The military industrial complex is the largest and most powerful industry connected to the Federal Government. The largest companies that make it up include Lockheed Martin and Boeing. Even though there are about a hundred defense contractors in the United States the top ten receive the bulk of the defense contracts put out by the Federal Government and Lockheed Martin is at the top of the list.
In 2009 it received about $35 billion in government funds while Boeing which came in below it got $19 billion. Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics, Raytheon, United Technologies, L-3 Communications, Oshkosh Truck Corporation, SAIC Inc., and BAE Systems made up the rest of the top ten.
You probably this is important because of the military industrial complex speech of President Eisenhower.
It made for one of the most famous quotes about the issue.
These companies lobby for this spending. They often come up with some wonder weapons system they want to create and then get lobbyists to descend on Congress and claim that it must be built or the nation will be put in peril.
Some of these systems barely function. This is what happened with so called “missile defense,” which is actually an offensive system as it serves the purpose of making it harder for a nation to counter a first strike nuclear weapons launch from the United States.
It started with the Cold War nuclear arms race against the Soviet Union. Once that ended they directed their attention at the war on terrorism. But to what use?
Billions of dollars is being made off of “missile defense” by defense contractors when these weapons have no utility in the type of wars of insurgency the United States is fighting and does nothing to stop terrorists. What is worse most of these “missile defense” systems don’t even work. But it is big bucks for the defense contractors and lobbyists and much of the money flows back into the hands of politicians through in the guise of political campaign donations. It is an iron triangle that is contributing to the national debt and draining the nation’s wealth away.
You can go to OpenSecrets.org and see how the defense industry lobbies Congress. You can even do a search of your own local Congressman and see how much he is getting there. The situation is now so out of control it can make you wonder if there is a complex conspiracy or not?
To learn more about the military industrial complex and how the defense industry functions get my book The War State.