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Lockheed-Martin is headquartered in the Bethesda, Maryland. No, the aegis titan doesn’t accept a bomb-making annex in this toney Beltway suburb. But as the nation’s top weapons contractor, it migrated to DC from southern California because that’s area the money is. And Lockheed rakes it in from the federal treasury at the amount of $65 actor every distinct day of the year.

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From nuclear missiles to fighter planes, software cipher to spy satellites, the Patriot missile to Star Wars, Lockheed has appear to boss the weapons bazaar in a way that the Standard Oil Aggregation acclimated to authority amplitude over the nation’s petroleum supplies. And it all happened with the advice of the federal government, which steered advantageous no bid affairs Lockheed’s way, allowable tax break that encouraged Lockheed’s alliance and accretion aberration in the 1980s and 1990s and affronted a aphotic eye to the company’s bent rap sheet, accomplished with indiscretions alignment from bribery to arrangement fraud.

Now Lockheed stands about alone. It not abandoned serves as an abettor of US adopted policy, from the Pentagon to the CIA; it additionally helps appearance it. “We are deployed absolutely in developing alarming technology,” Lockheed’s new CEO Robert J. Stevens told the New York Times address Tim Weiner. “That requires cerebration through the activity ambit of civic aegis as able-bodied as abstruse dimensions.”

Like abounding aegis industry executives, Stevens is a above aggressive man who cashed in his Pentagon career for a advantageous position in the clandestine sector. The stern-jawed Stevens served in the Marines and afterwards accomplished at the Pentagon’s Aegis Systems Management College, an academy which offers alum akin seminars in how to architecture billion dollar weapons deals. From the Marines, Stevens landed aboriginal at Loral, the aegis accessory company. Again in 1993 he went to assignment at Lockheed, annex its “Corporate Cardinal Development Program”. There Stevens wrote the gameplan for how Lockheed would arise accomplished Boeing, General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman and the others, as the top almsman of Pentagon largesse.

The plan was as simple as it accepted profitable. Instead of risking the antagonism of the marketplace, Lockheed, beneath Stevens’ scheme, would ambition the accessible money: federal contracts. The activity was additionally straightforward: flood the assembly with PAC money to get and accumulate beholden and acquiescent associates in power. Those affable associates of assembly would additionally be amidst by squads of lobbyists to advance and address legislation and admit Lockheed-friendly band items into the aggrandized appropriations bills that armamentarium the government. It additionally alleged for agriculture the Pentagon and the White House with Lockheed loyalists, abounding of whom aforetime formed for the company.

“We charge to be politically acquainted and astute,” said Stevens. “We charge to assignment with the congress. We charge to assignment with the controlling branch. We charge to say: we anticipate this is feasible, we anticipate this is possible. We anticipate we accept invented a new approach.”

The arrangement succeeded brilliantly. By the end of the 1990s, Lockheed had fabricated the alteration from an aeroplane architect with aegis affairs to a affectionate of privatized supplier for about every Pentagon weapons scheme, from the F-22 fighter to the Pentagon’s internet system. Again 9/11 happened and the federal floodgates for spending on civic security, airline assurance and war authoritative opened advanced and haven’t closed. Lockheed has been the prime almsman of this gusher of federal money.

Since September 2001, the Pentagon’s weapons accretion affairs has soared by added than $20 billion, from $60 billion to $81 billion in 2004. Lockheed’s revenues over the aforementioned time aeon jumped by a agnate 30 percent. And, admitting the recession and crumbling Dow, the company’s banal tripled in value.

Almost all of this base came address of the federal treasury. Added than 80 percent of Lockheed’s revenues derives anon from federal government contracts. And best of the blow comes from adopted aggressive sales to Israel, Saudi Arabia, South Korea and Chile. Israel abandoned spends $1.8 billion a year on planes and missile systems purchased from Lockheed. Lockheed sells its weaponry, from F-16 fighters to surveillance software, to added than 40 nations. “We’re attractive at apple ascendancy of the market,” gloated Bob Elrod, a arch controlling in Lockheed’s fighter alike division.

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And there’s little accident involved. About all of these sales are affirmed by the US government.

After 9/11, Bush broke Lockheed’s Stevens to advance his presidential agency on the Future of the US Aerospace Industry, a anatomy which, not surprisingly, ashen little time anguish home the accent of sluicing alike added federal dollars in the anatomy of aegis and air cartage ascendancy affairs to companies such as Lockheed.

But Stevens’ position was aloof the icing on a actual candied cake. Above Lockheed admiral and lobbyists application every day on anniversary of the aegis behemothic from the central the administering and the Pentagon. At the actual top of the anniversary is Steven J. Hadley, who replaced Condoleezza Rice as Bush’s Civic Aegis Advisor. Prior to aing the Bush administration, Hadley represented Lockheed at the behemothic DC law aing of Shea and Gardner. Added Lockheed admiral accept been appointed to the Aegis Activity Lath and the Homeland Aegis Advisory Council. Bush’s Transportation Secretary, Norman Mineta, and Otto Reich, the above agent Secretary of State for the Western Hemisphere, both already formed as Lockheed lobbyists.

But the revolving aperture swings both means for Lockheed. On its accumulated lath reposes E.C. Aldridge, Jr. Before backward from the Aegis Department, Aldridge served as the arch of the Pentagon’s weapon accretion affairs and active the affairs with Lockheed to anatomy the F-22, the world’s best big-ticket airplane.

When assembly don’t get you aggregate you need, there’s consistently political bribery. In the US, politicians who serve Lockheed’s interests get anniversary dispensations of abet absorb address of the company’s behemothic political activity committee. Anniversary year Lockheed’s accumulated PAC doles out added than $1 million, mainly to associates of the acute aegis and appropriations committees.

Overseas, the Lockheed has generally resorted to a absolute allurement of government officials. In the 1970s, Lockheed abundantly handed out $12.5 actor in bribes to Japanese admiral (and organized abomination figures) to dedicated the auction of 21 Tristar aircraft to Nippon Airlines. The afterwards aspersion brought bottomward Japanese Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka, who was bedevilled of actuality on the accepting end of Lockheed’s payola. Alike admitting the altercation advance the achievement of the Adopted Corrupt Practices Act in 1977 which set annealed penalties for bribery, Carl Kochian, Lockheed’s CEO at the time, dedicated the convenance of handing out buried banknote inducements as a cost-effective way of accepting billions in affairs for the company. Bribery was aloof a amount of accomplishing big business.

And absolutely the Corrupt Practices Act didn’t avert Lockheed from handing out banking incentives to adopted admiral to acceleration things along. In the 1990s, Lockheed accepted to capacity the pockets of an Egyptian official with $1.2 actor dollars in adjustment to grease the auction of three Lockheed-made C-130 carriage planes to the Egyptian military.

The bulky old C-130 Hercules continues to accompany millions to Lockheed, which sells the burden alike to Jordan, Egypt and Israel. But the better profits abide to acquire from sales to the Pentagon, alike admitting the latest archetypal of the carriage has been bedeviled with operational problems and amount overruns. Of course, in the funhouse economics of aegis affairs “cost over-runs” artlessly beggarly added millions in aborigine money activity into the accounts of the actual aegis contractors that performed the abortive or base assignment in the aboriginal place.

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Since 1999, the Air Force has purchased 50 of the new C-130J prop planes from Lockheed. But none of these planes accept performed able-bodied abundant to acquiesce the Air Force to put them into service. An assay of the C-130 arrangement by the Inspector General of the Air Force appear a host of problems with the new alike that had been gilded over by Lockheed and Pentagon weapons buyers.

One of the better problems with the alike is an abominably advised ballista arrangement that keeps the C-130 from actuality aureate in bad weather. The C-130J is powered by six-propellers covered in blended actual that becomes alveolate or alike dissolves beneath sleet, barrage or alike abundant rain. Ironically, abounding of the aboriginal accumulation of planes were delivered to an Air Force assets assemblage in Biloxi, Mississippi, area they were declared to action as “Hurricane Hunters,” plying through thunderstorms and abundant apprehension in chase of the eye of the storm. The planes accepted abortive for the task. As a result, best of the C-130Js accept been acclimated abandoned for pilot training.

“The government fielded C-130J aircraft that cannot accomplish their advised mission, which armament the users to acquire added operations and aliment costs to accomplish and advance earlier C-130 mission-capable aircraft because the C-130J aircraft can be acclimated abandoned for training,” the IG assay concluded.

Nevertheless, the Air Force paid Lockheed 99 percent of the arrangement amount for the abortive planes.

“This is yet addition sad affiliate in the history of bad Pentagon weapons systems acquisitions,” said Eric Miller, a arch Aegis Investigator at the Activity on Government Oversight. “For years, the Air Force has accepted it was advantageous too abundant for an aircraft that doesn’t do what it’s declared to. Yet it has affronted a aphotic eye. The aircrews who accept to fly these aircraft should be actual angry. They’ve been betrayed by the actual government that should be ensuring that the weapons they accept are safe and effective.”

The profits from the C-130 are a bald allowance compared to what Lockheed stands to accomplish from its affairs to aftermath the two costliest airplanes anytime envisioned: the Joint Strike Fighter and the F-22 Raptor.

The Joint Strike Fighter, additionally accepted as the F-35, is slated to alter the admirable F-16. Alike admitting the antecedent designs for the F-35 accepted adulterated (there abide to be awkward problems with the weight of the plane), the Pentagon, beneath prodding from affecting associates of Congress, awarded the Lockheed a $200 billion arrangement to anatomy about 2,000 of the still unairworthy planes. Lockheed affairs to advertise addition 2,500 planes at a sticker amount of $38 actor apiece to added nations, starting with Great Britain. Already again, best of these sales will be underwritten by US government loans.

The F-35 arrangement was awarded on October 16, 2001. Already, costs accept soared by $45 billion over the antecedent appraisal with no end in sight.

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But the F-22 Raptor stands in a chic of its own. With a assemblage amount of added than $300 actor per plane, the Raptor is the best big-ticket fighter jet anytime designed. One aldermanic staffer dubbed it, “Tiffany’s on wings.” Conceived in the 1980s to access abysmal into the airspace of the Soviet Union, the F-22 has no action these days, except to accumulate a slate of aegis contractors in business, from Lockheed, which runs the project, to Boeing which advised the wings to Pratt-Whitney which advised the huge jet engines.

The F-22 was declared to be operational a decade ago. But the latest apotheosis of the alike continues to ache astringent problems in action testing. Its onboard computer arrangement is mired with glitches and its Stealth appearance haven’t prevented the alike from bustling up “like a fat strawberry” on radar. Alike worse, several assay pilots accept gotten addled to the point of about casual out while aggravating to put the fighter through ambiguous assignment at aerial altitudes.

Even so, the bedevilled activity moves forward, arresting millions every week, and no one with the ability to do so seems to appearance the aboriginal affection to cull the plug.

* * *

By one account, Lockheed garners $228 in federal tax money from every domiciliary in the US anniversary year. But back it comes time to advantageous taxes Lockheed pleads poverty. By demography advantage of a assembly artist loopholes, Lockheed’s countless of accountants has bargain the corporation’s anniversary tax accountability to a bald 7 percent of its net income. By comparison, the boilerplate federal tax amount for individuals in the US is about 25 percent.

Of course, these kinds of appropriate dispensations don’t appear cheaply. Lockheed spends added money lobbying assembly than any added aegis contractor. In 2004, a banderole year for the company, it spent about $10 actor on added than 100 lobbyists to cruise the halls of congress, befitting tabs on appropriations bills, blank hearings and tax committees. Over the accomplished bristles years, abandoned Philip Morris and GE spent added money lobbying congress.

With Lockheed, it’s sometimes difficult to anticipate whether it’s demography advantage of US adopted activity or abstraction it. Booty the Iraq war. Lockheed’s above vice-president, Bruce Jackson, headed an ad hoc accumulation alleged the Lath for the Liberation of Iraq. This coven of accumulated executives, anticipate catchbasin gurus and retired generals includes such war-mongering luminaries as Richard Perle, Jeane Kirkpatrick, Gen. Wayne Downing and above CIA administrator James Woolsey. The Washington Post appear that group’s ambition was to “promote bounded peace, political abandon and all-embracing aegis through backup of the Saddam Hussein administering with a autonomous government that respects the rights of the Iraqi bodies and ceases to corruption the association of nations.”

This allegedly absolute anatomy seems to accept gotten its boot orders from central the Bush White House. Jackson and others met again with Karl Rove and Steven Hadley, Condoleezza’s Rice’s cardinal two at the Civic Aegis Council and a above Lockheed lobbyist. The accumulation eventually got a contiguous affair with the aphotic aristocrat himself, Dick Cheney. Afterwards affair with White House functionaries, associates of the Lath would fan out on cable account shows and allocution radio to aggravate the agitation for war adjoin Saddam.

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Jackson has continued enjoyed aing ties to the Bush close circle. In 2000, he chaired the Republican Party’s belvedere lath on Civic Aegis and Adopted Activity and served as a top adviser to the Bush campaign. Naturally, the belvedere account concluded up account like archive of Lockheed weapons systems. At the top of the list, the RNC belvedere apprenticed to animate and accomplish operational the $80 billion Missile Aegis affairs supervised by Lockheed.

In 2002, the Bush administering alleged on Jackson to advice boom up abutment in Eastern Europe for the war on Iraq. Back Poland and Hungary came on board, Jackson absolutely drafted their letter acknowledging an aggression of Iraq. His aggregation was apace adored for his efforts. In 2003, Poland purchased 50 of Lockheed’s F-16 fighters for $3.5 billion. The auction was underwritten by a $3.8 billion accommodation from the Bush administration.

Lockheed additionally fabricated out absolutely accurately from the Iraq war itself. It’s F-117 Stealth fighters inaugurated the alpha of the war with the “Shock and Awe” bombing of Baghdad. Later, the Pentagon stepped up orders of Lockheed’s PAC 3 Patriot missile. The missile batteries, advised for use adjoin SCUD missiles that Iraq no best possessed, advertise for $91 actor per unit.

After the toppling of Saddam, Lockheed admiral saw an befalling to t up one of the big clandestine contractors accomplishing business in Iraq, Titan Corporation. The San Diego-based aggregation was awarded a $10 actor arrangement to accommodate translators for the Pentagon in Iraq. Two of those translators, Adel Nakhl and John Israel, were afterwards accused of actuality complex in the ache of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison. Titan translators, who are paid upwards of $107,000 a year, were additionally active in a aspersion at Guantanamo prison.

Like Lockheed, afterwards 9/11 Titan jettisoned about all of its bartering operations and began to focus absolutely on government work. By 2003, 99 percent of its $1.8 billion in accumulated assets came address of government contracts. The aing additionally went on a affairs bacchanalia of added abate aegis contractors. Since 2001, Titan gobbled up ten added defense-related companies. The best advantageous accretion accepted to be BMG, Inc., a Reston, Virginia based aggregation that specializes in advice accumulating and assay for the Pentagon and the CIA. BMG abandoned captivated Pentagon affairs account $650 million.

The corruption scandals didn’t avert Lockheed from advancing Titan. Indeed, Christopher Kubasik, Lockheed’s arch banking officer, told the Los Angeles Times that the ache allegations “were not cogent to our cardinal decision.”

The alliance was afterwards delayed for added affidavit by the Justice Department, which was attractive into allegations that Titan admiral and subsidiaries paid bribes to government admiral in Africa, Asia and Europe in adjustment to win contracts–a adjustment of accomplishing business that Lockheed admiral charge accept admired.

Titan, which was formed amidst the Reagan aegis anatomy up of the aboriginal 1980s, saw itself as a new affectionate of aegis contractor, a weapons aggregation that didn’t accomplish weapons. Instead of architecture missiles or planes, Titan concentrated on developing software and advice bales for Pentagon programs. Its aboriginal big arrangement was for the development of a communications amalgamation for the advice arrangement of the Minuteman missile. Since again Titan has become a above amateur in the advantageous advice technology market.

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In contempo years, Lockheed has amorphous to aggressively accompany the aforementioned types of “soft defense” programs. In the accomplished decade, Lockheed’s Advice Technology sales accept added by added than four hundred percent. The bonanza began during the Clinton administration, back Al Gore’s “reinventing government” arrangement auctioned off best of the data-management tasks of the federal government to the clandestine sector. Now about 90 percent of the federal government’s Advice Technology has been privatized, best of it to Lockheed, which is not abandoned the nation’s top accoutrements architect but additionally its top data-management supplier.

This opened all-inclusive new terrains of the government to acquisition by Lockheed. It now enjoys affairs with the Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Energy and EPA. Lockheed additionally aloof corralled a $550 actor arrangement to booty over the Social Aegis Administration’s database. The privatization of Social Aegis has already begun.

But alike in the IT sector, the big bucks are to be fabricated in the beginning surveillance and Homeland Aegis business. Lockheed now runs the FBI’s ancient computer system, which took some abundant acclimatized calefaction for absolution the 9/11 hijackers blooper through its net after detection. It additionally won the $90 actor arrangement to administer the top abstruse computer arrangement for the Department of Homeland Security, a arrangement that is declared to action as a affectionate of “deep web”, bond the systems of the FBI, CIA and Pentagon.

All of this is a forerunner to alike bigger affairs hatched by Lockheed and its pals in the Pentagon to advance an all-embracing spying arrangement alleged the Global Advice Grid, an internet arrangement that is meant to augment absolute time tracking advice on terrorists suspects anon into automatic weapons systems, manufactured, naturally, by Lockheed.

“We appetite to apperceive what’s activity on anytime, any abode on the planet,” arresting Lorraine Martin, Lockheed’s vice-president for Command, Ascendancy and Communications Systems. And annihilate them, naturally.

On the battlefield of aegis contractors, Lockheed has now accomplished full-spectrum dominance.

This is acclimatized from a affiliate in Grand Theft Pentagon.

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