2021 was a good year to be a weapons contractor. Congress authorized $778 billion in military spending, one of the highest levels since World War II, and $25 billion more than the Pentagon even asked for. More than half of those funds will go to weapons contractors like Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, and General Dynamics.
At time when the greatest challenges to our security are pandemics, climate change, and domestic discord, why do we continue to shower these enormous sums on the Pentagon and the arms industry? Part of the answer has to do with an overly ambitious, cover-the-globe military strategy. But another substantial part of the problem is the political influence wielded by the military-industrial complex. To explore these issues, the Quincy Institute is pleased to host a discussion featuring Michael Brenes, interim director of the Brady-Johnson Program in Grand Strategy and lecturer in history at Yale; Shana Marshall, associate director of the Institute for Middle East Studies at George Washington University; and William Hartung, senior research fellow at the Quincy Institute. Kelley Vlahos, senior advisor at QI, will moderate.
This panel will explore the power of the military-industrial complex from its origins in World War II to the present, looking at its political strengths and weaknesses and how it might be overcome in service of a national security strategy that protects America’s vital interests and is much more cost-effective.