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America’s Military Now Run by Military Industrial Complex Lobbyists?

Fill the Swamp: Trump to Put Military Industrial Complex Lobbyist in Charge of the Army, Last Wednesday, it was reported that Donald Trump was moving to nominate Raytheon lobbyist Mark Esper for secretary of the Army. Raytheon is one of the “big five” defense contractors, and the president’s decision comes at a time when concerns are being raised over the idea of defense industry executives being placed in senior positions at the Pentagon.Daily Liberator, By:  James Holbrooks, 29 Aug 17 

This article first appeared at ANTIMEDIA……

The Washington Examiner, which broke the news in an exclusive after speaking with unnamed D.C. sources, reported that Pentagon officials “privately expressed confidence that Esper, with his military, Pentagon and Capitol Hill experience, will win quick Senate confirmation.”

That would be a change of pace. Esper’s nomination is Trump’s third attempt to fill the position of Army secretary.


Trump’s first choice, New York billionaire and owner of the Florida Panthers hockey team, Vincent Viola, withdrew back in February over concerns about financial conflicts of interest……..

Assuming Mark Esper hangs in there and keeps his name in the running for Army secretary, he’ll need to pass vetting by the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC). That hearing isn’t expected to take place until September. But it was within that committee, back in June, that SASC chairman John McCain first voiced concern over members of the defense industry taking key positions at the Pentagon.


In a hearing Defense News called “surprisingly contentious,” McCain threatened to block the SASC confirmation of Patrick Shanahan for deputy defense secretary, the number two spot at the Pentagon below defense secretary James Mattis. One of the reasons, the Arizona senator made clear, was Shanahan’s ties to industry contractors.

Shanahan had been with Boeing since 1986 before accepting Trump’s nomination. He was a member of the Boeing Executive Council and had even earned the nickname “Mr. Fix-it” within the corporation for his ability to turn around troubled projects.

At the hearing, McCain cited Shanahan’s industry past, saying he was “not overjoyed” that the would-be deputy secretary spent so much time at one of the big five defense contractors. He also said Shanahan’s ilk serving at the Pentagon was “not what our Founding Fathers had in mind.”

McCain, a Republican, went further weeks later, bluntly stating in a hallway interview in Congress that he “did not want people from the top five corporations” to fill positions at the Pentagon. Party politics aside, at least some lawmakers across the aisle appear to share his concern.

Senator Jack Reed, a Democrat who sits on the SASC, told Defense News in early July that “real concern about the concentration of these people” exists because decision-making processes may be “influenced by [their]prior employment.”

Similarly, Senator Richard Durbin, another Democrat, said the Trump administration has “turned a blind eye to the whole question of conflicts of interest from start to finish.”

Despite such criticisms, the SASC gave Shanahan the green light, and the Senate officially confirmed him last Tuesday. This means that right now, the two most powerful men at the Pentagon have significant past connections to the defense industry.

For those unaware, for years Secretary of Defense James Mattis was a board member of one of the big five contractors, General Dynamics, and up until the point of his nomination had nearly $600,000 in vested stock options with the corporation, according to Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings.


In a convenient bit of timing, John McCain was absent at Shanahan’s full Senate confirmation on July 18, as he was recovering from surgery to remove a blood clot, which ultimately revealed a brain tumor. The same could be said for Ellen Lord, who went through SASC vetting relatively unscathed on the very same day and now awaits the committee’s nod to move on to a full Senate vote.

Lord has been CEO of Textron Systems, a global aerospace and defense conglomerate, since 2012. As with what happened to Shanahan, Lord likely would have faced a harsh grilling from McCain. Commenting on Lord’s smooth sail through her SASC hearing, Defense News wrote:

“That may have been due to the absence of Sen. John McCain, the Arizona Republican who chairs SASC. McCain, recuperating at home from a recent surgery, previously told Defense News he is concerned about the number of defense industry figures entering key Pentagon roles.”

The same good fortune was bestowed upon a former Lockheed Martin vice president on Thursday. Ryan McCarthy passed his SASC vetting for undersecretary of the Army, and if the Senate eventually confirms both him and Mark Esper, it would mean the top two Army positions at the Pentagon would be filled by defense industry executives.

It was speculated that former Lockheed Martin attorney David Ehrhart would come under heavy scrutiny at his SASC hearing for Air Force General Counsel, the department’s chief legal officer. The same would have surely gone for John Rood, Trump’s expected pick for undersecretary of defense for policy and current head of international sales at Lockheed.

But with the SASC confirming defense industry figures in McCain’s absence, it now appears the Arizona senator’s leeriness was the only substantive thing holding up the show.


Like Senator Richard Durbin and others in Congress who don’t like the emerging trend under Donald Trump, most in the mainstream media will only go so far as to highlight the myriad conflicts of interest between the Trump administration and the corporate world.

Right now, for example, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is catching fire for being the CEO of ExxonMobil when it violated sanctions on Russia back in 2014. The U.S. Treasury Department just hit Exxon with a $2 million fine for that move, and Exxon promptly filed a lawsuit against the government in response………


August 30, 2017 - Posted by | business and costs, politics, secrets,lies and civil liberties, weapons and war

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