News Release

Pentagon Contractors Cashing in on the Ukraine Crisis

WILLIAM HARTUNG, williamhartung55@gmail.com,

JULIA GLEDHILL, julia.gledhill@pogo.org

Hartung and Gledhill just wrote the piece “The New Gold Rush: How Pentagon Contractors Are Cashing in on the Ukraine Crisis.”

They write: “The Russian invasion of Ukraine has brought immense suffering to the people of that land, while sparking calls for increased military spending in both the United States and Europe. Though that war may prove to be a tragedy for the world, one group is already benefiting from it: U.S. arms contractors.

“Even before hostilities broke out, the CEOs of major weapons firms were talking about how tensions in Europe could pad their profits. In a January 2022 call with his company’s investors, Raytheon Technologies CEO Greg Hayes typically bragged that the prospect of conflict in Eastern Europe and other global hot spots would be good for business, adding that ‘we are seeing, I would say, opportunities for international sales… [T]he tensions in Eastern Europe, the tensions in the South China Sea, all of those things are putting pressure on some of the defense spending over there. So I fully expect we’re going to see some benefit from it.’ …

“For U.S. arms makers, however, the greatest benefits of the war in Ukraine won’t be immediate weapons sales, large as they are, but the changing nature of the ongoing debate over Pentagon spending itself. Of course, the representatives of such companies were already plugging the long-term challenge posed by China, a greatly exaggerated threat, but the Russian invasion is nothing short of manna from heaven for them, the ultimate rallying cry for advocates of greater military outlays. Even before the war, the Pentagon was slated to receive at least $7.3 trillion over the next decade, more than four times the cost of President Biden’s $1.7 trillion domestic Build Back Better plan, already stymied by members of Congress who labeled it ‘too expensive’ by far. And keep in mind that, given the current surge in Pentagon spending, that $7.3 trillion could prove a minimal figure.”

Gledhill is an analyst at the Center for Defense Information at the Project On Government Oversight. Hartung, a TomDispatch regular, is a senior research fellow at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, and the author of Prophets of War: Lockheed Martin and the Making of the Military Industrial Complex.