Monday, December 27, 2010

Another Revolving Door

We're used to seeing former congress critters and their staffers move from their congressional offices to new offices on K Street or corporate board rooms. We're also quite familiar with White House staffers signing on with private concerns anxious for their expertise and contacts. Well, cashing in on government service is not just for civilians.

This weekend the Boston Globe published a remarkable article on the role retired generals and admirals have in defense contracts. They get hired not only by the Pentagon to serve as consultants, but also by many of the same contractors they had dealt with while on active duty.

Among the Globe findings:

■ Dozens of retired generals employed by defense firms maintain Pentagon advisory roles, giving them unparalleled levels of influence and access to inside information on Department of Defense procurement plans.

■ The generals are, in many cases, recruited for private sector roles well before they retire, raising questions about their independence and judgment while still in uniform. The Pentagon is aware and even supports this practice.

■ The feeder system from some commands to certain defense firms is so powerful that successive generations of commanders have been hired by the same firms or into the same field. For example, the last seven generals and admirals who worked as Department of Defense gatekeepers for international arms sales are now helping military contractors sell weapons and defense technology overseas.

■ When a general-turned-businessman arrives at the Pentagon, he is often treated with extraordinary deference — as if still in uniform — which can greatly increase his effectiveness as a rainmaker for industry. The military even has name for it — the “bobblehead effect.’’

A huge chunk of the federal budget goes to the Pentagon, and clearly that part of our government would like to see the flow continue. It's pretty obvious from this article just why that is. It's an investment for the future. Unfortunately, it's not the nation's future which is uppermost in these generals' and admirals' minds.

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Blogger ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

A huge chunk of the federal budget goes to the Pentagon, and clearly that part of our government would like to see the flow continue.

More than anything, it's an investment in the future by the plutocrats that control our defense corporations (and it would seem, through 'the magic of the market', that all our big oil companies share in the profits from the same policies).

In this regard, I'd put the activities of the Generals and Admirals in the same category as that of the journalists at our modern corporate media companies.

Catapult the propaganda, as a certain C-student said.

10:20 AM  

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