“Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of ploughshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well…We have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions.”
“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.” – From the farewell address of President Dwight David Eisenhower – January 17, 1961
The Blue Angels “Flight Demonstration Team) high-lighted last week-end’s annual Duluth Air Show, which coincided with the newly orchestrated Duluth “Navy Week”. Lockheed-Martin’s Person in Charge of Government Affairs, Michael Otterblad, was, not surprisingly, also in town for the show, hobnobbing with Trump supporter and GOP US Representative Pete Stauber. The two were photographed in the company of a F-35 test pilot (the F-35, of course, is produced and marketed by Lockheed-Martin the biggest defense contractor in the US). The military-industrial-congressional trio – which Ike warned about – were promoting the idea that Duluth’s 148th Fighter Wing of the Minnesota Air National Guard should purchase a fleet of F-35s. Currently the 148th flies a fleet of 50 General Dynamics-produced F-16s. (General Dynamics’ production facilities are now owned by Lockheed-Martin.)
The US Navy’s Blue Angels had once hoped to transition to Lockheed’s F-35s sometime in the future but instead the F-35 has become a boondoggle and the corporation is experiencing developmental delays and therefore sales resistance. The high-tech F-35 pilot helmets – by themselves – cost $250,000 each. You can imagine how complex and costly are the fighter jets that the helmeted pilots fly.
According to Popular Mechanics Lockheed’s F-35C was supposed to be “initial operations capable” (ie, “combat war-ready”) at the end of 2015. (Note that “combat war-ready” means that at least a squadron of planes can carry out limited combat operations.) Combat-readiness, according to some watchdog groups, may never come for the F-35.
Here are some reasons that kept the Blue Angels from transitioning to the F-35s:
- Replacing McDonnell-Douglas’s (now Boeing) Blue Angels Hornets with Lockheed-Martin’s F-35s would be enormously expensive ($121 million each). Buying 11 F-35’s for the “flight demonstration team” would cost $1.34 billion;
- It is more cost effective to convert planes that have already flown operationally and have already been paid for;
- The F-35C isn’t geared for the Blue Angels propaganda work (the F-35C is a single-seater cockpit and therefore the plane can’t give VIP celebrities and gullible journalists $10,000 rides at their air shows);
- The planned new Blue Angels’ fleet of new Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornets will have two twin seater jets for VIP work.
Besides being major draws at the 70+ air shows in which they make their high-priced appearances each year, impressing local celebrities, journalists, news media types, politicians and other non-military personnel by taking them up for demonstration flights is part of the team’s mission, which the Blue Angels say is “to give the public a better understanding of the what it means to fly the jets”.
Below is the financial information that explains why Wall Street, War Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (that lists only 30 of America’s largest corporations) and the world’s elite investor classes love wars.
It is important to note that the owners of the shares of the war-fomenting, war-agitating military contracting corporations include every wealthy investor whose whose stock portfolio values surge every time an (often orchestrated) international crisis occurs or whenever the President, the White House or the US Congress threatens military intervention. The same shareholder values of the elites rise whenever the politicians who gratefully took their campaign money reduce their taxes or make pollution less costly for their businesses.
Mr Ausick did a nice job helping us naïve lower-class US taxpayers understand some of the reasons why, in his farewell address, President Eisenhower tried to warn us about the adverse influence that the military-industrial-congressional complex might have on our once-prosperous, middle class-dominant, anti-imperialistic, anti-war, truly freedom-loving democratic nation. Here is that full article.
Ike’s Warning About America’s Threat to World Peace: The 7 Biggest Pentagon Contractors that Make up the Military-Industrial-Congressional Complex
- Lockheed Martin Corp. (NYSE: LMT)
> 2017 funding obligations: $50.70 billion
> Market cap:$85.15 billion
> Total revenue:$51.05 billion
> Net income: $2.00 billion
> Shares outstanding: 285.57 million
> Employees: approximately 100,000
Lockheed Martin is a pure-play defense contractor. The company builds and sells military aircraft, missiles, drones, fire control systems, helicopters, ships, and space systems. The government accounts for nearly all of Lockheed’s business, as the amount of federal funds obligated to the company accounted for nearly all of its full-year 2017 revenue. Lockheed captured nearly 18% of all federal procurement last year. The company’s headline program is the F-35 Lightning II Joint-Strike Fighter that is projected to haul in $1 trillion over its 60-year lifespan. For the current fiscal year, analysts forecast revenue of $51.33 billion and have a 12-month consensus price target on the stock of $371.89. Lockheed has cut some 26,000 employees since 2015.
- The Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA)
> 2017 funding obligations: $23.36 billion
> Market Cap:$194.29
> Total Revenue:$93.39 billion
> Net Income: $8.20 billion
> Shares outstanding: 588.45 million
> Employees: approximately 140,800
Military programs, including the KC-46A tanker, the F/A-18 Super Hornet, and Apache combat helicopter, accounted for more than $21 billion of Boeing’s fiscal year 2017 revenue, about 22% of the company’s total revenue. Like most of the other companies on this list, Boeing sells military systems internationally. The company expects $21.5 billion to $22.5 billion in military revenue for this year and has a backlog of $50 billion, 36% of which represents orders from foreign buyers. For the current fiscal year, analysts forecast revenue of $97.88 billion and have a 12-month consensus price target on the stock of $398.13.
- General Dynamics Corp. (NYSE: GD)
> 2017 funding obligations: $15.34 billion
> Market Cap:$55.80 billion
> Total Revenue:$30.97 billion
> Net Income: $9.56 billion
> Shares outstanding: 296.93 million
> Employees: 98,600
The poster child for General Dynamics is its Abrams main battle tank, but the company’s information systems and technology division accounted for the most revenue. To further bolster that part of the business, GD is paying $9.7 billion, including assumed debt, to acquire military IT specialist CSRA Inc. The deal will create the second largest provider of U.S. military IT services with annual sales of around $9.9 billion. As for those tanks, the company received a $1 billion contract from the U.S. government last year to upgrade 800 of them. For the current fiscal year, analysts forecast revenue of $35.94 billion and have a 12-month consensus price target on the stock of $247.53.
- Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN)
> 2017 funding obligations: $14.66 billion
> Market Cap:$56.18 billion
> Total Revenue:$25.35 billion
> Net Income: $2.00 billion
> Shares outstanding: 288.51 million
> Employees: approximately 64,000
Sales to the U.S. government accounted for two-thirds of Raytheon’s total 2017 revenue, and sales to foreign governments accounted for another 13%. The company’s largest division is missile systems, which brought in about $7.8 billion of last year’s revenue. Though there were rumors in the spring of 2017 that Boeing would acquire Raytheon, that did not happen. In addition to its missile business, Raytheon’s strengths include its radar, sensor, and guidance systems, and the company is focusing more on cybersecurity. Its Forcepoint cybersecurity joint venture with Vista Equity Partners racked up $608 million in revenue in 2017 and ended the year with a total backlog of $484 million. For the current fiscal year, analysts forecast revenue of $26.78 billion and have a 12-month consensus price target on the stock of $239.89.
- Northrop Grumman Corp. (NYSE: NOC)
> 2017 funding obligations: $11.19 billion
> Market Cap:$53.47 billion
> Total Revenue:$25.80 billion
> Net Income: $2.02 billion
> Shares outstanding: 174.09 million
> Employees: 70,000
Northrop Grumman operates in three main divisions: aerospace systems, mission systems, and technology services. The aerospace division manufactures and sells control systems for the F/A 18 (as a partner with Boeing), the B-2 bomber, and the venerable A-10 Warthog. Earlier this month, the company’s $9.2 billion acquisition of Orbital ATK, a maker of solid-fuel rocket engines, was approved by the Federal Trade Commission. Northrop was also awarded a $103 million contract to upgrade the wings on the A-10 ground-attack aircraft, which entered service in 1977. For the current fiscal year, analysts forecast revenue of $27.43 billion and have a 12-month consensus price target on the stock of $367.50.
- McKesson Corp. (NYSE: MCK)
> 2017 funding obligations: $8.80 billion
> Market Cap:$29.66 billion
> Total Revenue:$208.36 billion
> Net Income: $67 million
> Shares outstanding: 202.05 million
> Employees: 78,000
McKesson primarily distributes medical and pharmaceutical supplies for health care providers and pharmacies around the world. The company is the pharmaceutical prime vendor (PPV) for the Department of Veterans Affairs. Its current contract ends on August 9, and there is a two-year option remaining that the VA may exercise. The contract, originally awarded in 2012, has generated average annual revenue of around $4 billion and could generate a total of $44 billion if extended to 2020. For the current fiscal year, analysts forecast revenue of $216.15 billion and have a 12-month consensus price target on the stock of $171.60.
- Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc. (NYSE: HII)
> 2017 funding obligations: $7.24 billion
> Market Cap:$9.51 billion
> Total Revenue:$7.44 billion
> Net Income: $479.00 million
> Shares outstanding: 44.79 million
> Employees: approximately 38,000
Huntington Ingalls builds the single most expensive and largest military weapon in the U.S. arsenal, the Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carrier. The first of four new carriers on order, the Ford was commissioned last year after the company spent $13 billion to build the ship. The fiscal 2019 budget includes $4.5 billion for continuing work on the second and the third carriers that will be christened the John F. Kennedy and the Enterprise. A name has not been selected for the fourth. Eventually, the Ford-class carriers are expected to replace the Navy’s entire current Nimitz-class fleet of 11, guaranteeing Huntington Ingalls a solid decade or so of work. For the current fiscal year, analysts forecast revenue of $7.63 billion and have a 12-month consensus price target on the stock of $254.64.