Christian Sorensen: Military Contract Literacy

Understanding the War Industry by Christian Sorensen

Screenshot by Dandelion Salad via Flickr

by Christian Sorensen
Writer, Dandelion Salad
July 3, 2020

C.P. Sorensen on Jun 27, 2020

I analyze three military contracts from Friday, 26 June 2020, and explain some features of the U.S. military-industrial-congressional triangle (popularly known as the military-industrial complex).

There were 29 distinct contracts or contract modifications issued on 26 June 2020. The contracts are available at the Pentagon’s website.


Good evening. This series analyzes a few contracts from one day of U.S. military contracting in order to promote an understanding of the U.S. war industry. We analyze contracts from Friday, 26 June 2020, and explain along the way some features of the U.S. military-industrial-congressional triangle.

There were 29 distinct contracts or contract modifications issued on June 26, 2020. I analyze three of them.

Saudi Arabia purchased over $2.2 billion of radar from Raytheon of Woburn, Massachusetts. Included in this purchase are radar spares, obsolescence design, sustainment services, and initial contractor logistics support. Money is the tie that binds the Saudi regime and Washington, D.C. The kleptocracies in the Gulf, including Oman, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, the UAE, and Saudi Arabia, purchase goods and services from the U.S. war industry. That is one reason why D.C. supports these anti-democratic regimes.

The product purchased from Raytheon is a radar used for defense against ballistic missiles. It works together with Lockheed Martin’s THAAD missile system to intercept descending missiles. Products from the U.S. war industry have had mediocre results intercepting missiles coming from Yemen. The Saudi regime backed by London and D.C. has been bombing Yemen since March 2015. The military-industrial-congressional triangle frames the conflict in Yemen as necessary in order to deter Iran. Iran is one of the enemies-of-the-day, which the military-industrial-congressional triangle invokes in order to justify high military budgets, global domination, and endless purchases of goods and services from the war industry.

Note that this Raytheon contract includes purchase of “obsolescence design.” As recently as a couple years ago, war corporations didn’t charge for “obsolescence design.” It is a new category of profit, saying, essentially, we will keep an eye on our products becoming obsolete and work hard (and charge you for) preventing this obsolescence.

The second contract I analyze today is $132 million to General Dynamics Bath Iron Works in Bath, Maine, to “fund capital expenditure projects for shipbuilder and supplier industrial base efforts.” This is for the USS Arleigh Burke class destroyer program. Funding addresses “supply chain fragility and to ensure future readiness for the fleet.”

Huntington Ingalls, the other major ship manufacturer in the U.S. war industry, also got a contract like this on Friday the 26th for work in Pascagoula, Mississippi. These contracts are part of an overall push by the Pentagon and the war industry to keep the industrial base afloat and bail out war corporations during the COVID-19 pandemic. No such attention is given to the U.S. working class. There’s plenty of money to go around. Just look at how much money is spent annually on war, and how much money the government has given corporations during the recent pandemic. Both political factions – the red team and the blue team – prioritize the wants of Corporate America over the needs of the American public.

The third contract I analyze today is Arcticom LLC (Anchorage, AK) receiving $18.7 million to extend services in support of Naval Special Warfare Command (NSWC) enterprise requirements for NSW Preparatory Course training. I mention this contract because the war industry views special operations forces as a profitable sector of the racket of war. Towns where Special Operations Command branches are located (Coronado, CA; Fayetteville, NC; Tampa, FL) are booming industry hubs to where capitalists flock looking to make millions off of the flood of funding the Pentagon is allocating to technology for special operations forces.

These are just three contracts from the 29 issued on Friday, June 26, 2020. I encourage everyone to take five minutes out of every day to visit the Pentagon’s website — — and look at how your tax dollars are spent.

Christian Sorensen is a novelist and independent journalist. His work focuses on the U.S. war industry. His new book is Understanding the War Industry. Support Christian on Patreon. His website is War Industry Muster.

From the archives:

Abby Martin: Afghanistan War Exposed—Part 2: An Imperial Conspiracy

The Top Driving Force Behind Wars Is The War Industry, by David Swanson

Abby Martin: Afghanistan, The Forever War—Part I: From The Killing Fields

Will Griffin: United States Still Largest Weapons Exporter in the World + Green Jobs VS Military Jobs

Christian Sorensen: War Industry Muster–Intro to Foreign Military Sales (FMS)

Christian Sorensen: War Industry Muster–Why Work for the War Industry? + Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab is a Part of the War Industry

Christian Sorensen: War Industry Muster–The Corporate Underpinnings of the Special Relationship

Christian Sorensen: War Industry Muster–War Is A Racket

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

Will Griffin: Militarism is Capitalism