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Posts Tagged ‘Pentagon’

From Boeing to E-Ring: Shanahan is Industry’s Man at the Pentagon | The American Conservative

Posted by M. C. on May 15, 2019

“My impression is right now everyone in the armed services, at the top, are like pigs at the trough and their goal is to scarf up every dollar they can get their hands on in Washington because this might be their last hurrah,”

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/from-boeing-to-e-ring-shanahan-is-industrys-man-at-the-pentagon/

By Kelley Beaucar Vlahos

WASHINGTON — John McCain is looking down on Washington and he is definitely not smiling.

The late senator had very little in common with the anti-interventionist principles of this magazine, but in the brighter moments of his 35-year career in Congress, he was the Senate’s most vociferous watchdog of Pentagon waste and contractor malfeasance. His grilling of military brass in this area was legendary, and his willingness to dress down an E-Ring four star or civilian executive in front of the C-Span cameras makes today’s congressional slobbering before the military high-hats look pathetic, and sad.

That’s why he would be all the more crushed to see how the Blob is apparently prepared to confirm a recent senior executive at Boeing—the second largest contractor in the entire federal government—to the role of secretary of defense. Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan, who McCain, suffering at the time from brain cancer, suggested might be the fox guarding the henhouse, has been idling in the interim SecDef role since James Mattis just before Christmas. Now that a Pentagon Inspector General’s report has quietly cleared him of charges that he was putting his thumb on the scales for billions of dollars of new work for Boeing, President Donald Trump announced Thursday that he will officially nominate Shanahan for the role of Pentagon chief, starting the clock on Senate confirmation.

This has raised the hackles of defense reformers who always saw Shanahan’s presence at the DoD as the highest form of contempt: even by Washington standards, they see this as is a bald display of industry influence on the levers of power and, ultimately, U.S. national security policy.

“Having promised to change nothing, to simply extend the massive spending policies initiated by Mattis, Mr. Shanahan is sure to be confirmed,” charged retired U.S. Army colonel and defense analyst Douglas Macgregor in an interview with TAC. “Keeping the money flowing without interruption is the sine qua non for success in the Senate Armed Services Committee.”

Critics point out that Shanahan has never been anything but a company man. His only experience in military and defense issues was as a program executive of contracts that sink billions of American taxpayer dollars each year into bloated weapons systems and increase shareholder value.

“Shanahan has zero government experience. He’s a defense corporation guy; his track record as deputy secretary is appallingly pro-MIC [military industrial complex],” Pierre Sprey, longtime military watchdog and defense analyst, told TAC.

Armed with advanced degrees in mechanical engineering from MIT, Shanahan went straight to Boeing in 1986. After overseeing Boeing’s military rotorcraft (Apache, Chinook, and Osprey helicopters) and missile defense programs, he went onto the commercial side in 2007, where he was known as “Mr. Fix It” for saving the company’s 787 Dreamliner aircraft program. (More recently, he was forced to dodge any connection to 737 Max planes, which were falling out of the sky before a worldwide grounding.)…

So what we see here is an evolution of the MIC, what many call the “self-licking ice cream cone,” says Sprey. In earlier times, the secretaries had military or government experience and their cultivation of industry influence in the Pentagon was more sotto voce. “Over time, though, you can see more and more egregious military industrial complex shills, just some politicians and defense technocrats.” Shanahan is the first to go from a defense industry giant straight into the DoD’s center of power.

“My impression is right now everyone in the armed services, at the top, are like pigs at the trough and their goal is to scarf up every dollar they can get their hands on in Washington because this might be their last hurrah,” said Doug Macgregor. “And Shanahan is going all out for them.”

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profiteering

War Is A Racket

 

 

 

 

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Leaked Pentagon Plan Calls For 120,000 Troops To Counter Iran | Zero Hedge

Posted by M. C. on May 15, 2019

Iran is the largest country in the Middle East after SA.

Larger than Iraq and Afghanistan combined.

They have a real army.

Even IF we “win” we will never win because the point is to stay there.

That means a lot of dead Americans not defending America but doing Boeing, Exxon, Goldman Sachs, Saudi Arabia and Israel’s dirty work. You have to break a few eggs to build an empire. We know how empires end up.

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-05-14/leaked-pentagon-plan-calls-120000-troops-counter-iran

by Tyler Durden

As Michael Pompeo travels to Brussels to discuss the Iranian threat amid a flare-up in tensions that has brought the US to the brink of an armed conflict, the New York Times has published details from a confidential military plan presented to top national security officials that envisions sending as many as 120,000 troops to the Middle East should Iran attack American forces or start ramping up work on nuclear weapons (something it has promised to do if its European partners don’t meet their commitments under the Iran deal)…

It’s unclear whether Trump himself has seen, or been briefed on, the plan. Asked about it, Trump said “we’ll see what happens with Iran. If they do anything, it would be a very bad mistake.”

Here are a few key details from the plan according to more than a half-dozen senior administration officials who spoke with the NYT:

  • The 120,000 troops called for in the plan would be close to the size of the force that invaded Iraq in 2003. The reversal of the US troop presence in the region under Obama and Trump has reportedly emboldened leaders in Tehran and the IRGC that there’s no appetite in the US for a war with Iran. Deploying this many troops would take weeks or months.
  • The most likely trigger for a US military response is still an attack by the IRGC The guard’s fleet of small boats has a history of approaching American Navy ships at high speed. Though the plan includes provisions for a US response if Iran once again starts stockpiling nuclear fuel. If Iran does start stockpiling enriched uranium again, the US would have more than a year to formulate a more coherent response, since it would take at least that long for Iran to stockpile anything close to enough to fashion a weapon.
  • Cyberweapons would be used to paralyze the Iranian economy during the opening salvo of the conflict, in the hopes that this would be enough to cripple Iran before any bombs were dropped. Such an operation would call for “implants” or “beacons” inside US networks. Though, given Iran’s increasingly sophisticated cyberweapons, such an attack would still pose “significant risks.”
  • This is not the first time since joining the administration that Bolton has sought updated plans for an invasion of Iran. Though it’s widely believed that the president remains opposed to such an incursion. Bolton requested an update after Iranian-backed militants fired three mortar shells into an empty lot on the grounds of the US embassy in Baghdad.
  • One of the options offered up as a proportional response was a strike on a Iranian military facility that would have been “mostly symbolic.”

While a war with Iran still seems unlikely, if Iran starts stockpiling enriched uranium again as it has threatened to do, it could give Bolton and his fellow neocons exactly the opening they need to successfully push for a military intervention.

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graveyard

We know what happens to empires.

 

 

 

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Trump Nominates ‘Embodiment of the Military-Industrial Complex’ Patrick Shanahan to Lead Pentagon

Posted by M. C. on May 14, 2019

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/05/10/trump-nominates-embodiment-military-industrial-complex-patrick-shanahan-lead

The White House announced Thursday that President Donald Trump will nominate acting Defense Secretary and former Boeing executive as Pentagon chief. (Photo: United States Air Force)

In a move critics warned could further deepen the ties between the sprawling and immensely profitable private weapons industry and the U.S. government, the White House announced Thursday that President Donald Trump will nominate former Boeing executive Patrick Shanahan to head the Pentagon.

“Conflict of interest? Boeing is already the second-largest recipient of private contracts from the U.S. military.”
—National Priorities Project

Shanahan has been serving as acting secretary of defense since the departure of former Pentagon chief Jim Mattis in January.

“When Patrick Shanahan was selected by Trump for a Pentagon post,” The Nation‘s John Nichols tweeted Thursday in response to Shanahan’s nomination, “the Seattle Times wrote: ‘Shanahan, 54, has no military or political experience. He is, however, familiar with defense procurement from the business side.’ Very, very familiar.”

In a column last year, Nichols described Shanahan—who worked at Boeing for 31 years before becoming Trump’s deputy defense secretary—as “the embodiment of the military-industrial complex.”

“His main claim to fame in the deputy post was his ardent advocacy for Trump’s ‘space force’ scheme,” Nichols wrote. “So what experience does Shanahan have? He is, literally and figuratively, the embodiment of the military-industrial complex about which former President Dwight Eisenhower warned Americans at the close of his presidency in 1961.”

As NBC reported, Trump’s decision to nominate Shanahan—who must be confirmed by the Senate—comes “just weeks after the Pentagon’s internal watchdog cleared the longtime former Boeing executive of allegations he provided his old employer… with preferential treatment. Shanahan was accused of pushing Boeing fighter jets on the Air Force and Marines.”

The National Priorities Project (NPP) highlighted Shanahan’s potential conflicts of interest in a series of tweets following news of his nomination.

“Patrick Shanahan, former Boeing executive, is poised to keep running the Pentagon as Defense Secretary with President Trump’s nomination,” NPP wrote. “Conflict of interest? Boeing is already the second-largest recipient of private contracts from the U.S. military.”

“Last year, the average taxpayer paid $102 for contracts with Boeing, ” the group noted, “compared to just $40 for public housing and homeless assistance.”

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Microsoft’s offers software tools to secure elections

Posted by M. C. on May 6, 2019

Out of the goodness of Microsoft heart

heart and dagger by ifinch.deviantart.com on @deviantART ...

“Open-source software”…remember that

DARPA – secure voting via government black ops.

https://apnews.com/7e78189c21ce4a7cb7cb73432705c3ca

Microsoft is announcing an ambitious effort intended to make U.S. voting more secure and verifiable.

The company will offer free open-source software that several top U.S. elections vendors say they will explore incorporating into their voting equipment.

The software kit is being developed with Oregon-based Galois, which is separately creating a secure voting system prototype under contract with the Pentagon’s advanced research agency, DARPA…

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Voting Security Overview

 

 

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The Pentagon’s Days of Future Past – Antiwar.com Original

Posted by M. C. on April 27, 2019

None other than Robert McNamara alerted us 25 years ago that high-tech military forces and equipment are tragically limited in so-called small wars against motivated adversaries. But, the Pentagon refuses to accept this lesson.

https://original.antiwar.com/dave_foster/2019/04/26/the-pentagons-days-of-future-past/

Polish cavalry didn’t really charge tanks as the Germans rolled into their country in 1939. But they did have an outmoded military. Last War-ism played a part: Polish cavalry (along with effective code breaking) fended off the numerically superior Soviets in 1920. But the Poles weren’t the only ones who had not kept up with the times.

On December 7, 1941, the U.S. had 19 battleships and eight aircraft carriers. Eight battleships were damaged that day, two permanently. By the Battle of Midway six months later it was becoming clear that carriers were the future of the surface fleet. Yet, eight new battleships were commissioned after Pearl Harbor, showing the enduring strength of the 19th century idea. The remaining battleships played useful roles, but by war’s end the battleship’s day in the sun was over. Several were used as targets during the Bikini Atoll atomic tests in 1946. Virtually all of the rest had been sold for scrap or donated as local museums by the end of the 1940s. However, four decommissioned soon after WWII but not cut-up for scrap famously reemerged for a time in the 1980s and early-1990s, and calls for their return still happen from time to time.

The Pentagon’s reverence for the stealth is a more recent example of over-investing in a fleeting technological advantage is. Stealth, or low observability, was discovered by a Russian scientist in the early-1960s. It took decades of research and development to put into practice, but military value of stealth was short-lived… Read the rest of this entry »

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Fewer Americans want to serve in the military. Cue Pentagon panic | William M Arkin | Opinion | The Guardian

Posted by M. C. on April 24, 2019

Why do think? The thought of endless war, dying in some nowheresville African village or killing poor, peasant families in poor, peasant filled Yemen?

Or the realization that none of the above have anything to do with defending US?

I have often wondered if today’s volunteer recruits have any idea at all of what they are getting into.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/apr/10/fewer-americans-serve-military-pentagon-panic

Declining interest in service has reached levels that should alarm – or delight – those who care about the nation’s health

Donald Trump’s three-quarters-of-a-trillion-dollar defense budget request submitted to Congress last month contains a dirty secret, one that should make us all think twice about perpetual war and public support for it.

The youth of America don’t want to serve in the military any more.

The situation has become so dire that just to maintain America’s ground forces – the army and Marine Corps – the two services are resorting to unprecedented pay raises, bonuses and socialist trappings.

And things are going to get worse. This year, for the first time ever, Americans born after 11 September 2001 will be able to enlist in the armed forces. It’s a sobering reminder both of how long we’ve been at war but also how distant those very wars have become from America’s youth. And yet official military polling shows that fewer and fewer young Americans consider the military as a career or as a transitional step – only some 12.5% – the lowest number in a decade.

The 12.5% is bracing, but based on a complex math that balances losses from deaths and injuries, retirements, attrition and discharges, the army and Marine Corps only needs about 100,000 recruits to maintain current force levels. That’s just 2.4% of the 4.2 million Americans who will celebrate their 18th birthday this year. And yet the military is looking at its third or fourth year in a row where it will struggle to even find these numbers…

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dying for nothing

Dying for nothing in the middle of nowhere. How is this defending the USA?

 

 

 

 

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Pence: US Had ‘No Choice’ But to Scrap Key Nuclear Treaty – News From Antiwar.com

Posted by M. C. on April 4, 2019

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/trump-takes-credit-for-nuclear-arsenal-that-was-largely-modernized-by-obama-administration/

Much of the improvements to the (nuclear) arsenal, however, were carried out by the Obama administration…

It is OK for US…

https://news.antiwar.com/2019/04/03/pence-us-had-no-choice-but-to-scrap-key-nuclear-treaty/

Speaking at a NATO event in Washington on Wednesday, Vice President Mike Pence claimed that President Trump had “no choice” but to withdraw the US from the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) and it is all Russia’s fault…

If the US wanted Russia to stop testing missiles which are arguably in violation of the INF, pursuing them within the treaty would make a lot more sense than getting rid of the treaty itself, which gives Russia a justification to go further with such developments just to counter the presumptive US missiles the Pentagon wants.

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image020.jpg

 

 

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McCain and the POW Cover-Up | The American Conservative

Posted by M. C. on March 22, 2019

How many times do I have to repeat this?

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/mccain-and-the-pow-cover-up/

By Sydney Schanberg •

Eighteen months ago, TAC publisher Ron Unz discovered an astonishing account of the role the 2008 Republican presidential nominee, John McCain, had played in suppressing information about what happened to American soldiers missing in action in Vietnam. Below, we present in full Sydney Schanberg’s explosive story.

* * *

John McCain, who has risen to political prominence on his image as a Vietnam POW war hero, has, inexplicably, worked very hard to hide from the public stunning information about American prisoners in Vietnam who, unlike him, didn’t return home. Throughout his Senate career, McCain has quietly sponsored and pushed into federal law a set of prohibitions that keep the most revealing information about these men buried as classified documents. Thus the war hero who people would logically imagine as a determined crusader for the interests of POWs and their families became instead the strange champion of hiding the evidence and closing the books.

Almost as striking is the manner in which the mainstream press has shied from reporting the POW story and McCain’s role in it, even as the Republican Party has made McCain’s military service the focus of his presidential campaign. Reporters who had covered the Vietnam War turned their heads and walked in other directions. McCain doesn’t talk about the missing men, and the press never asks him about them.

The sum of the secrets McCain has sought to hide is not small. There exists a telling mass of official documents, radio intercepts, witness depositions, satellite photos of rescue symbols that pilots were trained to use, electronic messages from the ground containing the individual code numbers given to airmen, a rescue mission by a special forces unit that was aborted twice by Washington—and even sworn testimony by two Defense secretaries that “men were left behind.” This imposing body of evidence suggests that a large number—the documents indicate probably hundreds—of the U.S. prisoners held by Vietnam were not returned when the peace treaty was signed in January 1973 and Hanoi released 591 men, among them Navy combat pilot John S. McCain.

Mass of Evidence

The Pentagon had been withholding significant information from POW families for years. What’s more, the Pentagon’s POW/MIA operation had been publicly shamed by internal whistleblowers and POW families for holding back documents as part of a policy of “debunking” POW intelligence even when the information was obviously credible…

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POW

 

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Bloomberg’s Armsmaker-Funded Columnist Wants You to Know: Military Spending Is Woke | FAIR

Posted by M. C. on March 21, 2019

Perhaps an enterprising editor, not wanting to collaborate in this transparent scam, will break convention and actually make clear to the reader what 20 seconds of Google would show: that these columns are written by people directly invested in the continued bloating of the Pentagon and function in effect, if not intent, as little more than marketing tools for industries and armies that build, stock and use weapons systems.

To paraphrase bank robber Willie Sutton: Military budgets are where the money is.

https://fair.org/home/bloombergs-armsmaker-funded-columnist-wants-you-to-know-military-spending-is-woke/

You may not know it, but bloated Pentagon budgets are actually “progressive.” Or so says a recent opinion piece in Bloomberg News (3/17/19), “Progressives Should Learn to Love the Pentagon Budget,” by Hal Brands.

Bloomberg identifies Brands as the “Henry Kissinger Distinguished Professor at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies, and senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments.” “Kissinger” is ominous enough, but surely Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments is some innocuous, wonky academic institution, no?

In a piece explicitly defending bloated military budgets, however, perhaps it would be useful to know what exactly the “Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments” is.  We can start by reading this section taken directly from their website (unabridged):

Below is a list of organizations that have contributed to our efforts over the past three years.

  • Aerojet Rocketdyne

  • Army Strategic Studies Group

  • Army War College

  • Austal USA

  • Australian Department of Defence

  • BAE Systems Inc.

  • Carnegie Corporation of New York

  • Chemring Group

  • Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)

  • Department of the Navy

  • Embassy of Japan

  • Fincantieri/Marinette

  • Free University Brussels

  • General Atomics

  • General Dynamics—National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (NASSCO)

  • Harris Corporation

  • Huntington Ingalls Industries

  • Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies

  • Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force

  • Kongsberg Defense Systems, Inc.

  • L3 Technologies, Inc.

  • Lockheed Martin Corporation

  • Maersk Line, Limited

  • Metron

  • National Defense University

  • Navy League of the United States

  • Northrop Grumman Corporation

  • Office of the Secretary of Defense/Office of Net Assessment (ONA)

  • Office of the Secretary of Defense/Office of Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation (CAPE)

  • Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment (AT&L)

  • Polski Instytut Spraw Miedzynarodowych (PISM)

  • Raven Industries

  • Raytheon Company

  • Sasakawa Peace Foundation

  • Sarah Scaife Foundation

  • SEACOR Holdings

  • Secretary of Defense Corporate Fellows Program

  • Smith Richardson Foundation

  • Submarine Industrial Base Council

  • Taiwan Ministry of National Defense

  • Textron Systems

  • The Boeing Company

  • The Doris & Stanley Tananbaum Foundation

  • The Lynde & Harry Bradley Foundation

  • United Kingdom Royal Air Force

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War_Is_a_Racket_(cover)

 

 

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Pentagon Spent $4.6 Million on Lobster Tail and Crab in One Month – Hit & Run : Reason.com

Posted by M. C. on March 15, 2019

Bureaucrats with lemonade stand mentalities spending your money.

Is anyone other than “Libertarian nut” Rand Paul squawking?

https://reason.com/blog/2019/03/08/pentagon-spent-46-million-on-lobster-tai

The federal government spends a disproportionate amount of its budget for outside contractors in the final month of the fiscal year, as agencies rush to blow through cash before it’s too late. Among the more noteworthy expenditures in 2018, according to the watchdog group Open the Books, was $4.6 million for lobster tail and crab.

Such use-it-or-lose-it spending stems from the fact that each federal agency is given a certain amount of money it can spend on outside contractors for the fiscal year. If the agency comes in under budget, Congress might decide to appropriate less money the following year.

Or as The Office‘s Oscar Martinez explains to Michael Scott in “The Surplus”: “Your mommy and daddy give you $10 to open up a lemonade stand, so you go out and you buy cups and you buy lemons and you buy sugar. And now you find out that it only cost you $9, so you have an extra dollar,” he explains. “So you can give that dollar back to mommy and daddy. But guess what: Next summer, and you ask them for money, they’re going to give you $9 because that’s what they think it cost to run the stand. So what you want to do is spend that dollar on something now, so that your parents think that it cost $10 to run the lemonade stand.”…

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profiteering

War Is A Racket

 

 

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