Nine months into the Trump Presidency concerns mount over the appointment of those with a defense contracting background to Pentagon positions.
Some have criticized the speed of President Trump’s nominations, but there is a more concern over the overall impartiality and objective decision-making abilities of the nominees themselves.
President Trump has sought to nominate executives of the defense industry such as Mark Esper of Raytheon, Ellen Lord of Textron Systems and Pat Shanahan of Boeing to positions within the Pentagon such as the Secretary of the Army, Top Weapons Buyer, and Deputy Defense Secretary, respectively. This raises concerns amongst many of the Senate, including Senator John McCain of Arizona, who pointed out that the majority of military and defense spending is between five corporations.
The conflicts of interests that arise in nominating defense executives to Defense Department posts are significant. People in these high-level civilian defense positions have the potential to choose when, where, and how many weapons are purchased with American tax dollars. If given free reign, these nominees could use their power for their own gain rather than in the public interest.
The gain, or profit, in the world of defense contracting is tied up in the number of weapons of destruction that are procured by our government. With more and more systematic issues becoming increasingly overt, it is crucial that we, as engaged members of society, continue to demand further transparency about who or what is happening with our tax dollars behind closed doors.