Raytheon Executive To be Army Secretary
Washington nominated a Raytheon executive to be Secretary of the U.S. Army; proving once again how cozy Washington is with defense contractors.
In another example of the Washington revolving door, yesterday the White House announced that Mark Esper a current Raytheon executive has been nominated to be the U.S. Army Secretary. The announcement came via a White House press release that nominated multiple personnel to various administration posts. Raytheon is one of the leading recipients of United States defense contracts. According to Raytheon’s website they “provide state-of-the-art electronics, mission systems integration and other capabilities in the areas of sensing; effects; and command, control, communications and intelligence systems; as well as a broad range of mission support services.” Meaning Raytheon manufactures missiles and other weapons as well as provides various other defense services.
The White House Press release describes “Mr. Esper as an Army, Pentagon, and Capitol Hill veteran who previously served as a Vice President for government relations at the Raytheon Company.” Whereas, Politico reports Mr. Esper is Raytheon’s current Vice President of Government Relations. The White House’s report is presumably because upon acceptance of the U.S. Army Secretary position Mr. Esper would give up his position at Raytheon. In addition to working at Raytheon Mr. Esper has held numerous defense related positions and even received the Department of Defense Distinguished Public Service Medal.
Last April it was 59 Raytheon missiles that were fired into a Syrian military base in retaliation for a presumed but unproven Syrian gas attack. Fortune magazine reported that the morning after the strike Raytheon and other defense companies experienced a surge in their stock prices. They reported “the Tomahawk missile used in the strike is made by Raytheon (RTN, -0.12%), whose stock opened 2.5% higher Friday, adding more than $1 billion to the defense contractor’s market capitalization.” It’s not only Syria that has been good for the defense industry. The Saudi arms deal also gave a nice boost to defense stocks.
Mr. Esper’s role at Raytheon was Vice President of Government Relations; hence, he’s a lobbyist for war. His job was to make money for Raytheon by persuading government to adopt policies in Raytheon’s best interest. Raytheon makes money when the U.S. government buys weapons from them which only happens if the U.S. is continually at war. While Mr. Esper may technically sever any ties to the private defense industry, clearly he goes into a U.S. military position with a pro-War bias. A life time spent lobbying and making friends and connections in the corporate defense industry does not simply disappear with a new job post. What the American people now have is a U.S. Army Secretary with a bias towards war and generating revenue and profits for defense contractors. Once again the U.S. government and our tax money is just a cash machine for wealthy and influential corporations.