Follow us on social

Shutterstock_610061759-scaled

Report: Weapons industry pocketed at least $4.4 trillion since 9/11

Military contractors may have even ended up with as much as one-half of the Pentagon’s $14 trillion allocation from Congress.

Reporting | QiOSK

A new report released on Monday has found that as much as half of the Pentagon’s combined budgets from FY2001 to FY2020 — which amounted to about $14 trillion — went to the military contractors. 

The Center for International Policy’s Bill Hartung, in coordination with Brown University’s Costs of War Project, says that of that $14 trillion, “$4.4 trillion went for weapons procurement and research and development (R&D), categories that primarily benefit corporate contractors.” But that figure is a low-end estimate, as the report explains: 

The $4.4 trillion figure is a conservative estimate of the pool of funding Pentagon contractors have drawn from in the two decades since 9/11. The Pentagon’s massive budget for operations and maintenance (O&M) also subsidizes contractors, but it is harder to determine what share of this category goes to private firms.

The report also found that of that $4.4 trillion, the top five weapons firms — Lockheed Martin, Boeing, General Dynamics, Raytheon, and Northrop Grumman — received about half, at $2.1 trillion in Pentagon contracts. That finding roughly lines up with another recent estimate from Stephen Semler, co-founder of the Security Policy Reform Institute. 

To put these numbers into perspective, Hartung singled out what the Pentagon doled out to Lockheed Martin during FY2020 — $75 billion. By comparison, the State Department and USAID’s combined budgets for that year was just $44 billion. 

Hartung also notes that Pentagon contractors spent upwards of $2.5 billion lobbying Congress during the same time period. Indeed, the top five companies accounted for just about half that total. Responsible Statecraft’s Eli Clifton recently noted that their investment yielded quite a return, as those top five firms “earned $1,813 in Pentagon contracts for every dollar spent on lobbying.”

The report adds that these staggering figures were in part fueled by corruption. “Numerous companies took advantage of wartime conditions—which require speed of delivery and often involve less rigorous oversight—to overcharge the government or engage in outright fraud,” a report summary noted. “In 2011, the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan estimated that waste, fraud and abuse had totaled between $31 billion and $60 billion.”

Image: Pavel Chagochkin via shutterstock.com
Reporting | QiOSK
How much did the right really gain in Europe?

Marine Le Pen, President of the French far-right National Rally (Rassemblement National - RN) party parliamentary group, and Jordan Bardella, President of the French far-right National Rally (Rassemblement National - RN) party and head of the RN list for the European elections, attend a political rally during the party's campaign for the EU elections, in Paris, France, June 2, 2024. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann/File Photo

How much did the right really gain in Europe?

Europe

The elections for the European Parliament brought gains for parties belonging to both its populist far- right factions — European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) and the more radical Identity and Democracy (ID) group. Parties of the populist or far right (ECR, ID or unaffiliated) came in first in five countries: France, Italy, Austria, Hungary, and Slovakia.

In Germany, Poland, and the Netherlands, such parties made a strong second place showing. These elections produced highly unsettling developments in France and Germany, the two most influential EU member countries.

keep readingShow less
What the Swiss 'peace summit' can realistically achieve

President of the Swiss Confederation Viola Amherd and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy inspect the guard of honour of the Swiss Army, on Monday, January 15, 2024, in Kehrsatz, near Bern, Switzerland. Keystone/Alessandro Della Valle/Pool via REUTERS

What the Swiss 'peace summit' can realistically achieve

Europe

The Ukraine “Peace Summit” in Geneva this weekend is not really a summit and is not really about peace.

The agenda has been scaled back to discussions of limited measures aimed not at ending the war, but at softening some of its aspects. Outside Europe, very few international leaders are attending — including President Biden, who is sending Vice President Kamala Harris and national security adviser Jake Sullivan instead.

keep readingShow less
||
Diplomacy Watch: A peace summit without Russia
Diplomacy Watch: What’s the point of Swiss peace summit?

Diplomacy Watch: At G7 summit, West works to reassure Ukraine

QiOSK

Switzerland will host a summit this weekend aimed at shoring up global support for Ukraine’s war effort — and Washington and its Western partners are looking to ensure that Kyiv enters the meeting in as strong a position as possible.

Not much of the news coming out of Ukraine in recent months has been particularly positive. Russia has started taking Ukrainian territory for the first time since 2022, there has been increasing political turmoil in Kyiv, and morale among frontline soldiers continues to suffer. Last weekend, right-wing parties that are more skeptical of assisting Ukraine overperformed in European parliamentary elections, particularly in France and Germany.

keep readingShow less

Israel-Gaza Crisis

Latest