Business Game Changers Radio with Sarah Westall: War and Government Military Spending, Who Profits?

  09/05/2016  12:00 pm PDT

If you really want to know the truth, you need to follow the money. What is said publicly is almost certainly not the full story, especially in an age where the vast amount of activity is considered “top secret”.  The United States without question has an immense military establishment made up of tens of thousands of contributors spanning the globe (list of firms who have publicly announced contracts with the Department of Defense). The known government entities include at least 16 spy agencies, 14 military agencies, and other national security agencies.


According to a detailed Washington Post Investigation, there are 1,931 private companies working on counterterrorism, homeland security, and intelligence. The D.C. area alone has built 33 buildings containing 17 million square feet since 9/11 – the equivalent of 22 Capitol buildings. There are also approximately 500,000 private contractors with top security clearances working in national security.


Across the globe, the United States has significantly more bases than any other country in the world. According to Politicfact, the U.S. has at least 662 bases in 38 countries around the world. We also have upwards of 900 active sites in 148 countries when you include bases, temporary facilities, and other installations. See the full report here...   Contrast this to Russia who has the next largest military presence with 10 bases or military facilities.


There is no question that our national defense is of critical importance. Our country must be properly defended against our enemies and our citizens need a safe place to work and live. However, when you dig deeper into these numbers, you begin to wonder if we are over extending these goals to achieve other agendas that are not aligned with the objectives or needs of our citizens. Are we using our military to expand corporate interests and build power bases for individuals and other entities at the expense of our larger national needs?


To answer this question, William D. Hartung, the director of the Arms and Security Project at the Center for International Policy joins the program. We discuss the Military establishment and the money behind the industry. We also discuss what parts of the government and industry is actually considered part of the Military Industrial Complex, who are the biggest players, and how much money is being spent. We then dive into the black budget and the ongoing issues with reigning in the spending.


Mr. Hartung has written for the New York Times, the Washington Post, and many other publications. He has written the books “Prophets of War: Lockheed Martin and the Making of the Military-Industrial Complex”, “Lessons from Iraq: avoiding the next War”, and “How Much are You Making on the War, Daddy”. He has been a featured expert on national security issues in several documentaries, CBS 60 Minutes, NBC Nightly News, the Lehrer Newshour, CNN, Fox News, and scores of local, regional, and international radio outlets.


You can see more from William Hartung at the Center for International Policy:





Sarah Westall

BUSINESS GAME CHANGERS 12PM PT / 3PM ET Business Game Changers with Host Sarah Westall covers the big issues, disruptions, and cutting edge innovation. Each episode bri...

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William D. Hartung

William D. Hartung is the director of the Arms and Security Project at the center for International Policy. He previously served as the director of the Arms and Security Ini...

Find out more »