The large U.S. corporations that make most of the high-end weapons for American and foreign militaries are again flexing their political muscle to force the U.S. Army to spend $436 million on new M1 tanks that the army doesn’t want or need. This sort of thing is nothing new and has been going on for a long time. Warplane and ship manufacturers use their political clout to force the air force and navy to buy aircraft they don’t want. The navy has been forced to use a few increasingly inefficient and overpriced shipyards to build vessels that are poorly built, behind schedule, and over budget.
How did this happen? There have been warnings. President Dwight Eisenhower, the former commander of U.S. forces in Europe during World War II, made it clear, in one of his last speeches as president (in 1961), that in the future a “military-industrial complex” would warp American military and foreign policy. While that did happen to a certain extent, the more damaging development was the appearance of the political-industrial complex. This is all about the pork barrel politics played with military spending.