The Arms Industry’s Dream Representative: Pentagon Pork and Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood

Analyses of who won and who lost in this year’s midterm elections are well underway.

For its part, the arms industry had one big win, among others: the likely ascension of Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL) to the chair of the House Armed Services Committee. Rogers is a hawks’ hawk and longtime advocate of 3 to 5% annual growth in Pentagon spending, adjusted for inflation. Spending at this rate would push the Pentagon budget to $1 trillion or more before the end of this decade, an unprecedented figure that would be by far the highest level reached by the department since World War II.

The 3 to 5% figure, touted not only by Rogers but by other Pentagon budget boosters like outgoing ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), is not based on a careful consideration of America’s defense needs. It is rooted in an offhand comment by former Trump administration defense secretary and General Dynamics board member James Mattis, amplified by a 2018 report by the Congressionally mandated National Defense Strategy Commission.

Before going deeper into Rogers’ record, it is worth reflecting briefly on Mattis’s career path given his advocacy of a huge influx of funding for the military-industrial complex. Mattis came into the Trump administration from a board position at General Dynamics, a top 5 arms contractor, and returned there after leaving government.

Read the full piece in Forbes.

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