Public and Private Sector: The Revolving Door
Within the Beltway, the revolving door between the private and public sector never stops spinning, especially in the defense and intelligence areas.
Start with Vice President Dick Cheney, who served as Secretary of Defense before becoming CEO of one of the country's largest defense contractors, Halliburton, then assumed his present job.
The recently appointed Director of National Intelligence, Mike McConnell, a retired vice admiral, spent 10 years working as a $2 million-a-year consultant with Booz Allen Hamilton, a large defense and intelligence consulting company with sales of $3.7 billion worldwide, before accepting his new post. The current Deputy Secretary of Defense, Gordon England, served as executive vice president of General Dynamics from 1997 until 2001. In that position, he was responsible for two major sectors of the corporation: Information Systems, and Technology and International.
Almost every I.T. contractor working with intelligence today is top-heavy with former military or intelligence bigwigs. For instance, ManTech's board includes Richard L. Armitage, the former deputy secretary of state from March 2001 to February 2005; retired Adm. David E. Jeremiah; and retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Kenneth A. Minihan, a one-time director of the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Defense Intelligence Agency.
CACI International's board of directors includes Arthur L. Money, a former assistant secretary of defense for command, control, communications and intelligence; Barbara A. McNamara, former deputy director of the NSA; Michael J. Bayer, vice chairman of the Department of Defense's Business Board; and Gen. Larry D. Welch, a former Air Force chief of staff and commander-in-chief of the Strategic Air Command. Similarly, its executive ranks are filled with a number of retired senior military officers.
Says Larry Noble, an independent ethics expert for the Center for Responsive Politics, "I think getting black-box contracts is more about proximity and who you know than it is about contributions."