Shares of the five biggest military corporations—Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, and General Dynamics—have more than tripled over the last five years and currently trade at or near all-time highs, so they are literally making a killing on killing.
Additionally, foreign military sales in fiscal year 2017, under the purview of both Obama and Trump, climbed to $42 billion, compared to $31 billion in the prior year, according to the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency. And global arms sales in 2016 rose for the first time since 2010, with 57.9 percent of global arms sales coming from U.S. companies.
Military corporations have engaged in extremely aggressive lobbying over the past several years, spending a total of more than $1 billion on lobbying since 2009 and employing anywhere from 700 to 1,000 lobbyists in any given year. To put that in perspective, the arms industry has employed significantly more than one lobbyist per member of Congress each year.
Examples of Trump’s industry-heavy administration include Secretary of Defense James Mattis, a former board member at General Dynamics; White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, who worked for a number of military firms and was an adviser to Pentagon contractor DynCorp; former Boeing executive and now Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan; former Lockheed Martin executive John Rood, nominated as undersecretary of defense for policy; former Raytheon Vice President Mark Esper, newly confirmed as Secretary of the Army; Heather Wilson, a former consultant to Lockheed Martin, who is Secretary of the Air Force; Ellen Lord, a former CEO for the aerospace company Textron, who is Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition; and National Security Council Chief of Staff Keith Kellogg, a former employee of the major military and intelligence contractor CACI.
As 46 million people in the U.S. live in poverty, as funding is stripped from vital life-affirming sectors and services, and as the country falls deeper into despair, the American public would do well to wake up to the fact of the blatant transformation of the U.S. government into the largest arms dealer in the world.