Skip to main content

In These Times - April 9, 2022

Since the pandemic began in early 2020, the weapons industry has argued that shutdowns and supply chain disruptions have put the ​“defense industrial base” in peril, compromising the national security and military ​“readiness” of the United States.

Now, that same industry is using Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and NATO’s subsequent military buildup to double down on the argument, demanding rapid, public investments in the weapons industry to bolster the capacity of the United States and NATO for ​“deterrence.”

This new push, showcased by the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA), shines a light on the ways weapons companies exploit crises to protect current and future profits.

The NDIA counts among its members some of the biggest weapons manufacturers in the world, including Raytheon and Lockheed Martin. On March 25, Thomas Low, an NDIA junior fellow, published a piece in National Defense which argues that, to ​“adequately remain vigilant” against a possible widening conflict with Russia, ​“the United States in its own right needs to take the steps necessary to prepare its defense industrial base.”

The term ​“defense industrial base” conveniently sidesteps conversations about whether the manufacturing of lethal military weapons is critical (or healthy) for a society in the grips of a public health crisis, not to mention for the societies targeted by that weaponry. It also lends an air of innocuousness to manufacturers of tankers and bombs and fighter jets, as if they are a crucial part of U.S. infrastructure (like medical systems or public transit), rather than a war-making industry.

And since the beginning of the pandemic, the defense industrial base has been deemed ​“essential” by the federal government and the Pentagon, any lapse considered a potential compromise of the war-fighting power of the United States. This ​“essential” designation has been used to keep military factories open and workers punching the clock, even during the most deadly Covid-19 surges. ...
Read full report at In These Times