In the past month, military contractors in Grand Rapids received $894,501 in military contracts from the government according to research by Media Mouse as part of our ongoing work tracking contracts awarded to local corporations. The three contracts were awarded to three different local companies for a variety of work:
- Smiths Aerospace received a $613,950 contract to produce “Guided Missile Control Systems” for the United States Army Aviation & Missile Command.
- Eaton Aerospace received a $212,548 to produce an actuator for the Navy.
- Dover Resources received a $68,005 rotary pump for the Navy.
In addition to being a local link to the ongoing “war on terror” and occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, the companies producing components used in the weapons systems necessary to maintain these occupations are reaping the benefits of the United States’ post-September 11 wars and as such are engaged in “war profiteering.” While military contractors in Grand Rapids have not drawn the attention that Halliburton or Lockheed Martin have received, corporations in Grand Rapids have made substantial amounts of money from the “war on terror.” In addition to receiving 234 contracts since September 11, two Grand Rapids corporations–L-3 Communications and Smiths Aerospace–ranking among the top 100 military contractors by revenue in 2006. L-3 Communications did 90% of its work for the military and made over $8.5 billion on military contracts and ranked 8th, while Smiths Group made more than $1.3 billion on military contracts that accounted for 25% of their sales.
Moreover, military contractors such as L-3 Communications engage in extensive lobbying of Congress, with aerospace, electronics, and other industries contributing millions to lobbying campaigns designed to secure contracts for new weapons systems.
In addition to being used by the United States military, weapons systems produced in the United States are supplied by the United States to governments around the world. $21 billion in arms sales agreements were signed in the past year with foreign governments, an increase of $11 billion over the previous year. The United States supplied $8.1 billion in weapons to developing countries, both as part of a strategy for the “war on terror” as well as maintaining the smooth functioning of the military-industrial complex in an era when the Pentagon has lessened spending on some major weapons programs. These two goals have resulted in the United States transferring weapons to 18 of the 25 countries involved in ongoing wars in the past year, while also providing weapons to a variety of “undemocratic” countries (defined by the State Department) such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Uzbekistan.