A Complicating Union with the Military Industrial Complex is gravely to be regarded
Whilst the news of attractively lavish investments and spendings is surely to be widely welcomed and thoroughly enjoyed, and the likes of the figures mentioned in the sums of $15bn and $100bn and $10bn are not simply loose change, there is always this bastard wayward child to confront and deal with whenever proposals for engagement with the Military and Departments of Defence are contemplated.
Both the difficulty and stumbling block which will always blight the Department of Defense and Sensitive Private Entrepreneurial JOINT Venture sector, is that the one lumbering behemoth will always want complete control over the other agile leader ……. and whenever such a proposed venture is recognised as being worthy of absolute command and control, does that invariably result in conflict which results in those two particular parties taking their wares/needs and services elsewhere ……. and sometimes that is directly to the competition and/or perceived opposition to a disagreeable party.
It has though been long well enough known with the following classic shared 60 years ago. Here is a luscious bit to taste and savour from then.
A vital element in keeping the peace is our military establishment. Our arms must be mighty, ready for instant action, so that no potential aggressor may be tempted to risk his own destruction.
Our military organization today bears little relation to that known by any of my predecessors in peace time, or indeed by the fighting men of World War II or Korea.
Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United State corporations.
This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence-economic, political, even spiritual-is felt in every city, every state house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.
In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.
We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.
Akin to, and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our industrial-military posture, has been the technological revolution during recent decades.
In this revolution, research has become central; it also becomes more formalized, complex, and costly. A steadily increasing share is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government.
Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been over shadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers.
The prospect of domination of the nation's scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present and is gravely to be regarded. ..... a major component of President Dwight D. Eisenhower's Farewell Address (1961)