The U.S. war industry consists of the corporations that develop, market, and sell goods and services to the U.S. Department of War and allied regimes around the world. An informed public can remedy the dismal status quo of non-stop war. Understanding trends in military spending is a crucial part of forming an educated, mobilized citizenry. This analysis for May 2018 focuses on fortification, profiteering, and the opportunity costs of needless spending.
BATTEN DOWN THE HATCHES
Force Protection involves taking a variety of steps to make it harder for enemies to attack a military site. It basically entails setting up a strong defense.
In March, NetCentrics Corp. (Herndon, VA) received funding to provide the PentagonÕs Force Protection Agency (PFPA) with information technology. Part beat cops and part ill-tempered mall cops, the PFPA basically guards the facilities belonging to the Department of War.
On 23 May, Grunley Construction (Rockville, MD) received over $16.2 million to build new security facilities for the PFPA. Grunley is not building an austere guard shack, but rather a formidable complex that includes an indoor firing range, facilities for K9 units, and areas for various capitalist legal procedures. Part of the construction will demolish existing structures and build upon the North Basin of the PentagonÕs contiguous property.
Serco Inc. (Reston, VA) is one of the War DepartmentÕs go-to corporations for force protection services. In February, Serco was tasked with sustaining force protection at U.S. Navy facilities worldwide, following up on a contract issued a year earlier. In April, Serco was tasked with improving Electronic Surveillance Systems for the U.S. Navy, in coordination with other military branches and government agencies.
Perhaps these contracts are merely distinct precautionary measures. Perhaps. Or maybe certain government officials within the U.S. oligarchy realize the people are awakening. Such officials would know that the citizenry recognizes the degree to which war profiteering is draining the treasury, sacrificing family and friends on the altar of endless war, and killing millions of innocents abroad.
Fortification of military recruiting stations has also picked up in recent years. In November 2016, RRDS Inc. (Irvine, CA) received funding to install bullet-resisting panels at military recruiting stations across the country. (Notably, on the same day, the propaganda firm known as Fors Marsh Group, FMG, accepted funding to help the Department of War convince the youth of the United States to join the military.) In September 2017, RRDS received more money to install more bullet-resisting panels.
The Department of War is fortifying its Pentagon headquarters and its various recruiting stations out of precaution and preparation.
PUERTO RICO PROFIT
WashingtonÕs bipartisan, neoliberal political class and New YorkÕs vulture capitalists seized the opportunity to double down on privatization of the islandÕs assets. Meanwhile, the Pentagon took the lead in restoring electricity to Puerto Rico.
Three corporations profited immensely. The Louis Berger Group (LBG) received one payment worth $860 million. Fluor received three payments, totaling over $1.3 billion. In May of this year, PowerSecure received its ninth installment of cash for repairing and restoring Puerto RicoÕs electrical grid, bringing the corporationÕs total take since Hurricane Maria to over $517 million.
Funneled through the Pentagon, U.S. tax dollars have resulted in mediocre work. Puerto RicoÕs electrical grid will fail whenever the next major storm hits.
LOAVES OF BREAD
Exorbitant contracts are part and parcel of the U.S. war industry. The war corporations that control the Pentagon know they can set their price, free from any genuine budgetary oversight. As a result, even though poverty is rampant and food insecurity is at record levels, the U.S. government funds the war industryÕs pointless and gratuitous projects day after day. Consider the following examples.
On 4 May, Insight Public Sector Inc. received over $653 million to provide Microsoft software and some cloud services to the U.S. Navy. On 9 May, three corporations received a shared $550.8 million to provide the U.S. government with McAfee antivirus products.
On 16 May, General Atomics received roughly $206 million to upgrade MQ-9 Reaper drones. On 24 May, Boeing received over $416 million to manufacture three P-8A Poseidon aircraft for the U.S. Navy. The MQ-9 is the PentagonÕs favorite drone. ItÕs the make and model typically armed with Hellfire missiles in the skies over Africa, the Middle East, and elsewhere. The P-8A is replacing the P-3 Orion as the PentagonÕs primary submarine hunting / maritime patrol aircraft.
On 22 May, Defense Systems & Solutions (Huntsville, AL) received over $2.5 billion to support the Prototype Integration Facility (.pdf) of the Aviation & Missile Research, Development, Engineering Center (AMRDEC). This redundant facility fields weapons of war and quickly get them into the hands of the grunts who have been propagandized into participating in endless, elective wars.
Finally, on 24 May Lockheed Martin received well over half a billion USD for work on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Official assessments admit that the F-35 will easily cost over $1 trillion total, though this is a gross underestimate because they do not factor in unexpected maintenance, inflation, planned obsolescence, mishap, war industry greed, and more redesigns to the aircraftÕs cluttered interior.
That contract was repulsive enough, but the war industry was not satisfied. On the last day in May, United Technologies (East Hartford, CT) received over $2 billion to work on the F-35Õs engines.
These F-35 contracts exemplify the PentagonÕs deference to the war industry, which lobbies hard and bribes Congress well. These contracts were awarded non-competitively to corporations that have produced a glitch-filled, piss-poor aircraft.
Squandering tax dollars to develop unnecessary weaponry instead of caring for the people is the defining characteristic of the U.S. war industry.
What would happen if the few contracts listed above—totaling roughly $7 billion—had not been awarded? Would the U.S. military fall apart? Would the enemy-of-the-day infiltrate the ŌhomelandĶ and get us all in our sleep? No. ThatÕs the key.
THE CESSPOOLÕS PRIORITIES
If a loaf of bread costs about four dollars, then $7 billion could purchase over 1,750,000,000 loaves of bread, easily feeding everyone suffering from food insecurity in the U.S.
The Senate recently passed a $716 billion bill to fund war and preparation for war. As Colonel (ret.) Larry Wilkerson recently pointed out, the mere increase in the Department of WarÕs budget from 2017 to 2018 contained enough money to easily send every eligible U.S. student to college for at least two semesters.
When the people put down their smart phones, stop fighting amongst themselves, and start realizing how badly the criminal class in Washington, D.C., is screwing them, they will rise up and shed D.C.Õs cesspool like an old snakeskin.