Raytheon Technologies: A nuclear threat

Cartoon: Joe Kandra

By Paul Shannon

Raytheon Technologies is the second largest military contractor in the world, with $64 billion in net sales.  Internationally, it is one of the top three arms suppliers, selling its weapons to numerous countries, and employing 174,000 men     It has close relations with a number of countries with ghastly human rights records including Saudi Arabia, where it has 400 employees and trains Saudi military personnel. It is by far the largest military contractor in Massachusetts.

Most concerning, Raytheon is at the heart of the Military Industrial Complex. It is also at the heart of the Deep State. And, it turns out, Raytheon is at the heart of our lives and the future of our planet.

Raytheon officials in the White House and Pentagon leadership

Raytheon has been making big bucks from military contracts as its well-paid lobbyists move in and out of top-level positions in the U.S. government.  Two of our last three Secretaries of Defense (Mark Esper and Lloyd Austin) were top officials at Raytheon before moving into powerful positions within the government. Esper was considered Raytheon’s top lobbyist before then-President Trump appointed him to lead the Pentagon. Charles Faulkner, another former lobbyist for Raytheon, was instrumental, as a member of  Trump’s State Department, in  stopping a Congressional cutoff of funds to military contractors, including Raytheon, that were supplying bombs to Saudi Arabia –bombs that were being used to kill innocent Yemeni civilians

Shortly after Llyod Austin,  a retired United States Army four-star general, and member of Raytheon’s Board of Directors,  who was a good friend of Biden when Biden was Vice President, became Biden’s Secretary of Defense, Raytheon was awarded a two billion dollar missile building contract. On one side of the Military Industrial Complex, Biden’s administration is stacked with people who come out of consulting groups and Think tanks that service war contractors; on the other side, Raytheon has employed 315 former defense department officials (more than any other defense contractor). (For a fuller and rather remarkable description of the nature of those swinging door relationships, click here.)

Financing Congressional Campaigns, Lobbying, 

Raytheon runs one of the country’s biggest corporate PACs. It gave $400,000 to Republcan lawmakers who refused to certify the election results on January 6, 2021. It temporarily put such funding on hold after the January 6 attacks on the Capitol, but last June it resumed funding to 62 members of Congress who voted against certifying Biden’s election on January 6 . Raytheon ranks as the 4th largest donor to Republican lawmakers who voted to overturn that election. Moreover, their efforts to influence elections have a broad reach: Raytheon also gave $506,424 in donations to Biden’s presidential campaign. Raytheon spent $4.4 million on lobbying in 2018 and $12.7 million on federal lobbying in 2021, more than any other defense contractor.

Government Advisory Boards and Think Tank 

Raytheon has other forms of influence on government policy both inside and outside Washington, DC.  Raytheon funds think tanks to develop war policies and provide “experts” for the media such as the very influential “Center for a New American Security.” Two of 13 advisors (?) who briefed Biden on foreign policy were from Raytheon. Mainstream news outlets routinely cite employees of these think tanks funded by Raytheon and other defense contractors as expert sources. Raytheon is so enmeshed wit government that you can’t draw a line between where Raytheon ends and the Defense Department and the U.S Congress begin.

Outcomes of Raytheon’s Influence on Government Policy

The end result of the enmeshment of Raytheon and other arms contractors in the military industrial complex with government policy and expenditures is an $850 billion military budget and a nuclear arms race. That’s $850 billion worth of new fossil fuel emissions to be created by the biggest single source of carbon pollution on earth –the U.S. war machine. Other results include NATO expansion, a new cold war with China, whose military budget is less than 40% of U.S. war spending.Last year the U.S. spent $44.2 billion on its nuclear weapons—that’s 53% of all spending on nuclear weapons. (China spent $11,7 billion, 14% of the total. Russia is third at 10%.). These expenditures did little to address a disease that has killed over a million Americans and brought out country to its knees. Raytheon’s missiles were not of much use in defeating this little COVID microorganism.

How Raytheon Sells Itself

Raytheon provides millions to provide scholarships , internships and mentoring for high school students of color (SMASH program). SMASH locations include Northeastern, Stanford, University of Michigan, and others. It provides scholarships to Black College students majoring in STEM and business management. It focuses on creating a recruitment pipeline for future Raytheon employees by increased recruiting from Black colleges. It hosts STEM contests for young people and runs science programs in many schools. It provides scholarships and Tuition reimbursement for employees. It develops various types of relationships with colleges, leading those institutions to naming buildings after them and providing access to students at college recruiting fairs. Students tend to go where the money is get through college  

Raytheon also spreads money among a number of well-known non-profits–.e,g., Girl Scouts, Walk for Hunger, National Urban League, the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, Equal Justice Initiative, The Run for Home Base at Fenway Park, the Boys and Girls Clubs—and it funds public scientific fairs like the Moon Shot commemoration

Raytheon’s efforts to sell itself should not blind us to its fundamental goal—profits at all costs.

Its CO, Greg Hayes:, recently said, “Look, Peace is not going to break out in the Middle East anytime soon. I think i remains an area where we will see continue growth.”  A Raytheon document says that the company anticipates “demand for its military products and services as security concerns may arise …. as a result of climate change.” After Khashoggi’s killing, Raytheon CEO Thomas Kennedy reassured financial analysts by saying, “I’m pretty confident we’ll weather this complexity.” Just before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Greg Hayes said; “We are seeing, I would say, opportunities for international sales. We just have to look last week where we saw the drone attack in the UAE, which have attacked some of their own facilities. And of course, the tensions in Eastern Europe , the tensions in the South China Sea, all of those things are putting pressure on some of the defense spending over there. So I fully expect we’re going to see some benefit from it.”   These were not idle thoughts.  Raytheon stock climbed as the conflict with Ukraine intensified. Can you imagine what will happen to their profits if the military industrial complex can whip the country into demanding an attack on China?

Paul Shannon worked for the American Friends Service Committee for 40 years and is currently a coordinator of the Raytheon Anti-war Campaign