Total 2015 defense revenues for the Top 100 companies came in at $356.7 billion, down more than 7 percent from the 2014 Top 100 total of $385.8 billion. The top 25 companies accounted for 73 percent of total defense revenues in the year, and the Top 10 firms accounted for 54 percent of total defense revenues in the year, an improvement from the last two cycles, which saw that percentage drop a point each in 2013 and 2014.
Geographically, 41 of the Top 100 firms are based in the US, which accounted for 60 percent of total defense revenue, up from 54 percent in 2014 – a sign that even as other nations expand their defense industries, American companies remain dominant on the global stage. Europe has 27 companies featured, which increases if Russia’s six major defense companies are included, while the Asia-Pacific region has 17 companies. In contrast, Africa and South America were represented by a single firm each. …
Retired Army Gen. Richard Cody, a vice president at L-3 Communications, the seventh largest U.S. defense contractor, explained to shareholders in December that the industry was faced with a historic opportunity. Following the end of the Cold War, Cody said, peace had “pretty much broken out all over the world,” with Russia in decline and NATO nations celebrating. “The Wall came down,” he said, and “all defense budgets went south.”
Now, Cody argued, Russia “is resurgent” around the world, putting pressure on U.S. allies. “Nations that belong to NATO are supposed to spend 2 percent of their GDP on defense,” he said, according to a transcript of his remarks. “We know that uptick is coming and so we postured ourselves for it.”
The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is possibly one of the most useless jets and biggest waste of taxpayer money ever conceived by the US military. In fact, according to Pierre Sprey, one of the three men that created the F-16, the point of this plane is “to spend money.” He clarifies, “that is the mission of the airplane, is for the US Congress to send money to Lockheed [Martin].”
The report (pdf), Border Wars: The Arms Dealers Profiting from Europe’s Refugee Tragedy, released jointly by the European Stop Wapenhandel and Transnational Institute (TNI) on Monday, outlines arms traders’ pursuit of profit in the 21st century’s endless conflicts.
“There is one group of interests that have only benefited from the refugee crisis, and in particular from the European Union’s investment in ‘securing’ its borders,'” the report finds. “They are the military and security companies that provide the equipment to border guards, the surveillance technology to monitor frontiers, and the IT infrastructure to track population movements.”
But Cerberus is also very big in guns. It is run by people for whom everything is just business, from firesales to firearms, from Irish property deals to selling weapons of war to anyone who wants them. The connection between Belfastand Orlando reminds us of a truth that is easily forgotten – behind every mass shooting by a deranged psychopath in the US is a very profitable industry owned by Ivy League graduates with clean hands and manicured nails, respectable people who fund politicians in Congress and host charity galas inManhattan. If they had a slogan it would be the old Roman adage, pecunia non olet – money has no smell.
“F-18 has been a great program for this company and continues to be,” CFO Ken Bedingfield told investors this week at Citi’s Industrials Conference in Boston, adding that it’s also a “nice margin generator.”
“Was Bill Clinton’s expansion of NATO — after George H. W. Bush and [his Secretary of State] James Baker had assured Gorbachev and then Yeltsin that we wouldn’t go an inch further east — was this for Lockheed Martin, and Raytheon, and Boeing, and others, to increase their network of potential weapon sales?” Wilkerson asked.
“You bet it was,” he answered.
“Is there a penchant on behalf of the Congress to bless the use of force more often than not because of the constituencies they have and the money they get from the defense contractors?” Wilkerson continued.
Again, he answered his own question: “You bet.” Continue reading