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USA’s Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin – a ”soldier’s soldier” and a useful purchaser for Raytheon’s military merchandise

Austin’s personal history and connection to the military and Raytheon mark him as a fitting Pentagon chief in an era of destructive militarism and creeping fascism in the U.S.

When civilians no longer control the key institutions of government and war industries ensure the perpetuation of endless wars from which they make obscene profits, the political system can no longer be defined as a democracy. 

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin—Former Member of Raytheon Board of Directors—Has Awarded Over $2.36 Billion in Contracts to Raytheon Since His Confirmation in January, Covert Action Magazine By Jeremy Kuzmarov – April 19, 2021 he Pentagon has awarded the defense giant Raytheon Technologies over $2.36 billion in government contracts since Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin III’s confirmation on January 22nd.

Austin was on Raytheon’s board of directors prior to his confirmation.

Austin at the time had made a commitment to resign from Raytheon’s board and recuse himself from all matters concerning Raytheon for four years and agreed to divest from his financial holdings in the company, amounting to between $500,000 and $1.7 million in stock.

These initiatives, however, have not prevented Austin from using his position to bolster Raytheon’s fortunes. Nor those of other defense contractors on whose board he has sat such as Booz Allen Hamilton, the world’s “most profitable spy organization,” according to Bloomberg News, and Pine Island Capital, a private equity firm that invests in military industry.[1]

At Austin’s nomination hearing, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) questioned him about his ties to Raytheon—whose headquarters are based in Warren’s home district (Waltham, Massachusetts).

A year earlier, Warren had proposed legal changes to strengthen ethics at the Defense Department by blocking the revolving door between the Pentagon and giant defense contractors like Raytheon, including by prohibiting big defense contractors from hiring former Pentagon officials for four years after they leave government.

Warren paradoxically voted to confirm Austin’s appointment as Defense Secretary—even though he embodies the danger of the revolving door.

Mark Pocan (D-WI), who with Barbara Lee wrote a letter in November 2020 to President-elect Joe Biden requesting that he nominate a Secretary of Defense with no previous ties to weapons manufacturers, stated that “American national security should not be defined by the bottom lines of Boeing, General Dynamics and Raytheon.”

With men like Austin at the helm, however, it is very clearly being defined in this way…………….

Phyllis Bennis of the Institute for Policy Studies, a left-wing think-tank, told The Intercept that since “Raytheon manufactures the bomb components that are used in Yemen, [General Austin] bears a direct responsibility [for war crimes and civilian deaths]. He was making money as a board member of this company that is directly responsible for the death and destruction there.”

William Hartung, the director of the arms and security project for the Center for International Policy, said that “picking Austin was tantamount to making the position of Secretary of Defense the Secretary of Defense contractors.”

Raytheon’s 2021 Pentagon Contracts

Fitting with Hartung’s assessment, Raytheon has benefitted from multi-million-dollar government contracts on a near-daily basis since Austin has taken charge at the Pentagon.

On February 1st, the company secured a whopping $290,704,534 government contract to produce equipment for depot maintenance facilities and services in support of the F-35 Lightning II, which military analyst Pierre Sprey characterized as “overweight and dangerous.”……………….

Promoting More War

Though Austin claims to have recused himself from decisions involving Raytheon, the Pentagon under his direction is providing his old company with huge contracts on a daily basis that is bolstering its profits and stock price.

Austin furthermore has used his new bully pulpit to advocate for yet greater levels of military spending—to the benefit of Raytheon.

On February 25th, for example, on a visit to the U.S.S. Nimitz, Austin emphasized the need for U.S. warships throughout the globe to deter security threats—from China to Iran. A week later on a tour of Southeast Asia with Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Austin warned about China again and the North Korean nuclear threat and pledged that the U.S. would maintain a robust military presence in the Indo-Pacific.

He further cautioned North Korea that the United States, following military exercises with South Korea, was “ready to fight tonight.”

When fighting resumed in Eastern Ukraine in early April, Austin assured Ukraine’s Defense Minister Andrii Taran of the “U.S. commitment to building the capacity of Ukraine’s forces to defend more effectively against [supposed] Russian aggression”–which was demonstrated by a recent $125 million military aid package–and took to Twitter to reaffirm the U.S.’s “unwavering support for Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, and Euro-Atlantic aspirations.

…………A Soldier’s Soldier

Besides his connection to Raytheon, Austin’s appointment as Pentagon chief was controversial because he had not been retired from the military for the requisite seven years and required a legal waiver.

Traditionally, the role of Defense Secretary is supposed to be a civilian position, ensuring the U.S.’s military apparatus is led not by a warfighter, but a policymaker. That requirement is laid out in the National Security Act of 1947 that established the Defense Department.

Heralded as a “soldier’s soldier” who would endure hardships with his troops, the 6’4” tall Austin graduated from West Point in 1975, and led infantry troops in the capture of Baghdad during the 2003 Operation Iraqi Freedom.

After a stint commanding the 10th Mountain Division in Afghanistan, Austin was appointed as chief of staff of the U.S. Central Command at McDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida, a high-tech command post where military officers could watch live imagery on plasma screens and order air-strikes through the Pentagon’s secure internet server.

Groomed for high military command by Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 2007 to 2011, Austin was appointed as Commanding General of U.S. forces in Iraq in 2010, and Commander of the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), which is responsible for all military operations in the Middle East, by President Obama in 2013.

In this latter capacity, Austin drafted a war plan—approved by Obama—that allowed the U.S. military for the first time to directly provide ammunition and weapons to Syrian opposition forces, who included Islamic jihadists.

President Obama also endorsed General Austin’s idea to increase the air campaign on Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) from Incirlik Air Base in Turkey. The result was an increase in civilian deaths. Journalists Anand Gopal and Azmat Khat determined that one in five of the 27,500 coalition air strikes in the 2nd Iraq War resulted in at least one civilian death, more than 31 times the number that was publicly acknowledged

Austin’s personal history and connection to the military and Raytheon mark him as a fitting Pentagon chief in an era of destructive militarism and creeping fascism in the U.S.

When civilians no longer control the key institutions of government and war industries ensure the perpetuation of endless wars from which they make obscene profits, the political system can no longer be defined as a democracy.


April 20, 2021 - Posted by | business and costs, politics, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA

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