The expression military–industrial complex (MIC) describes the relationship between a nation's military and the defense industry that supplies it, seen together as a vested interest which influences public policy.A driving factor behind the relationship between the military and the defense-minded corporations is that both sides benefit—one side from obtaining war weapons, and the other from being paid to supply them. The term is most often used in reference to the system behind the military of the United States, where the relationship is most prevalent due to close links among defense contractors, the Pentagon, and politicians. The expression gained popularity after a warning of the relationship's detrimental effects, in the farewell address of President Dwight D. Eisenhower on 17 January 1961.
In the context of the United States, the appellation is sometimes extended to military–industrial–congressional complex (MICC), adding the U.S. Congress to form a three-sided relationship termed an "iron triangle".Its three legs include political contributions, political approval for military spending, lobbying to support bureaucracies, and oversight of the industry; or more broadly, the entire network of contracts and flows of money and resources among individuals as well as corporations and institutions of the defense contractors, private military contractors, the Pentagon, Congress, and the executive branch.
President of the United States (and five-star general during World War II) Dwight D. Eisenhower used the term in his Farewell Address to the Nation on January 17, 1961:
A vital element in keeping the peace is our military establishment. Our arms must be mighty, ready for instant action, so that no potential aggressor may be tempted to risk his own destruction...
This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence—economic, political, even spiritual—is felt in every city, every statehouse, every office of the federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society. In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military–industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists, and will persist.
We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals so that security and liberty may prosper together. [emphasis added]
The phrase was thought to have been "war-based" industrial complex before becoming "military" in later drafts of Eisenhower's speech, a claim passed on only by oral history.Geoffrey Perret, in his biography of Eisenhower, claims that, in one draft of the speech, the phrase was "military–industrial–congressional complex", indicating the essential role that the United States Congress plays in the propagation of the military industry, but the word "congressional" was dropped from the final version to appease the then-currently elected officials. James Ledbetter calls this a "stubborn misconception" not supported by any evidence; likewise a claim by Douglas Brinkley that it was originally "military–industrial–scientific complex". Additionally, Henry Giroux claims that it was originally "military–industrial–academic complex". The actual authors of the speech were Eisenhower's speechwriters Ralph E. Williams and Malcolm Moos.
Attempts to conceptualize something similar to a modern "military–industrial complex" existed before Eisenhower's address. Ledbetter finds the precise term used in 1947 in close to its later meaning in an article in Foreign Affairs by Winfield W. Riefler.In 1956, sociologist C. Wright Mills had claimed in his book The Power Elite that a class of military, business, and political leaders, driven by mutual interests, were the real leaders of the state, and were effectively beyond democratic control. Friedrich Hayek mentions in his 1944 book The Road to Serfdom the danger of a support of monopolistic organization of industry from World War II political remnants:
Another element which after this war is likely to strengthen the tendencies in this direction will be some of the men who during the war have tasted the powers of coercive control and will find it difficult to reconcile themselves with the humbler roles they will then have to play [in peaceful times].
Vietnam War–era activists, such as Seymour Melman, referred frequently to the concept, and use continued throughout the Cold War: George F. Kennan wrote in his preface to Norman Cousins's 1987 book The Pathology of Power, "Were the Soviet Union to sink tomorrow under the waters of the ocean, the American military–industrial complex would have to remain, substantially unchanged, until some other adversary could be invented. Anything else would be an unacceptable shock to the American economy."
In the late 1990s James Kurth asserted, "By the mid-1980s... the term had largely fallen out of public discussion." He went on to argue that "[w]hatever the power of arguments about the influence of the military–industrial complex on weapons procurement during the Cold War, they are much less relevant to the current era".
Contemporary students and critics of U.S. militarism continue to refer to and employ the term, however. For example, historian Chalmers Johnson uses words from the second, third, and fourth paragraphs quoted above from Eisenhower's address as an epigraph to Chapter Two ("The Roots of American Militarism") of a 2004 volumeon this subject. P. W. Singer's book concerning private military companies illustrates contemporary ways in which industry, particularly an information-based one, still interacts with the U.S. federal and the Pentagon.
The expressions permanent war economy and war corporatism are related concepts that have also been used in association with this term.[ citation needed ] The term is also used to describe comparable collusion in other political entities such as the German Empire (prior to and through the first world war), Britain, France, and (post-Soviet) Russia.[ citation needed ]
Linguist and anarchist theorist Noam Chomsky has suggested that "military–industrial complex" is a misnomer because (as he considers it) the phenomenon in question "is not specifically military".He asserts, "There is no military–industrial complex: it's just the industrial system operating under one or another pretext (defense was a pretext for a long time)."
At the end of the Cold War, American defense contractors bewailed what they called declining government weapons spending.They saw escalation of tensions, such as with Russia over Ukraine, as new opportunities for increased weapons sales, and have pushed the political system, both directly and through industry groups such as the National Defense Industrial Association, to spend more on military hardware. Pentagon contractor-funded American think tanks such as the Lexington Institute and the Atlantic Council have also demanded increased spending in view of the perceived Russian threat. Independent Western observers such as William Hartung, director of the Arms & Security Project at the Center for International Policy, noted that "Russian saber-rattling has additional benefits for weapons makers because it has become a standard part of the argument for higher Pentagon spending—even though the Pentagon already has more than enough money to address any actual threat to the United States."
Some sources divide the history of the military–industrial complex into three distinct eras.
From 1797 to 1941 the government only relied on civilian industries while the country was actually at war. The government owned their own shipyards and weapons manufacturing facilities which they relied on through World War I. With World War II came a massive shift in the way that the American government armed the military.
With the onset of World War II President Franklin D. Roosevelt established the War Production Board to coordinate civilian industries and shift them into wartime production. Throughout World War II arms production in the United States went from around one percent of the annual GDP to 40 percent of the GDP.Various American companies, such as Boeing and General Motors, maintained and expanded their defense divisions. These companies have gone on to develop various technologies that have improved civilian life as well, such as night-vision goggles and GPS.
The second era is identified as beginning with the coining of the term by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. This era continued through the Cold War period, up to the end of the Warsaw Pact and the collapse of the Soviet Union. In 1993 the Pentagon urged defense contractors to consolidate due to the collapse of communism and shrinking defense budget.
In the third era, defense contractors either consolidated or shifted their focus to civilian innovation. From 1992 to 1997 there was a total of US$55 billion worth of mergers in the defense industry, with major defense companies purchasing smaller competitors.
In the current era, the military–industrial complex is seen as a core part of American policy-making. The American domestic economy is now tied directly to the success of the MIC which has led to concerns of repression as Cold War-era attitudes are still prevalent among the American public.
Shifts in values and the collapse of communism have ushered in a new era for the military–industrial complex. The Department of Defense works in coordination with traditional military–industrial complex aligned companies such as Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman. Many former defense contractors have shifted operations to the civilian market and sold off their defense departments.
Benefits of the Military Industrial Complex of the United States include the advancement of the civilian technology market as civilian companies benefit from innovations from the MIC and vice versa.
According to the military subsidy theory, the Cold War-era mass production of aircraft benefited the civilian aircraft industry. The theory asserts that the technologies developed during the Cold War along with the financial backing of the military led to the dominance of American aviation companies. There is also strong evidence that the United States federal government intentionally paid a higher price for these innovations to serve as a subsidy for civilian aircraft advancement.
According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, total world spending on military expenses in 2018 was $1822 billion. 36% of this total, roughly $649 billion, was spent by the United States.The privatization of the production and invention of military technology also leads to a complicated relationship with significant research and development of many technologies. In 2011, the United States spent more (in absolute numbers) on its military than the next 13 nations combined.
The military budget of the United States for the 2009 fiscal year was $515.4 billion. Adding emergency discretionary spending and supplemental spending brings the sum to $651.2 billion.This does not include many military-related items that are outside of the Defense Department budget. Overall the U.S. federal government is spending about $1 trillion annually on defense-related purposes.
In a 2012 story, Salon reported, "Despite a decline in global arms sales in 2010 due to recessionary pressures, the United States increased its market share, accounting for a whopping 53 percent of the trade that year. Last year saw the United States on pace to deliver more than $46 billion in foreign arms sales."The defense industry also tends to contribute heavily to incumbent members of Congress.
A thesis similar to the military–industrial complex was originally expressed by Daniel Guérin, in his 1936 book Fascism and Big Business , about the fascist government ties to heavy industry. It can be defined as, "an informal and changing coalition of groups with vested psychological, moral, and material interests in the continuous development and maintenance of high levels of weaponry, in preservation of colonial markets and in military-strategic conceptions of internal affairs."An exhibit of the trend was made in Franz Leopold Neumann's book Behemoth: The Structure and Practice of National Socialism in 1942, a study of how Nazism came into a position of power in a democratic state.
Within decades of its inception, the idea of the military–industrial complex gave rise to other similar Industrial complexes, including the animal–industrial complex, prison–industrial complex, pharmaceutical–industrial complex, entertainment-industrial complex, and medical–industrial complex. : ix–xxv Virtually all institutions in sectors ranging from agriculture, medicine, entertainment, and media, to education, criminal justice, security, and transportation, began reconceiving and reconstructing in accordance with capitalist, industrial, and bureaucratic models with the aim of realizing profit, growth, and other imperatives. According to Steven Best, all these systems interrelate and reinforce one another.
The concept of the military–industrial complex has been expanded to include the entertainment and creative industries as well. For an example in practice, Matthew Brummer describes Japan's Manga Military and how the Ministry of Defense uses popular culture and the moe that it engenders to shape domestic and international perceptions.
An alternative term to describe the interdependence between the military-industrial complex and the entertainment industry is coined by James Der Derian as "Military-Industrial-Media-Entertainment-Network".
Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower was an American military officer and statesman who served as the 34th president of the United States from 1953 to 1961. During World War II, he served as Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force in Europe, and achieved the rare five-star rank of General of the Army. He was responsible for planning and supervising the invasion of North Africa in Operation Torch in 1942–1943 and the successful invasion of Normandy in 1944–1945 from the Western Front.
Perpetual war, endless war, or a forever war, is a lasting state of war with no clear conditions that would lead to its conclusion. These wars are situations of ongoing tension that may escalate at any moment, similar to the Cold War. From the late 20th century, the concepts have been used to critique the United States Armed Forces interventions in foreign nations and the military–industrial complex, or wars with ambiguous enemies such as the War on Terror, War on Drugs or the War on Poverty.
Militarism is the belief or the desire of a government or a people that a state should maintain a strong military capability and to use it aggressively to expand national interests and/or values. It may also imply the glorification of the military and of the ideals of a professional military class and the "predominance of the armed forces in the administration or policy of the state".
Seymour Melman was an American professor emeritus of industrial engineering and operations research at Columbia University's Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science.
A military budget, also known as a defense budget, is the amount of financial resources dedicated by a state to raising and maintaining an armed forces or other methods essential for defense purposes.
In macroeconomics, the guns versus butter model is an example of a simple production–possibility frontier. It demonstrates the relationship between a nation's investment in defense and civilian goods. The "guns or butter" model is used generally as a simplification of national spending as a part of GDP. This may be seen as an analogy for choices between defense and civilian spending in more complex economies. The nation will have to decide which balance of guns versus butter best fulfills its needs, with its choice being partly influenced by the military spending and military stance of potential opponents.
Why We Fight is a 2005 documentary film about the military–industrial complex directed by Eugene Jarecki. The title refers to the World War II-era eponymous propaganda movies commissioned by the U.S. Government to justify their decision to enter the war against the Axis Powers.
The Japanese defense industry is the part of the Japanese economy responsible for the procurement of military technology, primarily for the nation's own Self-Defense Forces, largely due to a strict policy on national exports.
Economic conversion, defence conversion, or arms conversion, is a technical, economic and political process for moving from military to civilian markets. Economic conversion takes place on several levels and can be applied to different organizations. In terms of levels, conversion can take place at the level of new innovation projects, divisions within multi-divisional firms, companies, and national economies. In terms of objects, conversion can govern workers, firms and land. Some of these scales obviously overlap. Organizations that can be converted include defense firms, military bases, and defense laboratories.
Dwight D. Eisenhower's tenure as the 34th president of the United States began on his inauguration on January 20, 1953, and ended on January 20, 1961. Eisenhower, a Republican, took office as president following his victory over Democrat Adlai Stevenson in the 1952 presidential election. John F. Kennedy succeeded him after winning the 1960 presidential election.
The Garrison State is a concept first introduced in a seminal, highly influential and cited 1941 article originally published in the American Journal of Sociology by political scientist and sociologist Harold Lasswell. It was a "developmental construct" that outlined the possibility of a political-military elite composed of "specialists in violence" in a modern state. Lasswell was particularly influenced by the development of aerial warfare, especially as employed during the Second Sino-Japanese War, which he believed would lead to a "socialization of danger" throughout. His writings preceded and anticipated criminal fire-bombing campaigns in the era of the Vietnam War, including the use of Agent Orange, and beyond, as well as firebombings of Dresden, Tokyo, London, Hamburg and use of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II.
The Dwight D. Eisenhower School for National Security and Resource Strategy, formerly known as the Industrial College of the Armed Forces (ICAF), is a part of the National Defense University. It was renamed on September 6, 2012, in honor of Dwight D. Eisenhower who graduated from this school when it was previously known as the Army Industrial College.
The military–industrial–media complex is an offshoot of the military–industrial complex. Organizations like Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting have accused the military industrial media complex of using their media resources to promote militarism, which, according to Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting's hypothesis, benefits the defense resources of the company and allows for a controlled narrative of armed conflicts. In this way, media coverage can be manipulated to show increased effectiveness of weapons systems and to avoid covering civilian casualties, or reducing the emphasis on them. Examples of such coverage include that of the Persian Gulf War, NATO bombing of Yugoslavia and the Iraq War. It is a common practice by defense contractors and weapons systems manufacturers to hire former military personnel as media spokespersons. In 2008, The New York Times found that approximately 75 military analysts – many with military industry ties – were being investigated by the Government Accountability Office and other federal organizations for taking part in a years-long campaign to influence them into becoming "surrogates" for the Bush administration's military policy in the media.
The industrial complex is a socioeconomic concept wherein businesses become entwined in social or political systems or institutions, creating or bolstering a profit economy from these systems. Such a complex is said to pursue its own financial interests regardless of, and often at the expense of, the best interests of society and individuals. Businesses within an industrial complex may have been created to advance a social or political goal, but mostly profit when the goal is not reached. The industrial complex may profit financially from maintaining socially detrimental or inefficient systems.
The National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA) is a trade association for the United States government and defense industrial base. It is an educational 501(c)3 educational organization. Its headquarters are in Arlington, Virginia. NDIA was established in 1919 as a result of the inability of the defense industry to scale up the war effort during World War I.
The Complex: How the Military Invades Our Everyday Lives is a book about the United States military, written by journalist Nick Turse. It was published in 2008 in hardcover format by Metropolitan Books. The book describes the vast changes in the industrial complex of the U.S. military from the days of President Dwight D. Eisenhower to 2008, its effect on American society, and how the military and private business spheres interact with each other. The book received positive reviews in Mother Jones and Inter Press Service, and critical reviews by Jeffrey St. Clair of CounterPunch, and in Kirkus Reviews.
The Chance for Peace speech, also known as the Cross of Iron speech, was an address given by U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower on April 16, 1953, shortly after the death of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin. Speaking only three months into his presidency, Eisenhower likened arms spending to stealing from the people, and evoked William Jennings Bryan in describing "humanity hanging from a cross of iron." Although Eisenhower, a former military man, spoke against increased military spending, the Cold War deepened during his administration and political pressures for increased military spending mounted. By the time he left office in 1961, he felt it necessary to warn of the military-industrial complex in his final address.
Eisenhower's farewell address was the final public speech of Dwight D. Eisenhower as the 34th President of the United States, delivered in a television broadcast on January 17, 1961. Perhaps best known for advocating that the nation guards against the potential influence of the military–industrial complex, a term he is credited with coining, the speech also expressed concerns about planning for the future and the dangers of massive spending, especially deficit spending, the prospect of the domination of science through federal funding and, conversely, the domination of science-based public policy by what he called a "scientific-technological elite". This speech and Eisenhower's Chance for Peace speech have been called the "bookends" of his administration.
In political science, political economics, and peace and conflict studies, referring to the military–industrial complex, the peace–industrial complex defines the industry and economy derived from development, peacemaking, peacebuilding, and conflict resolution at both the domestic and foreign levels. While some scholars argue that the peace–industrial complex must oppose the military-industrial complex, others argue it is destined to become its natural, peaceful evolution, and further call it the "military-industrial complex 2.0". The latter argue the peace-industrial complex more precisely consists of turning military research and development into civilian technology as systematically as possible. Although it has been discussed in more recent times the concept was introduced as early as in 1969 by the U.S. Senate Committee on Government Operations.
Dwight David Eisenhower and American Power is a 1995 biography of the U.S. president and military leader by historian William B. Pickett, a professor at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, Indiana. It was published as part of Harlan Davidson's American Biographical History Series.
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