The National Defense Authorization Act, passed by Congress and signed by President Obama, opens federal coffers for design and construction of new nuclear weapons and the planes, missiles, and submarines designed to deliver them to targets all over the world. It's a classic case of "governing under the influence" of the military-industrial-complex.
Lindsey Graham said he supports a massive military build-up, including more nuclear weapons and their delivery systems. However, he would like to see the end of cost-plus contracting and favors some reforms to restrain Pentagon spending.
Five years of lobbying and donations to more than 200 key members of Congress paid off big for Northrop Grumman, which last week won a huge Pentagon contract for a new bomber, designed to deliver two types of thermonuclear weapons.
Lawrence Wilkerson, retired U.S. Army colonel and former chief of staff to U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, was on a speaking tour with AFSC's GUI project in Iowa to educate first-in-the-nation caucus goers about the excessive political influence from private weapons manufacturers in the decision making process. These manufacturers earn tremendous profits from multi-billion dollar contracts for seemingly interminable war.
Governor Jindal was asked about his policies if elected for president would be in the interest of the public good instead of corporate interest.
Governor Jindal stated "...I think we need to stop members of Congress from becoming lobbyists...I think too often they do what the special interest want. In regards to military procurement... multiple sources, having competitive bid contracts, multi year procurement...I think its good for taxpayers and it's good for men and women in the military as well because when we don't do that they are also the ones getting cheated. They are not getting the equipment and the training they need and it shouldn't be done based on politics."
I asked Gov. Bobby Jindal about the $1 trillion plan on a new generation of nuclear weapons and how to limit the military-industrial complex from setting our nuclear priorities. Although he supports increasing military spending, “I think right now there is too much influence in Congress, and Congress won’t like giving up that power. Because you’re right, a lot of them get donations, or they’re trying to protect pork barrel project in districts.”
On the Today Show, Iraq War veteran asked Secretary Clinton about the political influence of the military-industrial complex. Clinton focused her response on her vote to go to war in Iraq and that she believes diplomacy is better than war.
John Kasich says he probably won't increase waiting period for retired military officers to become lobbyists. He also says he's not influenced by lobbyists. What I wonder is, if public officials are immune from lobbying, why did the defense sector spent $128 million on it in 2014? And why do Pentagon contractors go to such lengths to hire retired generals?