2017 Was a Banner Year for the Arms Industry, by Harry Blain

Here is reassuring news if you were worried about Lockheed-Martin or General Dynamics’ ability to meet their payrolls. From Harry Blain at antiwar.com:

Arms companies have had a good year.

The top 100 learned in July that their annual revenues amounted to a healthy $364.8 billion, with American companies – as usual – dominating. While the military itself has suffered several calamities – the apparent murder of a Green Beret by two Navy SEALs in Mali in June, the deadly crash of the U.S.S. John McCain near Malaysia in August, the killing of four Special Forces troops in Niger in October, – the contractors have thrived.

The author of The Art of the Deal has helped.

$110 billion from Saudi Arabia, $2.4 billion from austerity-ravaged Greece, $1.4 billion from Taiwan – all these deals have been set in motion by the Trump White House. Even if they’re not completely fulfilled, as can often be the case in such an opaque and unpredictable market, the financial outlook for America’s arms companies will keep making other (less lethal) industries look like mom-and-pop stores.

“Last time I checked they were on our side”

But the real victory is political. One voice at the top of the Pentagon is, in the long run, far more valuable than a big, new F-35 contract – and this is where President Trump has been so useful to the makers and sellers of weapons.

Well before the Thanksgiving break, the Senate had already confirmed that the new No.2 at the Pentagon will come from the executive council of Boeing; and the new Army undersecretary from the vice presidency of Lockheed Martins F-35 sustainment program.

The new undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology, and logistics – a central role in deciding what the Pentagon purchases and from whom – comes from the very top job at Textron Systems, the 16th largest arms company in the world. On November 15, Raytheon didn’t miss out on the action, with its vice president of governmental relations confirmed as Army Secretary.

In all of these cases, notwithstanding a smattering of tough questions, senators haven’t thought twice. By margins of 89-6, 92-7, and simple voice votes, these confirmations have been anything but grillings.

 

To continue reading: 2017 Was a Banner Year for the Arms Industry

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