and dark money. War corporations fund think tanks together. War corporations recruit retired generals and admirals together. And war corporations place executives in the Pentagon’s leadership together.

Joint ventures are another area in which war corporations cooperate. A joint venture is a partnership between corporations. Joint ventures allow corporations to share expertise and/or pool their resources. Prominent joint ventures in the U.S. war industry include:

– United Launch Services (a.k.a. United Launch Alliance) – which is Lockheed Martin and Boeing together selling satellite launch services;
– Javelin LV – Raytheon and Lockheed Martin together selling portable anti-tank missiles;
– Longbow LLC – Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin together selling fire control radar and missiles (to be used on Boeing’s AH-64 attack helicopter);
– Range Generation Next (RGNext) – General Dynamics and Raytheon together selling operations and sustainment of space launch sites;

Cooperation is fundamental to the U.S. war industry. Textron (Bell) and Boeing have teamed up to develop, manufacture, and sell the V-22 aircraft, which takes off like a helicopter, rotates its engines in mid-flight, and flies long distances like a conventional fixed-wing prop plane. Boeing and General Motors have teamed up to run HRL Laboratories, a corporate R&D organization.

Regimes allied to the U.S. war industry get into the mix as well: General Dynamics and the Israeli war corporation Elbit Systems work together in a joint venture known as UAS Dynamics LLC, which develops and sells a variety of drones.

The U.K. corporation Rolls-Royce (a North American branch of which is in Indianapolis, IN) sells turbine engines for Textron’s Landing Craft, Air Cushion. Boeing and the Swedish corporation Saab develop the U.S. Air Force’s primary training jet, the T-X. These joint ventures and teams show how war corporations profit more than they compete.

Another way war corporations cooperate more than they compete is through producing goods and services for one another’s products.

For example, Lockheed Martin sells the Pentagon refurbishment support services for Boeing’s AH-64 Apache attack helicopter. Boeing sells the Pentagon services on Lockheed Martin helicopters, like the MH-60. Northrop Grumman sells receiver transmitter processors used on Lockheed Martin C-130 aircraft.

Corporate boasts are instructive. When asked about how Northrop Grumman can compete in producing missiles against established powerhouses like Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and Raytheon, a Northrop Grumman executive named Ken Todorov stated: “Every one of those companies,” Northrop Grumman “is already working with today.”

Todorov was speaking to Vago Muradian of the Defense & Aerospace Report. As a general Todorov was deputy director of the Missile Defense Agency. He left the military and joined Northrop Grumman where he Missile Defense portfolio. Smooth. Unfortunately the majority of 3- and 4-star generals and admirals these days retire and go right into high-ranking positions at war corporations or as lobbyists for war corporations.

Another way war corporations work together is on the same contract.

For example, the three giants—Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, and Northrop Grumman—”provide autonomous acquisition and persistent precision tracking and discrimination” in order to, as the Pentagon’s contract announcement asserts, “optimize the defensive capability of the Ballistic Missile Defense system and counter evolving threats.”

Issued 10 July 2018, this contract for the Missile Defense Agency was worth a potential $4.1 billion. Elsewhere and ominously, eight giants of the war industry (BAE, Boeing, General Atomics, Harris Corp., Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, and United Technologies) come together to form a collaborative working group, to work as a “single extended entity” to develop and manage Open Architecture standards “via pre-planned product improvement initiatives.” Those contracts were issued 27 Dec 2018 and 2 Jan 2019.

Lobbying Capitol Hill, bribing U.S. Congress, teaming up in joint ventures, producing goods and services for one another, and teaming up on the same contract are some of the ways in which war corporations cooperate more than they compete.

Such is the racket. And all war corporations are in it together.


Christian Sorensen is a novelist and independent journalist. His work focuses on the U.S. war industry. Support Christian on Patreon.

From the archives:

Will Griffin: How the U.S. Military Shaped Global Capitalism

Will Griffin: Militarism is Capitalism

Anything War Can Do, Peace Can Do Better by David Swanson

What If Governments Obeyed Laws? by David Swanson + Merchants of Death: How the Military-Industrial Complex Profits from Endless War

Capitalism Is Always At War by William T. Hathaway

David Swanson: The More The US Spends On Weapons, The Less Safe We Are

War = Capitalism, Capitalism = War by William Bowles

End Game: The War Machine Goes On, Part 4 by Arthur D. Robbins

The Great American Perpetual Motion War Machine by Greg Maybury

Smedley Butler: I Was A Racketeer, A Gangster For Capitalism

War Is A Racket By Major General Smedley Butler

3 thoughts on “Christian Sorensen: War Industry Muster–War Is A Racket

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  3. Pingback: Will Griffin: The Treaty to Prevent War in Outer Space: P.A.R.O.S. – Dandelion Salad

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