On Friday last week, Raytheon, a major defense contractor, announced it scored a four-star general! Marine Corps Gen. (Ret.) James E. Cartwright, the recently departed vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, joined the defense giant’s board of directors.
Raytheon Chairman and CEO William H. Swanson said in a written statement, “General Cartwright’s deep understanding of defense and broad experience in military operations and matters of national security will be of great value to our Board.” I’m sure Cartwright will be.
The Boston Globe’s Bryan Bender penned an in-depth article on generals and admirals going through the revolving door in late 2010. Bender quoted retired General Robert “Doc’’ Foglesong, who retired as the second-ranking Air Force officer in 2006, who said the “fundamental question” swirling around the phenomenon of generals going through the revolving door “is whether this is shaping the acquisition system and influencing what the Pentagon buys. I think the answer is yes.’’
On the civilian side, the revolving door is also rampant, raising many of the same questions. Take for instance, the recent announcement that the Pentagon’s former number two official, William J. Lynn III, is going to head DRS Technologies, the U.S. subsidiary of Finmeccanica, an Italian company. This isn’t Lynn’s first spin through the revolving door: he was formerly the Pentagon’s comptroller under the Clinton presidency, then left to head Raytheon’s lobbying operations in D.C., before becoming the Deputy Secretary of Defense.