Jan 3, 2018

Making America Great $100s million per DoD Contract

Every day the U.S. Department of Defense announces new defense contracts valued at $7 million or more.

The daily new contract numbers are astounding, a window into American society geared for war and empire. Readership is mostly composed of private contractors, intel communities, service members, politicos and journalists.

For example, the DoD announced on Nov. 28, 2017: "Oshkosh Defense LLC, has been awarded a maximum $71,702,293 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-quantity contract for various motor vehicle parts and accessories, (DoD)."

On Dec. 22, 2017, the DoD announced new contract awards that include Oshkosh Airport Products LLC, ($687,085,219), and Oshkosh Defense LLC, ($40,942,398).

Not the most efficient economic stimuli, but who is going to complain? Every president does the same thing, and President Obama was no improvement is this regard.

Even as President* Trump ran a campaign that stresses non-intervention in foreign affairs, Trump always had intentions to play the military-industrial game, raising the stakes past the point of absurdity.

Harry Blain offers words of sanity this morning at Informed Comment:

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.

The one exception was John Rood’s November 16 confirmation hearing for undersecretary of defense for policy. Senators Elizabeth Warren and John McCain asked whether a senior vice president of Lockheed Martin International — whose role included 'developing and executing strategies to grow Lockheed Martin’s International business' — could be trusted not to do more or less the same thing in a top Pentagon job.

Yet the prospect of the Senate doing its job was, it seems, short-lived. The Senate Armed Services Committee voted to advance Rood’s nomination two weeks later, despite concerns over potential conflicts of interest.

It doesn’t stop there. As The Intercept’s Lee Fang noted back in March, 'Personnel from major defense companies now occupy the highest ranks of the administration including cabinet members and political appointees charged with implementing the Trump agenda.' This includes the defense secretary himself, who had to resign from the board of General Dynamics to take up the most senior job at the Pentagon, and now White House chief of staff John Kelly, who had to step down from his role as a paid advisor to Dyncorp to become the Homeland Security chief.

These two former generals and close friends of defense contractors are now two of the most senior figures in the Trump administration. They may well be running our foreign policy, with the president himself so inexperienced and his secretary of state only apparently there to destroy his own department and occasionally be subjected to public humiliation by the commander-in-chief.

Trump is a lunatic. Even a lunatic can politically capitalize on rigged Congressional budgets and prey on a frightened American public, while assuring the foolish that America has become great again at the first State of the Union address on Jan. 30.

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