“Spigot of military dollars is about to reopen”
No surprise, the Trump transition’s “landing team” for defense includes several members with deep connections to corporations (including Boeing, L-3, Elbit, Cubic, BAE) that sell weapons to the US government plus at least two consulting/lobbying firms.
Of those with military experience, the Trump team appears to have a clear preference for Army officers.
The Department of Defense “landing team” members were announced on November 18.
Writing in Defense News, Aaron Mehta suggests the appointments indicate that any skepticism about excessive military spending Trump voiced on the campaign trail may be put aside. “Those comments seem long ago, with today’s team announcement unlikely to change the belief among investors that the spigot of military dollars is about to reopen,” Mehta reported last week.
Here’s the cast of characters that will guide the Trump transition:
Mira Ricardel, who spent 8 years as a Boeing VP for space and missile systems, describes herself as consultant specializing in “marketing, sales and growth strategies, leveraging extensive US Government policy, program and operations expertise in the defense and aerospace arena.” Prior to her service at Boeing (2006 – 2015), she held senior positions at the Pentagon, worked on Capitol Hill, and spent a year and a half at Freedom House.
Keith Kellogg is a retired U.S. Army general who ran the Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad from 2003 to 2004 and later served as a Vice President at the Cubic Corporation. Cubic subsidiaries specialize in combat training and “highly specialized support services for military and security forces of the U.S. and allied nations,” such as “networked Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) capabilities for defense, intelligence, security, and commercial missions.” Cubic says it has operations in nearly 60 countries.
Thomas Carter, another veteran of the Coalition Provisional Authority, has been in and out of military, diplomatic, political, and corporate service going back to the Reagan administration. Most recently, he spent several years lobbying for Elbit Systems, an Israeli military electronics company that manufactures drones and surveillance components of Israel’s separation wall. Elbit, which, owns Kohlsman Instruments in Merrimack NH, has been targeted for divestment by the BDS movement.
Michael Duffey, currently Executive Director of the Wisconsin Republican Party, previously served in a variety of Pentagon posts, including special assistant to the White House liaison.
William Hartzog, another retired Army general, currently serves as CEO of Burdeshaw Associates, which describes itself as “a full-spectrum, senior consulting and professional services firm, consisting of former Senior Military Officers, Government Civilians, and Corporate Executives with unparalleled knowledge, experience and insight.” The firm was founded in 1979, it says, “to bridge the gap between the defense industry and the U.S. Army, primarily in its equipment development process.” According to Open Secrets, Hartzog was a lobbyist for a partnership between the Nurol Group of Turkey and BAE Systems. The partnership, known as FNSS Defence Systems, supplies combat vehicles and weapons to Turkey’s armed forces.
Justin Johnson served as an aide to Rep. Todd Akin and Rep. Doug Lamborn, a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee, before landing at the Heritage Foundation, where he specializes in defense budgets and policy.
Earl Matthews is described as a current or recent employee of the U.S. Army.
Bert Mizusawa, another retired Army general, ran for Congress in 2010 and lost in a competitive GOP primary.
Sergio de la Pena is a retired Army colonel who has lobbied for L-3 Communications and now runs his own consulting firm. From 2006 to 2008, he served as Division Chief for International Affairs in the Northern Command, which runs U.S. military operations in North America and the Caribbean. L-3 is the ninth largest military contractor, according to Defense News.