Position on Military Industrial Complex
Catalina M. Young
Archbishop Edward A. McCarthy
The “Military Industrial Complex” is a term coined by former President Dwight D. Eisenhower. This refers to the relationship between the nation’s armed forces and the industries that support them. Though its name came about in the 1960s, this relationship between armed forces and private industry dates back centuries. Recent legislation has been passed to help limit the power that this relationship has over defense spending.
For any country, military spending is a big part of the national budget. Over time this business transaction has formed into a relationship between the nation’s ...view middle of the document...
At that point in time, arms were still being manufactured and shipped over from Britain. Hamilton not only saw this as a more economical way to obtain arms, but also as a way to cut ties with foreign arms producers, which he thought was key to national security. This seemingly small proposal at the time, lead to the eventual production of arms on American soil. From this point onward the country’s defense and economy were intertwined.
As the need for more weapons grew, the process of making them transformed from a single person hand crafting a gun, to an assembly line of people each trained to build a separate part of a gun. In 1808 a policy for arming the United States’ militia called for more guns to be made. This act supplied the militia with $200,000 in arms and military equipment annually.(Encyclopedia of the New American Nation, 2013) Pretty soon thereafter national arms systems were set upon the national armories. A network of reliable arms manufacturers emerged. Contracts were drawn up between these armories and private manufacturers, who were more likely to test new means and materials to improve guns. This was key to an ideal system of arms production. This was the beginning of the military industrial complex. It was here that the desire for an innovative military arms snowballed into the high-tech industry that it is today.
"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."( Eisenhower, 1960) In his final speech, President Eisenhower warned the country of the dangers of the military industrial complex. As president, he would seek out ways to make peace without going to war. Even during the Cold War, President Eisenhower recognized the MIC as a means to prevent the Soviets from attacking the U.S. due to its extensive peacetime military. However he warned his fellow citizens to be aware of what they are doing and not to abuse its power.
Many people have claimed that the MIC does not exist. Yet Americans did not heed the warning of President Eisenhower. Over the past fifty years, defense manufacturers have grown immensely. Companies such as Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, and Boeing have grown from small private companies in to big corporations with multibillion dollar contracts with the United States government. Yet politicians such as Aaron L. Friedburg argued in opposition to the existence of the MIC, stating:
“[A]n array of societal forces blocked more ambitious proposals for the federal government to extract and direct resources to build American strategic power during the Truman and Eisenhower administrations. As a percentage of GNP, military spending declined from fiscal year 1958 to 1966. With this measure, one could argue that the MIC did not have the effects that Eisenhower had feared it would.” (Ball, 2002)