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The result was that the interests of these corporations became inexorably intertwined with the fortunes of government. Increased production by arms manufacturers meant corresponding increases in employment and wages. Countries such as France, Italy, and Germany actively encouraged arms exports and weapons transfers to benefit the domestic defense sector. Meanwhile, governments also became deeply involved in weapons production and military systems planning.
Within the United States and countries such as Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom, governments did not have the degree of direct influence or ownership common among western European nations; however, significant connections emerged between the military and private industry as new requirements emerged for increasingly sophisticated weaponry and military technology. Through the s and s, the U.
In the post— Vietnam War — era of the s, cuts in military spending prompted the defense sector to become more organized. President Jimmy Carter sought to reduce the ties between the defense companies and the national security establishment, but his overall defense strategy emphasized new weapons systems concurrent with reductions in man power, thereby continuing the importance of research and development of new systems and weapons.
Defense corporations in the United States and Europe expanded in the s. For instance, from to , U.
From Boom to Bubble: How Finance Built the New Chicago (Hardcover)
The end of the cold war ushered in an era of mergers and acquisitions. By the end of the s, the three largest U. Critics in the United States assert that the military-industrial complex has led to the emergence of an iron triangle—the U. Department of Defense, Congress, and corporations.
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Members of Congress and government officials support procurement programs that provide jobs or support industry in their home states or districts. Meanwhile, defense companies provide significant financial support for reelection campaigns—sometimes pay outright bribes—while cost overruns and delays plague the sector. Military officers and defense department officials offer broad support for new weapons and defense systems to improve capabilities or to gain lucrative jobs in the private sector.
Scholars and reporters such as economist and industrial engineer Seymour Melman, sociologist Gregory Hooks, and journalist Andy Pasztor wrote about the problems and dangers of the military-industrial complex. Later critical works, including those by political scientists Rachel Weber and Chalmers Johnson, often linked the defense-industrial sector with increased militarism and an aggressive foreign policy. By the late s, there were more than fifty ongoing investigations into fraud and waste by defense firms in the United States alone.
In response, the U. Congress enacted a series of procurement reforms in the s and early s designed to cut waste in procurement.
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Military-industrial complex -- United States. United States -- Defenses -- Economic aspects.
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