THE COMPLEX: HOW THE MILITARY INVADES OUR EVERYDAY LIVES

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9780571228195: THE COMPLEX: HOW THE MILITARY INVADES OUR EVERYDAY LIVES

"Fascinating, no matter where you place yourself on the ideological spectrum."—Wired

Now in paperback, a stunning breakdown of the modern military-industrial complex—an omnipresent, hidden-in-plain-sight system of systems that penetrates all our lives.

From iPods to Starbucks to Oakley sunglasses, historian Nick Turse explores the Pentagon’s little-noticed contacts (and contracts) with the products and companies that now form the fabric of America. He investigates the remarkable range of military incursions into the civilian world: the Pentagon’s collaborations with Hollywood filmmakers; its outlandish schemes to weaponize the wild kingdom; its joint ventures with Marvel Comics and NASCAR. Similarly disturbing is the way in which the military, desperate for fresh recruits, has tapped into the "culture of cool" by making "friends" on MySpace.

A striking vision of this brave new world of remote-controlled rats and super-soldiers who need no sleep, The Complex will change our understanding of the militarization of America. We are a long way from Eisenhower’s military-industrial complex: this is the essential book for understanding its twenty-first-century progeny.

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About the Author:

Nick Turse holds a doctorate in sociomedical sciences from Columbia University. He is the associate editor and research director of Tomdispatch.com, and has written for such publications as the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, The Nation, and The Village Voice, as well as for a host of online sites. Turse currently lives near New York City.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Chapter One
THE IRON TRIANGLE   Before the Complex of today came into existence there were the immensely powerful arms manufacturers of Eisenhower’s military-industrial complex. They haven’t exactly gone away. During Eisenhower’s last term in office, from 1957 to 1961, the top five military contractors were General Dynamics, Boeing, Lockheed, General Electric, and North American Aviation. These days, General Electric has slipped slightly (it ranked fourteenth among contractors in 2006), and what’s left of North American Aviation, sold and resold over the years, now exists as part of United Technologies (the ninth-largest contractor in 2006). But even with massive consolidation—a 2003 Pentagon report found that the fifty largest defense contractors of the early 1980s have become today’s top five contractors—the leading players remain largely the same.   In 2002, the massive defense contractors Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and Northrop Grumman ranked one, two, and three among the Pentagon’s defense contractors, taking in $17 billion, $16.6 billion, and $8.7 billion, respectively. Lockheed, Boeing, and Northrop Grumman did it again in 2003 ($21.9, $17.3, and $11.1 billion); 2004 ($20.7, $17.1, and $11.9 billion); 2005 ($19.4, $18.3, and $13.5 billion), and 2006 ($26.6, $20.3, and $16.6 billion). General Dynamics ranked fourth in four of the five years—and never lower than fifth.   For decades, these military-industrial powerhouses have produced some of the most sophisticated and deadly weaponry in the U.S. arsenal—from the U-2 spy-plane and Javelin missile (Lock-heed) to the B-52 Stratofortress heavy bombers that pounded Indochina (Boeing) to the famed B-2 stealth bomber (Northrop Grumman). Over the years, they have also grown in power and influence, often bending Congress and presidential administrations to their lobbying will and, in some cases, dwarfing the financial clout of various arms of the government itself. For example, from 2000 to 2006, Lockheed Martin received $135.4 billion from the Pentagon—in addition to contracts with the Departments of Homeland Security, Justice, and Commerce, the Federal Aviation Administration, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), among others. In 2005, the Bethesda, Maryland–based company’s $25 billion in federal contracts exceeded the total combined budgets of the Departments of Commerce and the Interior, the Small Business Administration, and the U.S. Congress. Peter Singer, an expert on military privatization, uses such examples to suggest that some defense contractors have evolved beyond any conceivable definition of a private business concern. “They’re not really companies, they’re quasi agencies,” he told the New York Times. That’s certainly the case with Lock-heed, whose annual sales to U.S. government agencies clocked in at 78 percent of the company’s total business in 2003, 80 percent in 2004, and 85 percent in 2005. In 2006, there was a slight dip to 84 percent, but that didn’t count 13 percent of sales to foreign governments, “including foreign military sales funded, in whole or in part, by the U.S. Government.”   But it isn’t only percentages of sales that link companies like Lockheed so closely to the Pentagon; it’s also their long history of aiding the military in various wars, interventions, incursions, and invasions. The corporate forebears of the firm—which was formed in 1995 when two defense industry stalwarts, Lockheed Corporation and Martin Marietta Corporation, merged—have been working for and with the army and navy since the early years of the twentieth century. And the Complex’s “revolving door,” through which arms manufacturers’ employees and DoD officials routinely passed back and forth between the public and private realm, has continued to turn, creating a familiarity that has cemented the relationship, while offering generous rewards to all involved. (In 1960, at the end of the Eisenhower era, “726 former top ranking military officers were employed by the country’s 100 leading defense contractors.”)   In 2001, to take but one example, Edward C. “Pete” Aldridge Jr. left the defense giant Aerospace Corporation (which took in more than $442 million from the DoD that year) to become the undersecretary of defense (acquisition, technology, and logistics) in Donald Rumsfeld’s Pentagon. Only months into his tenure, Aldridge chose Lockheed Martin to build the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. In an interview with Ron Insana on CNBC, he announced, “It is the largest acquisition program in the history of the Department of Defense. We’re expecting it to be in excess of $200 billion over the period of the program.” Only minutes later, Aldridge spoke to CNN’s Lou Dobbs, who asked, “How soon will the money start moving from the federal government to Lockheed Martin?” Aldridge replied, “I think Lockheed Martin would like to see some right away . . . as soon as the work starts, they can start billing the government for the work that they’re producing. And so I would expect it’s a matter of a few months away. But very soon.” Lockheed would, indeed, soon be getting paid. By 2006, the estimated cost of the project had already jumped from $200 billion to $276 billion.   In early 2003, despite having previously criticized the program as too expensive, Aldridge approved a $3-billion contract for Lock-heed’s controversial F-22 Raptor fighter jet. Then, in March, he announced his retirement, saying, “Now it is time, for personal reasons, to move on to a more relaxed period of my career. I will continue to support the national security interests of this country, albeit in a less direct way.” Within months, Aldridge had been elected to Lockheed Martin’s board of directors, complete with six-figure compensation and company stock, while a former Lockheed man and air force veteran, Michael W. Wynne, took over his post (and went on to become secretary of the air force in 2005).   By 2007, Aldridge was still on the board and held 5,041 units of the corporation’s common stock. The deals he made with Lock-heed seem to have paid off handsomely. When Aldridge joined the Pentagon in May 2001, Lockheed’s stock was trading at about $36.62 per share; in 2003, about the time he was elected to Lock-heed’s board, it was at $47.52, and by late October 2007 it was trading at $108.61.   Aldridge’s move to Lockheed raised some eyebrows but it’s not clear why, given his long history of using the revolving door. In the 1960s, he had held various posts with Douglas Aircraft Com-pany’s Missile and Space Division. In 1967, the year Douglas merged with McDonnell Aircraft (today, McDonnell Douglas is a wholly owned subsidiary of Boeing), he joined the staff of the assistant secretary of defense for systems analysis and stayed in the post until 1972. He then became a senior manager with LTV Aerospace Corporation before heading back to the government, from 1974 to 1976, to serve as deputy assistant secretary of defense for strategic programs. Dizzyingly enough, in 1977, he was back in the private sector as vice president of the National Policy and Strategic Systems Group for the System Planning Corporation, a major defense contractor. In 1981, Aldridge spun back the other way to become undersecretary of the air force, a position he held until 1986. (From 1981 to 1988, he also served as the director of the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office.) In 1986, he became the secretary of the air force and held the post until December 1988, when he became the president of defense giant McDonnell Douglas’s Electronic Systems Company—the post he held until leaving to join the Aerospace Corporation in 1992.   Aldridge’s revolving-door escapades were far from unique. In 2004, the Project on Government Oversight, an independent nonprofit group that investigates and exposes corruption, reported that, between January 1997 and May 2004, at least 224 senior government officials had taken top positions with the twenty largest military contractors. Lockheed headed the list with thirty-five lobbyists, sixteen executives, and six directors or board members—a total of fifty-seven former senior government officials who had crossed over to the other side. In 2007, for example, in addition to Aldridge, the Lockheed board boasted General Joseph W. Ralston, who had served as vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1996 to 2000; James O. Ellis Jr., a navy veteran who had retired from his post as an admiral and commander, U.S. Strategic Command, in July 2004; Admiral James Loy, a former commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard who retired in 2005, after serving as the first deputy secretary of homeland security; Eugene F. Murphy, a Marine Corps veteran and former attorney with the Central Intelligence Agency; and Robert J. Stevens, the chairman, president, and chief executive officer of Lockheed Martin, who had served in the U.S. Marine Corps and is a graduate of the Department of Defense Systems Management College Program Management course.   Under President George W. Bush and his first secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld, the Pentagon was especially well connected to Lockheed. As the author and playwright Richard Cummings noted in Playboy, Powell A. Moore, the assistant secretary of defense for legislative affairs, had, from 1983 to 1998, been a consultant and vice president for legislative affairs for Lockheed. Secretary of the navy and later deputy secretary of defense Gordon England had also worked for Lockheed, as had Peter B. Teets, who became the undersecretary of the air force and director of the National Reconnaissance Of...

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