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2003-04-28

Privatization of the Military and the Defense Policy Board

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Last week the San Francisco based engineering firm URS Corp. received its second major Army contract since February. All told the company could make $3.7 billion over the next eight years.

URS is owned in part by Richard Blum the husband of California Senator Dianne Feinstein.

URS joins Halliburton, Bechtel and other major U.S. corporations with close ties to Washington that has received major contracts.

Halliburton is the company that Dick Cheney headed up until he ran for vice president. It recently won an exclusive no-bid contract from the Pentagon that could be worth as much as $7 billion over the next two years. In response, Rep. Henry Waxman of California has called for an investigation into every governmental contracts that Halliburton has received since Cheney took office.

Bechtel meanwhile has received a government contract related to the rebuilding of Iraq that could be worth as much as $100 billion.

Its ties to the Bush administration. Riley Bechtel serves as an advisor to Bush on the Export Council. And Bechtel board member and former CEO George Schultz served as Secretary of State for President Reagan. More recently Schutlz served as the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq.

And ties between military industrial complex and the Bush administration extend much deeper.

A recent report by the Center for Public Integrity examined the makeup of the Defense Policy Board which advises the Pentagon. The board recently made headlines when its chair Richard Perle stepped down as chairman due to possible conflicts of interests. But Perle is not alone in possible conflict of interests. Nine of the 30 members of the Defense Policy Board have close ties to the arms industry.

  • Charles Lewis, executive director of the Center for Public Integrity.

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