Not Your Grandfather’s Military-Industrial Complex
by Ben Freeman, William D. Hartung and Tom Engelhardt Posted on May 05, 2023

Originally posted at TomDispatch.

Honestly, it should take your breath away. We are on a planet prepping for further war in a staggering fashion. A watchdog group, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), just released its yearly report on global military spending. Given the war in Ukraine, you undoubtedly won’t be surprised to learn that, in 2022, such spending in Western and Central Europe surpassed levels set as the Cold War ended in the last century. Still, it wasn’t just Europe or Russia where military budgets leaped. They were rising rapidly in Asia as well (with significant jumps in Japan and India, as well as for the world’s second-largest military spender, China). And that doesn’t even include spiking military budgets in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere on this embattled planet. In fact, last year, 12 of the 15 largest military spenders topped their 2021 outlays.

None of that is good news. Still, it goes without saying that one country overshadowed all the rest ? and you know just which one I mean. At $877 billion last year (not including the funds “invested” in its intelligence agencies and what’s still known as “the Department of Homeland Security”), the U.S. military budget once again left the others in the dust. Keep in mind that, according to SIPRI, Pentagon spending, heading for a trillion dollars in the near future, represented a staggering 39% of all (yes, all!) global military spending last year. That’s more than the next 11 largest military budgets combined. (And that is up from nine not so long ago.) Keep in mind as well that, despite such funding, we’re talking about a military, as I pointed out recently, which hasn’t won a war of significance since 1945.

With that in mind, let Pentagon experts and TomDispatch regulars William Hartung and Ben Freeman explain how we’ve reached such a perilous point from the time in 1961 when a former five-star general, then president, warned his fellow citizens of the dangers of endlessly overfunding the ? a term he invented ? military-industrial complex. Now, let Hartung and Freeman explore how, more than six decades later, that very complex reigns supreme. ~ Tom Engelhardt


by Ben Freeman, William D. Hartung, Tom Engelhardt 投稿日: 2023年05月05日




このことを念頭に置いて、ペンタゴンの専門家でTomDispatchの常連であるウィリアム・ハートングとベン・フリーマンが、1961年に元五つ星将校(当時大統領)が、軍産複合体(彼が発明した言葉)に無限に過剰資金を提供する危険性を市民に警告した時から、なぜこのように危険な地点に到達したのかを説明しよう。そして、60年以上経った今、その軍産複合体がいかに頂点に君臨しているかを、ハートゥングとフリーマンに探ってもらおう。~ トム・エンゲルハート

Unwarranted Influence, Twenty-First-Century-Style

By Ben Freeman and William D. Hartung

The military-industrial complex (MIC) that President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned Americans about more than 60 years ago is still alive and well. In fact, it’s consuming many more tax dollars and feeding far larger weapons producers than when Ike raised the alarm about the “unwarranted influence” it wielded in his 1961 farewell address to the nation.

The statistics are stunning. This year’s proposed budget for the Pentagon and nuclear weapons work at the Department of Energy is $886 billion ? more than twice as much, adjusted for inflation, as at the time of Eisenhower’s speech. The Pentagon now consumes more than half the federal discretionary budget, leaving priorities like public health, environmental protection, job training, and education to compete for what remains. In 2020, Lockheed Martin received $75 billion in Pentagon contracts, more than the entire budget of the State Department and the Agency for International Development combined.

This year’s spending just for that company’s overpriced, underperforming F-35 combat aircraft equals the full budget of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And as a new report from the National Priorities Project at the Institute for Policy Studies revealed recently, the average taxpayer spends $1,087 per year on weapons contractors compared to $270 for K-12 education and just $6 for renewable energy.

The list goes on ? and on and on. President Eisenhower characterized such tradeoffs in a lesser known speech, “The Chance for Peace,” delivered in April 1953, early in his first term, this way: “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children…”

How sadly of this moment that is.

New Rationales, New Weaponry

Now, don’t be fooled. The current war machine isn’t your grandfather’s MIC, not by a country mile. It receives far more money and offers far different rationales. It has far more sophisticated tools of influence and significantly different technological aspirations.

Perhaps the first and foremost difference between Eisenhower’s era and ours is the sheer size of the major weapons firms. Before the post-Cold War merger boom of the 1990s, there were dozens of significant defense contractors. Now, there are just five big (no, enormous!) players ? Boeing, General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and Raytheon. With so few companies to produce aircraft, armored vehicles, missile systems, and nuclear weapons, the Pentagon has ever more limited leverage in keeping them from overcharging for products that don’t perform as advertised. The Big Five alone routinely split more than $150 billion in Pentagon contracts annually, or nearly 20% of the total Pentagon budget. Altogether, more than half of the department’s annual spending goes to contractors large and small.

In Eisenhower’s day, the Soviet Union, then this country’s major adversary, was used to justify an ever larger, ever more permanent arms establishment. Today’s “pacing threat,” as the Pentagon calls it, is China, a country with a far larger population, a far more robust economy, and a far more developed technical sector than the Soviet Union ever had. But unlike the USSR, China’s primary challenge to the United States is economic, not military.

Yet, as Dan Grazier noted in a December 2022 report for the Project on Government Oversight, Washington’s ever more intense focus on China has been accompanied by significant military threat inflation. While China hawks in Washington wring their hands about that country having more naval vessels than America, Grazier points out that our Navy has far more firepower. Similarly, the active American nuclear weapons stockpile is roughly nine times as large as China’s and the Pentagon budget three times what Beijing spends on its military, according to the latest figures from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

But for Pentagon contractors, Washington’s ever more intense focus on the prospect of war with China has one overriding benefit: it’s fabulous for business. The threat of China’s military, real or imagined, continues to be used to justify significant increases in military spending, especially on the next generation of high-tech systems ranging from hypersonic missiles to robotic weapons and artificial intelligence. The history of such potentially dysfunctional high-tech systems, from President Ronald Reagan’s “Star Wars” missile defense system to the F-35, does not bode well, however, for the cost or performance of emerging military technologies.

No matter, count on one thing: tens, if not hundreds, of billions of dollars will undoubtedly go into developing them anyway. And remember that they are dangerous and not just to any enemy. As Michael Klare pointed out in an Arms Control Association report: “AI-enabled systems may fail in unpredictable ways, causing unintended human slaughter or an uncontrolled escalation crisis.”

Arsenal of Influence

Despite a seemingly never?ending list of overpriced, underperforming weapons systems developed for a Pentagon that’s the only federal agency never to pass an audit, the MIC has an arsenal of influence propelling it ever closer to a trillion-dollar annual budget. In short, it’s bilking more money from taxpayers than ever before and just about everyone ? from lobbyists galore to countless political campaigns, think tanks beyond number to Hollywood ? is in on it.

And keep in mind that the dominance of a handful of mega-firms in weapons production means that each of the top players has more money to spread around in lobbying and campaign contributions. They also have more facilities and employees to point to, often in politically key states, when persuading members of Congress to vote for ? Yes!? even more money for their weaponry of choice.

The arms industry as a whole has donated more than $83 million to political candidates in the past two election cycles, with Lockheed Martin leading the pack with $9.1 million in contributions, followed by Raytheon at $8 million, and Northrop Grumman at $7.7 million. Those funds, you won’t be surprised to learn, are heavily concentrated among members of the House and Senate armed services committees and defense appropriations subcommittees. For example, as Taylor Giorno of OpenSecrets, a group that tracks campaign and lobbying expenditures, has found, “The 58 members of the House Armed Services Committee reported receiving an average of $79,588 from the defense sector during the 2022 election cycle, three times the average $26,213 other representatives reported through the same period.”

Lobbying expenditures by all the denizens of the MIC are even higher ? more than $247 million in the last two election cycles. Such funds are used to employ 820 lobbyists, or more than one for every member of Congress. And mind you, more than two-thirds of those lobbyists had swirled through Washington’s infamous revolving door from jobs at the Pentagon or in Congress to lobby for the arms industry. Their contacts in government and knowledge of arcane acquisition procedures help ensure that the money keeps flowing for more guns, tanks, ships and missiles. Just last month, the office of Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) reported that nearly 700 former high-ranking government officials, including former generals and admirals, now work for defense contractors. While a few of them are corporate board members or highly paid executives, 91% of them became Pentagon lobbyists, according to the report.

And that feverishly spinning revolving door provides current members of Congress, their staff, and Pentagon personnel with a powerful incentive to play nice with those giant contractors while still in their government roles. After all, a lucrative lobbying career awaits once they leave government service.

Nor is it just K Street lobbying jobs those weapons-making corporations are offering. They’re also spreading jobs to nearly every Main Street in America. The poster child for such jobs as a selling point for an otherwise questionable weapons system is Lockheed Martin’s F-35. It may never be fully ready for combat thanks to countless design flaws, including more than 800 unresolved defects detected by the Pentagon’s independent testing office. But the company insists that its program produces no less than 298,000 jobs in 48 states, even if the actual total is less than half of that.

In reality ? though you’d never know this in today’s Washington ? the weapons sector is a declining industry when it comes to job creation, even if it does absorb near-record levels of government funding. According to statistics gathered by the National Defense Industrial Association, there are currently one million direct jobs in arms manufacturing compared to 3.2 million in the 1980s.

Outsourcing, automation, and the production of fewer units of more complex systems have skewed the workforce toward better-paying engineering jobs and away from production work, a shift that has come at a high price. The vacuuming up of engineering and scientific talent by weapons makers means fewer skilled people are available to address urgent problems like public health and the climate crisis. Meanwhile, it’s estimated that spending on education, green energy, health care, or infrastructure could produce 40% to 100% more jobs than Pentagon spending does.

Shaping the Elite Narrative: The Military-Industrial Complex and Think Tanks

One of the MIC’s most powerful tools is its ability to shape elite discussions on national security issues by funding foreign policy think tanks, along with affiliated analysts who are all too often the experts of choice when it comes to media coverage on issues of war and peace. A forthcoming Quincy Institute brief reveals that more than 75% of the top foreign-policy think tanks in the United States are at least partially funded by defense contractors. Some, like the Center for a New American Security and the Center for Strategic and International Studies, receive millions of dollars every year from such contractors and then publish articles and reports that are largely supportive of defense-industry funding.

Some such think tanks even offer support for weapons made by their funders without disclosing those glaring conflicts of interest. For example, an American Enterprise Institute (AEI) scholar’s critique of this year’s near-historically high Pentagon budget request, which, she claimed, was “well below inflation,” also included support for increased funding for a number of weapons systems like the Long Range Anti-Ship Missile, the Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile, the B-21 bomber, and the Sentinel intercontinental ballistic missile.

What’s not mentioned in the piece? The companies that build those weapons, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman, have been AEI funders. Although that institute is a “dark money” think tank that doesn’t publicly disclose its funders, at an event last year, a staffer let slip that the organization receives money from both of those contractors.

Unfortunately, mainstream media outlets disproportionately rely on commentary from experts at just such think tanks. That forthcoming Quincy Institute report, for example, found that they were more than four times as likely as those without MIC funding to be cited in New York Times, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal articles about the Ukraine War. In short, when you see a think-tank expert quoted on questions of war and peace, odds are his or her employer receives money from the war machine.

What’s more, such think tanks have their own version of a feverishly spinning revolving door, earning them the moniker “holding tanks” for future government officials. The Center for a New American Security, for example, receives millions of dollars from defense contractors and the Pentagon every year and has boasted that a number of its experts and alumni joined the Biden administration, including high-ranking political appointees at the Department of Defense and the Central Intelligence Agency.

Shaping the Public Narrative: The Military-Entertainment Complex

Top Gun: Maverick was a certified blockbuster, wowing audiences that ultimately gave that action film an astounding 99% score on Rotten Tomatoes ? and such popular acclaim helped earn the movie a Best Picture Oscar nomination. It was also a resounding success for the Pentagon, which worked closely with the filmmakers and provided, “equipment ? including jets and aircraft carriers ? personnel and technical expertise,” and even had the opportunity to make script revisions, according to the Washington Post. Defense contractors were similarly a pivotal part of that movie’s success. In fact, the CEO of Lockheed Martin boasted that his firm “partnered with Top Gun’s producers to bring cutting-edge, future forward technology to the big screen.”

While Top Gun: Maverick might have been the most successful recent product of the military-entertainment complex, it’s just the latest installment in a long history of Hollywood spreading military propaganda. “The Pentagon and the Central Intelligence Agency have exercised direct editorial control over more than 2,500 films and television shows,” according to Professor Roger Stahl, who researches propaganda and state violence at the University of Georgia.

“The result is an entertainment culture rigged to produce relatively few antiwar movies and dozens of blockbusters that glorify the military,” explained journalist David Sirota, who has repeatedly called attention to the perils of the military-entertainment complex. “And save for filmmakers’ obligatory thank you to the Pentagon in the credits,” argued Sirota, “audiences are rarely aware that they may be watching government-subsidized propaganda.”

What Next for the MIC?

More than 60 years after Eisenhower identified the problem and gave it a name, the military-industrial complex continues to use its unprecedented influence to corrupt budget and policy processes, starve funding for non-military solutions to security problems, and ensure that war is the ever more likely “solution” to this country’s problems. The question is: What can be done to reduce its power over our lives, our livelihoods, and ultimately, the future of the planet?

Countering the modern-day military-industrial complex would mean dislodging each of the major pillars undergirding its power and influence. That would involve campaign-finance reform; curbing the revolving door between the weapons industry and government; shedding more light on its funding of political campaigns, think tanks, and Hollywood; and prioritizing investments in the jobs of the future in green technology and public health instead of piling up ever more weapons systems. Most important of all, perhaps, a broad-based public education campaign is needed to promote more realistic views of the challenge posed by China and to counter the current climate of fear that serves the interests of the Pentagon and the giant weapons contractors at the expense of the safety and security of the rest of us.

That, of course, would be no small undertaking, but the alternative ? an ever-spiraling arms race that could spark a world-ending conflict or prevent us from addressing existential threats like climate change and pandemics ? is simply unacceptable.

Follow TomDispatch on Twitter and join us on Facebook. Check out the newest Dispatch Books, John Feffer’s new dystopian novel, Songlands (the final one in his Splinterlands series), Beverly Gologorsky’s novel Every Body Has a Story, and Tom Engelhardt’s A Nation Unmade by War, as well as Alfred McCoy’s In the Shadows of the American Century: The Rise and Decline of U.S. Global Power, John Dower’s The Violent American Century: War and Terror Since World War II, and Ann Jones’s They Were Soldiers: How the Wounded Return from America’s Wars: The Untold Story.

Ben Freeman, a TomDispatch regular, is a research fellow at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft and the author of a forthcoming report on Pentagon contractor funding of think tanks.

William D. Hartung, a TomDispatch regular, is a senior research fellow at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft and the author of Prophets of War: Lockheed Martin and the Making of the Military-Industrial Complex.

Copyright 2023 William D. Hartung and Ben Freeman





ロッキード・マーチンのF-35戦闘機に対する今年の支出は、米疾病対策センター(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)の全予算に匹敵するほど高額で、性能も低い。また、Institute for Policy StudiesのNational Priorities Projectが最近発表したレポートによると、平均的な納税者が年間1,087ドルを兵器製造業者に費やしているのに対し、幼稚園から高校までの教育には270ドル、再生可能エネルギーにはわずか6ドルしか使っていないという。

そのほかにも、数え上げればきりがない。アイゼンハワー大統領は、1期目の初めの1953年4月に行った演説「The Chance for Peace」で、こうしたトレードオフを次のように表現している: 「銃が作られ、軍艦が進水し、ロケットが発射されるたびに、最終的には、飢えているのに食べられない人、寒くて服を着られない人からの窃盗を意味する。この武器に囲まれた世界は、お金だけを費やしているわけではありません。労働者の汗、科学者の才能、子供たちの希望を費やしているのだ……」。




アイゼンハワーの時代と私たちの時代の、おそらく最初で最大の違いは、主要な兵器会社の規模の大きさです。冷戦後の1990年代の合併ブーム以前は、数十社の重要な防衛関連企業が存在した。ボーイング、ジェネラル・ダイナミクス、ロッキード・マーチン、ノースロップ・グラマン、レイセオンの5社だけで、これだけの規模になった。航空機、装甲車、ミサイルシステム、核兵器を製造する企業がこれほどまでに少なくなったため、国防総省は、宣伝通りの性能を持たない製品で過剰な請求をしないようにするために、これまで以上に限られた影響力しか持たなくなった。ビッグ5だけで、国防総省の年間契約の1500億ドル以上、つまり国防総省の総予算の20%近くを日常的に分配しています。 国防総省の年間予算の半分以上が、大小の請負業者に支払われていることになる。


しかし、ダン・グレイジャーが2022年12月にProject on Government Oversightの報告書で指摘したように、ワシントンがこれまで以上に中国を重視するようになったのは、軍事的脅威が大幅に増大したからである。ワシントンの中国タカ派は、中国がアメリカよりも多くの艦艇を保有していることに手を焼いているが、グレイジャーは、我が国の海軍ははるかに多くの火力を持っていると指摘している。同様に、ストックホルム国際平和研究所の最新の数字によれば、アメリカの核兵器保有量は中国の約9倍、国防総省の予算は北京の軍事費の3倍であるという。

しかし、ペンタゴンの請負業者にとって、中国との戦争という見通しにワシントンがこれまで以上に焦点を当てることは、ビジネスにとって素晴らしいことである。中国の軍事的脅威は、現実であれ想像であれ、軍事費の大幅な増加、特に極超音速ミサイルからロボット兵器、人工知能に至る次世代ハイテクシステムの正当化に使われ続けている。 レーガン大統領の「スター・ウォーズ」ミサイル防衛システムからF-35まで、このような機能不全に陥りかねないハイテクシステムの歴史は、しかし、新しい軍事技術のコストや性能に良い兆しはない。

何百億ドル、いや何千億ドルもかけて開発されることは間違いないのだから。そして、これらの技術が危険なものであることは、敵に限ったことではないことを忘れてはならない。マイケル・クレアが武器管理協会の報告書で指摘したように: “AI対応システムは予測不可能な方法で故障し、意図しない人間の虐殺や制御不能なエスカレーション危機を引き起こすかもしれない”




軍需産業全体では、過去2回の選挙サイクルで8300万ドル以上を政治家候補に寄付しており、ロッキード・マーチンが910万ドルでトップ、次いでレイセオンが800万ドル、ノースロップグラマンが770万ドルの寄付をしている。これらの資金が、上下両院の軍事委員会や国防予算小委員会の委員に集中していることは、驚くにはあたらないだろう。例えば、選挙運動やロビー活動の支出を追跡する団体OpenSecretsのTaylor Giornoが発見したように、”下院軍事委員会の58人のメンバーは、2022年の選挙期間中に防衛部門から平均79,588ドルを受け取ったと報告しており、同じ期間を通じて報告された他の代表者の平均26,213ドルの3倍である”。

総務省の全住民によるロビー活動費はさらに高く、過去2回の選挙サイクルで2億4700万ドル以上です。 このような資金は、820人のロビイストを雇うために使われており、これは下院議員1人につき1人以上である。しかも、そのロビイストの3分の2以上は、国防総省や議会での仕事から、ワシントンの悪名高い回転ドアを通って武器産業のためにロビー活動をするようになった。彼らは政府とのコネクションを持ち、難解な兵器取得手続きに関する知識を持っているため、より多くの銃、戦車、船舶、ミサイルのために資金が流れ続けることを保証している。先月、エリザベス・ウォーレン上院議員(民主党)の事務所が、元将軍や提督を含む700人近い元政府高官が、現在防衛関連企業に勤めていると報告したばかりだ。その中には企業の役員や高給取りの幹部も少なくないが、その91%がペンタゴンのロビイストになっているとのことである。



現実には、今日のワシントンでは知る由もないが、兵器産業は雇用創出という点では衰退産業であり、たとえ記録的な水準の政府資金を吸収しているとしても、である。 全米国防産業協会の統計によると、1980年代には320万人だった兵器製造の直接雇用は、現在100万人である。


エリートの物語を形成する: 軍産複合体とシンクタンク






公的な物語を形成する: 軍事エンターテインメント複合体

トップガン マーベリック』は、ロッテントマトで99%という驚異的なスコアを獲得し、観客を驚かせた大ヒット作です。このような人気の高さから、映画はアカデミー作品賞にノミネートされました。ワシントン・ポスト紙によれば、国防総省は映画製作者と緊密に連携し、「ジェット機や空母などの機材、人材、技術的専門知識」を提供し、脚本を修正する機会さえ与えられたという。防衛関連企業もまた、この映画の成功に欠かせない存在だった。ロッキード・マーチン社のCEOは、「トップガンのプロデューサーと組んで、最先端、未来志向の技術を映画化した」と豪語している。

トップガン: マーベリック』は、軍事エンターテインメント複合体の最近の作品としては最も成功したかもしれないが、ハリウッドが軍事プロパガンダを広めた長い歴史の中では、最新の作品に過ぎないのである。「ジョージア大学でプロパガンダと国家暴力を研究するロジャー・スタール教授によれば、「ペンタゴンと中央情報局は、2500本以上の映画とテレビ番組に対して直接編集権を行使してきた。



アイゼンハワーがこの問題を指摘し、名前をつけてから60年以上たった今でも、軍産複合体はその前例のない影響力を使って予算や政策プロセスを腐敗させ、安全保障問題に対する非軍事的解決策のための資金を枯渇させ、この国の問題に対する「解決策」として戦争がますます可能性を高めることを確実にし続けます。 問題は、私たちの生活や暮らし、ひいては地球の未来に対する軍部の力を弱めるために、何ができるかということだ。