This is an important piece. Thanks for writing. It could use some editing, which would make it more share-worthy.
I recently started reading ‘Prophets of War’, William Hartung’s book on the history & rise of Lockheed Martin, and it details one of the first ‘too big to fail’ moments in the DoD where Lockheed, in 1971 threatened corporate suicide unless the pentagon guaranteed $757 million in “relief” funding for 4 major military contracts. Described by PA congressman William Moorhead: “This is like an 80-ton dinosaur who comes to the door and says, ‘If you don’t feed me I will die and what will you do with 80 tons of dead stinking dinosaur in your yard?’”
Lockheed eventually got the funding and more, with the help of Secretary of Defense David Packard (founder of HP, another huge war contractor). This deal also lead to a $250 million pentagon guarantee for a troubled non-military commercial jet project. A windfall for Lockheed, a tragedy for taxpayers.
We are where we are because we have built upon greater and greater thresholds of precedent. Walking this dinosaur back up the road to understand how we got here is really important, and you fine folks are doing a great job at it. Keep it up.
-Joshua Shepherd, US Navy 2002–2008