The fact that the various branches of the military in the United States is managed by executives of private corporation is nothing new. The following example is another in a long legacy of the business of war. Every bomb or bullet made is money in the bank for the investors.
2013-08-07 "Obama Nominates Defense Contractor Executive as Air Force Secretary"
by Allen McDuffee [http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2013/08/obama-nominates-defense-contractor-executive-as-air-force-secretary/]:
President Obama has nominated defense industry executive Deborah Lee James to the post of secretary of the U.S. Air Force, according to the White House.
James is the president of the technology and engineering sector at the McLean, Va.-based Science Application (SAIC), where she has been an executive since 2004. If confirmed by the Senate, James would succeed Michael Donley, who retired in June.
“Deborah’s strong record of public service and leadership in the private sector makes her uniquely qualified to be my nominee for Secretary of the Air Force,” said President Obama in a statement. “I look forward to working with her to keep our Air Force the very best in the world and to keep faith with our extraordinary Air Force personnel and their families.” The decision to nominate James, a committee member of the Defense Department Advisory Committee on Women in the Services, to the top civilian post in the Air Force is a strong symbolic measure to women in the Air Force, and the Armed Services more generally, that the White House is taking seriously the sexual assault epidemic it faces, including multiple high-profile cases this spring.
“This nomination might have a lot to do with veering from the old boys network, especially in the wake of the sexual assault problems in the military,” said Scott Amey, general counsel to the Project on Government Oversight, a watchdog organization in Washington, D.C.
However, the nomination also raises questions about Pentagon-contractor relations at a time when the Pentagon is forced to rethink its budget, as well as questions about the revolving door between the Pentagon and the defense industry. Before her time at SAIC, James was assistant secretary of defense for reserve affairs from 1993 to 1998 and was a staff member on the House Armed Services Committee for ten years.
“It goes to show that the revolving door is still rotating,” said Amey. “Cuts are forthcoming and we need strategic reviews of missions, programs, projects, and workforce solutions that protect taxpayers, not contractors.”
“People have complained for years about the revolving door between industry and the Pentagon, and this is just the latest piece of information that confirms the process remains alive and well, despite Barack Obama’s pledge to clean up Washington,” said Christopher Preble, vice president for defense and foreign policy studies at the Cato Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based libertarian think tank.
Preble notes that industry insiders have a leg up in the competition for top Pentagon jobs because they often understand better than anybody the complicated rules in doing business with the government, which could also provide the opportunity for conflict of interest.
“Their involvement in decisions about how to spend taxpayer dollars, and the likelihood that many of those dollars will go to their former companies, creates a persistent appearance of a conflict of interest,” said Preble.
James would take the reins at a time when her experience in personnel matters would be put to the test as the public is increasingly aware of sexual assault scandals and lawmakers are quarreling over how those cases should be handled.
The head of the Air Force’s sexual assault prevention and response team, Lt. Col. Jeffrey Krusinski, was arrested and charged with sexual battery in May after allegedly groping a woman outside a strip club near the Pentagon (the sexual battery charges were later dropped). The month before that, Air Force Lt. Gen. Craig Franklin, commander of the 3rd Air Force at Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany, overturned the sexual assault conviction of a fighter pilot who was accused of fondling a victim while she slept in his guest bedroom.
In recent weeks, a clash over whether to leave sexual assault cases in the military’s chain of command has played out on Capitol Hill, setting up a duel between two Democratic women senators who sit on the Senate Armed Services Committee.