By Jennifer del Rosario-Malonzo
The United States is the biggest military spender in the world. Last December, the US Congress debated a Bush defense budget of $343.2 billion, an increase of $32.6 billion over the previous year. The increase would bring US military spending to more than half of all discretionary spending.
The largest defense corporations are also based in the United States. In arming the US, the so-called "Globocop," corporations derive the most benefit because they are lavished with billions to come up with lethal weapons, surveillance equipment, tanks, submarines, ships and airplanes designed for a seemingly never-ending war.
While many sectors in the US are suffering from the economic crunch, top weapons manufacturers are awaiting new orders, hiring new people, looking for new investments and gaining attention on the stock market.
The bond between the US military establishment and defense corporations brought to existence the "military-industrial complex" moniker. But beyond being a label, the phrase resonates with the power and influence of a partnership that has sustained America's arms superiority and aided its economy.
Muscle of the US Economy
The military industry is a dominant player in the US economy. Military orders drive America's manufacturing sector. More than one-third of all engineers and scientists in the US are engaged in military-related jobs. Several sections of the country and a number of industrial sectors, particularly shipbuilding and aerospace, are greatly dependent upon military spending or foreign arms sales.
The Department of Defense (DoD), together with the top defense corporations - or what is known as the "military-industrial complex" - controls the largest coordinated bloc of industry in the US.
In 2001, after taking into account the emergency anti-terror funding and supplemental appropriations to finance the war in Afghanistan, the Pentagon's budget amounted to some $375 billion. In addition to the rising annual Defense budget, military spending also eats up much of the budgets of the Department of Energy and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. At present, it consumes about 55% of the federal government's discretionary expenditures. Roughly 75% of federal research and development expenditure is devoted to military projects.
The top aerospace and defense corporations, consisting of 11 companies, employ 901,258 people. (See Table)
These corporations mostly rely on DoD contracts. Most of these companies are also among the top defense corporations in the whole world.
Top US Corporations in Aerospace and Defense, 2001 (in $ million) Revenues Profits Rank* Employees (2000) Boeing
*Top 1,000 revenues rank Source: Fortune One Thousand, 16 April 2001
It is not surprising, therefore, that many Americans and their elected representatives support continued Pentagon spending. The military industry has become a huge and untouchable jobs program employing directly and indirectly a large number of blue-collar workers and a rising number of technical professionals. Defense workers are kept in line by the fear of job loss and ensuing economic crisis. This threat is also used to frustrate efforts to scale back military production or to convert it to socially useful purposes.
Historically, the US economy shook off economic depression during World Wars I and II as establishments and factories vigorously worked to support the American war machine. For a superpower like the US, war is an avenue leading out of an economic slump since practically all economic sectors become engaged in the country's war efforts. Aside from boosting the local economy and generating jobs, the US also earned from selling weapons to its wartime allies.
With the end of the Cold War, and the Reagan weapons buying binge of the 1980s started to slowdown, US weapons manufacturers began to give more attention to foreign markets as a way to sustain their profit margins.
In pursuit of easy profits, practically all major weapons producing companies worldwide are collectively pushing to boost their exports. US companies gained market dominance, cornering 40-50% of the total global weapons market in the 1990s.
Companies like Lockheed Martin and Boeing have realized that the only way to expand their exports beyond present levels is to open up new markets, by eliminating existing restrictions of potential recipient states, or seek new government subsidies that can be used to create more "cash paying customers" (i.e., foreign clients that use US-supplied "cash" to buy American weapons).
For instance, Boeing does not only work hard to shape the opinions and policies of officials in Washington, DC, it also proves to be a major player in the international scene. During the World Trade Organization's Seattle meeting in 1999, major transnational corporations donated $9.2 million in exchange for privileged access to WTO proceedings.
What do Boeing and other defense corporations get from sponsoring the WTO meeting? So much more than the amount they shelled out. Weapons makers are interested in the WTO agenda because they are becoming more dependent on exports to boost profits and are willing to enter into joint ventures, partnerships, and even mergers with companies in other countries.
It's not surprising that Boeing, which makes $13 billion annually selling missiles, combat aircraft, and other weapons systems ($3 billion in arms exports), would be a prime sponsor of the WTO meeting. Boeing has been a strong advocate of WTO membership for China, which provides a huge market for the company's airliners. And the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA), of which Boeing is a member, has been pressing for "normal" trade relations with China.
Under the WTO system, arms corporations derive a double benefit. Not only do they profit from the elimination of environmental, health, and labor standards under the WTO, but their own activities in the military domain - including massive research and export subsidies from their home governments - are exempt from challenge under the WTO's "security exception." This "security exception" gives governments incentive to invest in the military sector at the expense of civilian projects.
Another pet project of defense corporations is the expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Lockheed Martin and Boeing have been among its most enthusiastic supporters, and for a lucrative reason: enlarging NATO could pave the way for the creation of a huge, subsidized outlet for US weaponry, including $8 billion to $10 billion in sales of fighter planes and a total weapons market of $35 billion over the next decade.
With Saudi Arabia still deep in debts it acquired during the 1991 Persian Gulf War and Asian arms customers reeling from financial crisis, East and Central Europe are but a couple of the few potential bright spots for US weapons-exporting companies.
The absence of a compelling reason for NATO expansion is more than offset by the strong desire of powers-that-be to see the alliance broadened. While military contractors are looking for new markets, the Pentagon is seeking a new mission.
Post-Cold War, the Pentagon's budget is still at Cold War levels. The military-industrial complex needs a mission to justify its continued dominance, and NATO expansion is a good candidate to fill that role. The September 11th attacks gave the military-industrial complex further justification for increased military production and an excuse to use war to boost the sagging US economy.
Behind the "war on terrorism" that the US supposedly waged against Afghanistan are corporate interests involving oil. Without doubt, the military-industrial complex has a stake in expanding areas to be exploited for oil as well as protecting US oil sources.
According to Ahmed Rashid, Central Asia correspondent for the Daily Telegraph and the Far Eastern Economic Review, Afghanistan is the "shortest route to the Persian Gulf from the gas resources of Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan - from Northern Central Asia and Western Central Asia. It is far shorter than the routes through Iran, the Caucuses or China. Any pipeline would pass through only two countries, whereas at present the pipeline is passing through seven or eight countries." Thus, Afghanistan would be the best option for interested oil companies if it were brought under control.
Both competing oil companies - Bridas (Argentinian multinational) and Unocal (American company) - had very close relationship with the Taliban. In fact, the US government supported the Taliban's rise. There are a number of reasons why America supported the Taliban.
Rashid said one reason was that "the Taliban was vehemently anti-Iran and anti-Shia, and this was the time of the dual containment policy when the US was trying to hold in Iran and Iraq. And the Taliban fitted the bill very well. Secondly, two US allies in the region, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, were supporting the Taliban. The third reason is that the US wanted to build this pipeline. There was a lot of support from the Pentagon and the State Department for the Unocal effort."
Another analyst, Prof. Michael Klare, said the root of the war in Afghanistan lies in America's efforts to dominate the oil resources of the Persian Gulf. The US is protecting its interests in Saudi oil by defending the royal family from being overthrown by extremists like Bin Laden and replaced by a more doctrinaire Islamic rule.
The nature of US protection for Saudi Arabia has evolved over time. At first, it was provided through indirect forms of support such as military advisers and arms aid. The direct presence of US military forces began to increase over the years. Today, the US has between 5,000 and 10,000 soldiers on Saudi soil, and a much bigger number offshore, on ships and the island of Bahrain.
According to Klare, "the royal family has always provided US interests a privileged position with respect to Saudi oil supplies, in terms of both the access to oil and the pricing of oil."
In the OPEC, the Saudi royal family has maintained warm relations with the US by keeping prices at a level that does not burden the US economy so much. There is apprehension that if the extremists took over, they might deny US access to Saudi oil and/or increase prices, and thus result in an even worse economic situation than the US is suffering at present.
Afghanistan is not the first time that the US has gone to war because of oil. The US got involved in local conflicts in other countries because of its interest in petroleum resources. It had been enmeshed in the internal politics of Iran (it had very close relations with the overthrown Shah). Klare said, "Historically, (the US) has been involved in conflicts in Mexico over oil. (It is) now involved in Colombia in a conflict that's as much about oil as it is about drugs." This is because the US views oil as a national security concern. Thus, its foreign and military policies involve the protection of its oil sources.
Exciting Days for War Business
In December 2001, the US Congress debated a Bush defense budget of $343.2 billion, an increase of $32.6 billion over the previous year. The increase would bring military spending to more than half of all discretionary spending.
This is good news to the weapons industry. While many sectors in the US are suffering from the economic crunch, top weapons manufacturers are awaiting new orders, hiring new people, looking for new investments and gaining attention on the stock market.
A defense analyst with the Lexington Institute said, "The whole mind set of military spending changed on September 11. The most fundamental thing about defense spending is that threats drive defense spending. It's now going to be easier to fund almost anything."
These are fruitful times for companies like Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Northrop Grumman and Boeing. The war in Afghanistan is definitely a success despite friendly fire incidents, bombing accidents, mounting civilian casualties and the recent crash of a $280 million B-1 bomber. The Bush administration is already targeting new countries for military action, with Somalia, Yemen and Iraq topping the list. Indeed, this is a satisfying time to be in the war business.
"For a long time, (the defense industry) just didn't seem like a sexy area that has a lot of legs to it," said a partner at one options trading firm. But all that has changed. In response to investor interest, stock exchanges are thinking about creating a new Defense Index.
While Congress worked out the versions of the military budgets, weapons manufacturers and their supporters are confident that it will be big. "With the [Bush] administration, we'll see a rebuilding of the military to bring it back to where it was eight years ago," said defense analyst Paul Nisbet. "We'll see a considerable appreciation in defense stocks, as we saw in the Reagan years."
On January 17, 1961, in a nationally televised address delivered four days before John F. Kennedy's inaugural, Dwight Eisenhower spoke about the perils of the "unwarranted influence" exerted by the "military-industrial complex."
Four decades have passed and the military-industrial complex - a phrase coined by Eisenhower's speechwriters Ralph Williams and Malcolm Moos to describe the link between the US military establishment and the arms industry - has survived and gained dominance.
The US war industry flourished during the Cold War, especially in the Reagan weapons-buying spree years. Although weapons procurement eventually did wind down, the US military budget is still bigger than it was when Eisenhower warned about the military-industrial complex in 1961. The US military budget amounts to more than $270 billion per year, which in constant dollars remains near the peacetime Cold War average during the period of intense US-Soviet rivalry (1950 to 1989).
Running out of enemies
Without the rivalry from Russia, where is the threat that justifies spending hundreds of billion dollars every year on war and preparations for war? The Pentagon's answer is simple: there is no longer one powerful adversary to contend with, but US forces still need to be equipped to fight two major regional conflicts simultaneously against "rogue states" like Iraq and North Korea.
According to Michael Klare, author of Rogue States and Nuclear Outlaws, Colin Powell devised the "two war strategy" once he realized that the United States was "running out of enemies" large enough to justify spending hundreds of billions on the Pentagon every year.
The United States currently spends 19 times more on its military forces than all of the Pentagon's so-called rogue states - Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Libya, Syria, Cuba, and North Korea - combined. In fact, the United States and its key allies (NATO, Japan, and South Korea) now account for 62% of total global military spending, up from about 50% in the mid-1980s. In short, despite repeated calls for higher military spending to remedy the alleged "readiness crisis" facing US forces, the United States and its allies currently account for a much higher share of global military spending than they did at the height of the Reagan military buildup in the mid-1980s.
The bombings of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania (August 1998), the missile tests by Iran (July 1998) and North Korea (August 1998), the NATO's air war in Kosovo (inaugurated on March 24, 1999), and the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon (September 11, 2001) make US military buildup appear reasonable, and defense corporations are only too happy to produce more lethal weapons.
Corporate War Profiteers
A look at the huge corporations and their sphere of influence in the military establishment and Congress sheds light on how enormous is the power wielded by the arms industry.
At present, Lockheed Martin is considered as the top weapons manufacturer in the US. Lockheed Martin was created by merging Lockheed with Martin Marietta, Loral Defense, the General Dynamics combat aircraft division, and scores of other military companies to create a $35 billion behemoth that received over $18 billion in Pentagon contracts.
Proof of its power, Lockheed Martin and its allies in the weapons industry have aggressively pushed for favorable treatment from the federal government in the form of special subsidies, lucrative contracts for well-funded weapons systems, and important changes in US policies on arms sales and military technology transfers.
The military merger boom that resulted in an "improved" military-industrial complex began during the Clinton administration. Then Defense Secretary Les Aspin and Undersecretary of Defense William Perry decided to encourage mergers of defense firms. In a meeting that Lockheed Martin's Norman Augustine refers to as the "last supper," Perry bluntly told industry executives that the Pentagon would not be ordering enough ships, planes, and tanks to support the number of major military contractors that had been sustained by the Reagan military buildup.
Funding for weapons procurement, while still high by historical standards, was declining significantly from the humongous levels they had reached during the Reagan years. Hence, the Pentagon budget could no longer support the same number of major defense contractors in the way it did during the Reagan military boom.
Furthermore, the Pentagon was in the process of decelerating production for current-generation systems like the F-16 fighter and the M-1 tank to make room for next-generation systems like the F-22 and the Joint Strike Fighter. Cutting down the overhead by reducing the number of underutilized military factories was the official rationale behind the merger move.
Defense corporations and their allies in Congress fiercely resisted closing weapons production lines. Instead, they retrenched workers even as industry profits hit near-record levels and industry executives earn generous bonuses and huge salaries.
The consolidation of the weapons industry gives arms companies greater leverage over the Pentagon. The Department of Defense has so few options left when it comes to procuring a major weapons system. In 1998, when the Pentagon awarded a $1.6 billion contract for the so-called "systems architecture" for a National Missile Defense system, the competition pitted Boeing against a partnership called United Missile Defense, a team-up composed of Lockheed Martin, TRW and Raytheon. When Boeing won the contract, TRW and Raytheon immediately switched teams and became major subcontractors for Boeing on the project.
In the area of combat aircraft, Boeing is in partnership with Lockheed Martin on one major system (the Air Force's F-22 stealth fighter plane) and in competition on another (the next-generation Joint Strike Fighter). These interlocking business relationships create an atmosphere wherein it often makes more sense for the defense mega-corporations to team up and wield their enormous political clout to increase the Pentagon budget.
Political connections are also helpful in ensuring business and creating new markets. Take, for instance, Bechtel's close relationship with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). This connection helped influence overthrows of several foreign governments perceived as unfriendly to American business. It also allowed the company to be at the right place at the right time to take advantage of new business opportunities with puppet regimes.
The ties between Alan Dulles, the CIA deputy director, and John Simpson, Steve Bechtel's financial advisor, facilitated the relationship between Bechtel and the CIA. Steve Bechtel served as the CIA's liaison with the Business Council and a number of organizations directly linked with the CIA. The ties between Bechtel and the CIA led to collaborations in intelligence gathering that helped overthrow Iran's Mossadeq in 1953 and Indonesia's Sukarno and replace them with the Reza Shah Pahlavi and Suharto respectively, both pro-US, pro-business allies.
Bush's Vision: Boosting the Military-Industrial Complex
Long before the so-called anti-terrorism efforts, George W. Bush already planned to boost the position of the US military-industrial complex. On September 23, 1999, Bush delivered his comprehensive defense policy wherein he set three ambitious goals: 1) to "renew the bond of trust between the American President and the American military"; 2) to "defend the American people against missiles and terror"; and 3) to "begin creating the military of the next century."
Bush proposed to invigorate trust by increasing military pay and benefits and by clarifying the mission of US forces to "deter...and win wars," not to undertake "vague, aimless, and endless deployments." The latter phrase supposedly shows the new administration's reluctance to send US forces on open-ended peacekeeping missions like the deployments in Bosnia and Kosovo. Bush gave few specifics on his second promise but indicated that as president he would make substantial new investments in anti-terrorism efforts and "deploy anti-ballistic missile defenses, both theater and national," at the earliest possible date.
He also promised "an immediate, comprehensive review of our military" designed to "challenge the status quo and to envision a new architecture of American defense for decades to come." Bush urged the replacement of existing programs "with new technologies and strategies" aimed at creating forces that would be "agile, lethal, readily deployable and require a minimum of logistical support."
Defense companies are naturally resisting the idea of abandoning current programs and the military-industrial complex would not allow such thing to happen. While at first creating a ripple of misgiving among defense contractors, Bush's vision of high-tech defense systems in fact gives the military industry so much to look forward to. Since existing giant corporations, like Lockheed Martin or Raytheon, are the ones that have the technological capacity to pursue such vision, they will be the main beneficiaries of these future programs.
Although Bush and his top advisers keep on harping that their global campaign against terrorism will be a "new kind of war," the largest beneficiaries of the new weapons spending sparked by the September 11 attacks arethe big defense contractors like Boeing, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman.
Bulk of the new funding will be channeled to longstanding pet projects of the military-industrial complex and not to finance anti-terrorism equipment or techniques. According to analysts, renewed Pentagon spending will only benefit existing systems, many of which were designed during the Cold War and have little or nothing to do with the fight against terrorism.
The weapons industry's main agenda of recent years - a massive, across-the-board increase in military spending - has taken a giant leap forward after September 11. Within days of the attacks, Congress signed off on a $40-billion package for reconstruction and anti-terrorism efforts. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has compared the war on terrorism with the Cold War, and a $400-billion military budget is in the offing. Increased military activities are also expected to invigorate the US economy since more weapons projects mean more orders for the manufacturing sector.
US as Globocop
Beyond corporate and institutional pressure for perennially high military spending, there is also a strategic rationale - the idea that the United States should retain the capability to serve as some kind of "Globocop." The US has taken upon itself the task of maintaining "order and stability," especially in the perpetuation of "free markets."
The US is already providing military assistance and special operations advisors to the Philippines in the war against the Abu Sayyaf group, which the US says has links with Osama bin Laden. In Yemen - where Bin Laden attacked the USS Cole that killed 17 American sailors in 2000 - Yemeni Special Forces, US-trained and armed with tanks, helicopters and artillery, attacked a local al-Qaeda organization. Other potential targets include Somalia, which is accused of hosting terrorists, and Iraq, which is accused of developing weapons of mass destruction.
Global force projection remains the focus of Pentagon's strategy and budget. In places where there are critical resources or potential US investments at risk, such as the Persian Gulf and the oil-and-gas-rich Central Asia, the Pentagon is preoccupied with providing weapons and training, arranging access to bases, and prepositioning troops and equipment in preparation for a possible military intervention at any time.
Meanwhile, war and war preparation mean more profits for US defense corporations. These companies expand, hire more workers, embark on more projects, and help prop up the US economy. But as the US military-industrial complex grows, so does the danger of unprecedented annihilation of innocent people.
TOP US DEFENSE CORPORATIONS
Lockheed Martin is the world's largest weapons manufacturer, a major player in the areas of nuclear weapons and ballistic missile defense. The company got over $15 billion in contracts from the Pentagon in 2000, plus an additional $2 billion for nuclear weapons design work from the Department of Energy.
Lockheed Martin is the prime contractor for the Trident II Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missile (SLBM), a multiple-warhead, long-range missile that is produced for deployment on the Trident submarine. The Trident II is the only long-range U.S. nuclear missile currently in production.
Even as it profits from working on the next generation of nuclear weapons, Lockheed Martin is also heavily invested in ballistic missile defense.
Lockheed Martin's global presence stems from its role as the world's largest arms exporting company. Its most lucrative export item is the F-16 combat aircraft. The company has sold over 3,000 F-16s to overseas customers since the mid-1970s, and the client list for the plane includes Israel, Turkey, Pakistan, Indonesia, Taiwan, South Korea, Thailand, Egypt, and Venezuela. Lockheed Martin F-16s are co-produced in 10 countries, including Turkey, where an F-16 assembly line in Ankara employs 2,000 workers.
In late 2001, the company won what has been touted as "the largest defense contract in history," a $19 billion development contract for the $200 billion Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program. Plans call for producing variants of the JSF for the U.S. Air Force, Navy, and Marines, as well as for the Navy and Air Force of the United Kingdom. Other countries that have been discussed as potential customers for this "world aircraft" are Germany, Turkey, and Israel.
Boeing is the world's biggest commercial jet producer, NASA's largest contractor, one of the Pentagon's top contractors, and the US's largest exporter. Boeing and its subsidiaries employ almost 200,000 people in 60 countries and 26 American states, with customers in 145 countries, and manufacturing operations throughout the US, Canada, and Australia. Major operations are in Seattle, Washington; Southern California; Wichita, Kansas; and St. Louis, Missouri. Boeing has recently expanded or opened offices in Brussels, Tokyo, Beijing, Hong Kong, London, Paris, Moscow, Ghana and South Africa. Since 1997, when Boeing acquired defense giant McDonnell Douglas, Boeing has ranked as the Pentagon's No. 2 contractor, second only to Lockheed Martin.
After the September 11th attacks, Boeing's stock plummeted 16.8%. Sales to commercial airlines constitute 60% of Boeing's business. With decreasing orders for commercial aircraft, Boeing expects to lose production of more than 1,000 airplanes. Hence, Boeing is anticipating having to lay off as many as 30,000 employees by the end of 2002.
Although it is not specifically involved in the development of nuclear weapons, Boeing's lead role in the National Missile Defense (NMD) system will have an impact on the future role of nuclear weapons in the US and in the world. Boeing's Space and Communications Group division is involved in everything from operating the Space Shuttle, to creating new satellite-based information and communications services, and overseeing many of the missile defense programs.
Together with Bell Helicopter Textron, Boeing is developing the troubled V-22 Osprey aircraft for the Marine Corps, while Sikorsky and Boeing have joined together to build the RAH-66 Comanche combat helicopter for the Army. Buying nations include the United Kingdom, Turkey, Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Greece, South Korea, Taiwan, and Brazil.
Boeing also has a role in the development of each of the three next-generation fighter aircraft, all of which were conceived during the Cold War. These include the $62 billion F-22 being built with Lockheed Martin for the Air Force, the $46 billion F/A 18 E-F Super Hornet being built by Boeing for the Navy, and potentially the $200 billion Joint Strike Fighter to be used by the Marines, Navy and the Air Force. Both Boeing and Lockheed Martin had been competing for the JSF contract. In late October 2001, the Pentagon awarded the JSF contract to Lockheed, but there has been discussion of sharing some of the work with Boeing.
Raytheon is the third largest defense contractor in the United States, behind Lockheed Martin and Boeing. The Massachusetts-based conglomerate received more than $6.3 billion in Pentagon contracts in 2000, accounting for over 37% of the firm's $16 billion in revenues. By its own accounting, the company is involved in over 4,000 weapons programs. As its VP for Business Development Tom Culligan puts it, "As a top tier defense electronics company, our forte is to be a provider to major platform manufacturers, which means you see Raytheon's brand name everywhere - from tanks and rifles to ships, aircraft and UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles)."
Raytheon's best-known product is probably the Patriot air defense missile, which received massive publicity during the 1991 Gulf conflict when it was used to defend against Iraqi Scud missiles.
Another high-visibility system produced by Raytheon is the Tomahawk land attack missile, which company promotional materials describe as "the US Navy's weapon of choice." According to Raytheon, "Tomahawk has played a crucial role in several theater operations including: Operation Desert Storm, Bosnia, Iraq and Kosovo. Over 300 Tomahawks were used in Operation Desert Storm alone. Since Desert Storm in 1991, more than 1,000 Tomahawks have been fired..."
Other Raytheon missile systems include the AIM-65 Maverick, an air-to-surface missile that the company describes as "the most widely used precision guided munition in the free world.integrated on virtually every fighter aircraft in the free world ranging from the F-4 Phantom, F/A-18 Hornet, F-16 Falcon, AV-8B Harrier, the JAS-39 Grippen, and most recently, the P-3C Orion"; the AIM-9 Sidewinder air-to-air missile; and the top-of-the-line AIM-120 AMRAAM (Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile), which has been sold to the US armed forces along with more than 20 other nations, including recent controversial offers to Thailand and the United Arab Emirates.
Raytheon also specializes in radar, surveillance, and targeting systems that are used on most US-produced combat aircraft, including the Air Force F-15, F-16, and F-22 fighter planes; the Navy's V-22 "Osprey" tilt-rotor aircraft; and the US Special Forces AC-130U and AC-130H airborne gun ships which have been heavily utilized in the war in Afghanistan. Raytheon calls this latest line of equipment "the Terminator family of targeting systems."
The company is also a major arms exporter, with billions in overseas arms sales in the past decade to a client list that includes Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Indonesia, Malaysia, Oman, Singapore, Greece, Taiwan and South Korea.
General Dynamics (GD) is headquartered in Falls Church, Virginia, and employs approximately 46,000 people worldwide. GD and its subsidiaries have facilities throughout the United States, including Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maine, Massachusetts, California, Vermont, Pennsylvania, Arkansas, Ohio, Washington, North Carolina, and Virginia, and international offices in Italy, England, and Canada.
GD operates in four main areas:
Marine Systems - producing warships and nuclear submarines
Aerospace - making business jets
Information Systems and Technology - designing command and control systems
Combat Systems - making tanks, amphibious assault vehicles, weaponry, and ammunition
General Dynamics' subsidiary, Electric Boat of Groton, Connecticut builds the Seawolf attack submarines; Bath Iron Works of Bath, Maine builds the DDG 51 destroyers; Land Systems of Sterling Heights, Michigan builds the M1 tank; and Gulfstream Aerospace of Savannah, Georgia makes business jets. GD Marine Systems is the U.S. Navy's leading supplier of combat vessels - including nuclear submarines, surface combatants, and auxiliary ships.
General Dynamics Armament Systems (GDAS), a division of General Dynamics, bought Saco Defense in June 2000. Saco Defense, one of the world's leading producers of small and medium caliber machine guns and cannon barrels and specializes in automatic weapons for the military, is now called General Dynamics Weapons Systems.
Most recently, GDAS was awarded a $39 million contract from the US Army for M2 machine guns, gun bolts, and barrels. The company also received a $126.4 million order from the US Army and Air Force for HYDRA-70 rocket systems, with a maximum potential value of $1.2 billion over the next five years.
The US government has facilitated the sales and giveaways (through its Foreign Military Sales and Excess Defense Article programs) of M60 machine guns to Panama, Peru, Colombia and Jordan; and M2 machine guns to Egypt, Greece, Thailand and Tunisia.
Northrop Grumman is a Los Angeles-based company that manufactures planes and bombers dropping munitions on Afghanistan, including the B-2 bomber, the F-14 fighter. The company also makes the much-praised unmanned Global Hawk. The $10 million per copy Global Hawk has been deployed to Afghanistan despite the fact that it had not completed its testing requirements.
The company boasts that it has the capability to "meet current and emerging national defense needs, including anti-terrorism and homeland security."
In addition to its planes and bombers, the company's Maryland based Electronic Systems division makes high tech systems like the Airborne Warning and Control Systems (AWACS), a control center and a huge radar disc mounted atop a Boeing 707, which serves "as the airborne nerve center for a military air campaign."
Northrop Grumman is also responsible for ALQ-15 jamming device, used to protect jets from enemy radar-guided missiles. As David Steigman, senior defense analyst for the Teal Group, boasts, "Northrop Grumman's role is supplying the command control communications and the intelligence surveillance systems to find the bad guys and bop them in the head."
When Wall Street opened again on September 17, 2001, Northrop Grumman was ready to bob those bad guys and its stock had risen 16% to $94 a share in anticipation of the coming war. Two days after bombing in Afghanistan began, Northrop Grumman's stock had reached a three-year high of $107.60 a share on the New York Stock Exchange. The future looks bright and the company has job openings for more than 1,000 employees. According to a recent article in the financial magazine Barrons, Northrop Grumman is now seeking $2 billion in loans and equity investment to expand business opportunities and acquisitions.n
- Hartung, William D. Arms Trade Resource Center, World Policy Institute, New York.
- 2.Ciarrocca, Michelle. Arms Trade Resource Center, World Policy Institute, New York.
- Berrigan, Frida. "The War Profiteers: How are Weapons Manufacturers Faring in the War?" December 17, 2001. (www.worldpolicy.org)
globalization & war | Jennifer del Rosario-Malonzo | www.agp.org | www.all4all.org