RDP’s Industry Agenda series will explore how different industries seek to influence executive personnel decisions.
The military-industrial complex refers to the array of arms manufacturers, defense contractors, private military contractors, think tanks, advocacy groups, and lobbyists with a vested interest in American foreign policy and the U.S. military establishment. The defense industry functions essentially as a privatized arm of the Department of Defense, as many defense contractors rely significantly on the government’s inflated $700 billion annual defense budget. The largest among them include Lockheed Martin, Boeing, General Dynamics, Raytheon, Northrop Grumman, and United Technologies. These groups in turn fund networks of think tanks including the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), New America Foundation, Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Council on Foreign Relations, Brookings, Heritage, and more. A recent report from the Revolving Door Project found that CNAS, one of these think tanks, repeatedly advocated for policies that would enrich or benefit top arms manufacturers without formally disclosing its receipt of donations from these companies.
The military-industrial complex has a vested interest in keeping U.S. defense spending the highest in the world, depriving domestic policy priorities of much-needed federal funding. Defense contractors and the think tanks they support also heavily influence the direction of American foreign policy by pushing for hawkish and militaristic interventions over diplomatic alternatives. Think tanks funded by the defense industry routinely call for military expansion and create intellectual justifications for American military interventions abroad. These groups tilt our foreign policy by cultivating future government officials who reflexively solve problems of international relations with militancy and presuppose that the U.S. has the right to interfere with the internal affairs of other countries. They are aided and abetted with over $100 million in combined defense industry lobbying spending in 2020 alone.
Relying on the same privatized arms industry has a disastrous effect on the independence of our foreign policy decisions. Nonetheless, majorities in both parties continue to raise military budgets, despite the total lack of accountability and trillion dollar failures. Though the establishment cynically claims we “can’t afford” domestic programs like Medicare For All, green energy infrastructure, or free college, just a fraction of the military budget would go a long way. However, private companies will continue to profit from the military-contracting pipeline if their allies’ hands are at the wheel of major federal agencies and advising the Biden administration on foreign policy. Lloyd Austin, a board member of Raytheon until his nomination, has already been confirmed as Secretary of Defense, and over a dozen CNAS alumni have already received top executive branch jobs under Biden. At least a third of Biden’s Defense agency transition team, which vets resumes for high level appointments, are from “organizations financed by the weapons industry.”
Here’s what you need to know about how the military industrial complex is seeking to influence the Biden administration:
What are the executive branch issues the Military-Industrial Complex cares about?
Military Spending: It is unsurprising that the military-industrial complex, whose profits rise and fall with the government’s military budget, wants the US to spend as much as possible on the military. The Office of Management & Budget is a key site in this process as they are responsible for creating the President’s budget and determining many rule changes
Contracting & Procurement Rules: The military-industrial complex sustains itself through an insular and arcane contracting system where legalized fraud is rampant. Groups of the same major companies often bid on multi-billion dollar contracts to sell military goods to various branches of the US military and security state. Federal agencies are given extraordinary leeway to modify and supplement federal contracting law. As such, military contractors have a distinct interest in inserting friendly personnel to write rules favorable to themselves and hiring former Pentagon officials more than willing to sell their inside knowledge. While groups have proposed agencies require climate impact analyses in their procurement rules and enforce accountability measures to terminate overpaid, bloated, and unneeded defense contracts, the defense industry will push to avoid oversight and regulation of procurement.
Foreign Policy: Military budgets increase fastest when the US is at war or is under perceived threat, real or not. For example, the Cost of War Project found that the US spent $6.4 trillion on war after 9/11. Foreign threats are often inflated to justify continual expansion of American bases, continue the arms sales to Saudi Arabia, and drum up fears of new enemies, whether it be supposed “Islamic” terrorism or efforts to ramp up the newer Chinese Cold War.
Domestic Security State: The Department of Homeland Security and related domestic police departments and security agencies have quickly become a major purchaser of military and police equipment since it was founded after 9/11. This market represents a new frontier and a potential point of growth for the military-industrial complex especially as Big Tech companies like Amazon, Google, Palantir, and others compete for ICE contracts to sell their latest surveillance technology.
What agencies is the Military-Industrial Complex seeking to influence?
- Department of Defense: The Department of Defense (DoD) is the largest purchaser of military equipment and services in the world and spends more on procurement and contracting than every other government department combined. Given the highly profitable nature of DoD contracts, the agency is the biggest lobbying target of the defense industry. The DoD’s bureaucracy is so large that it has multiple departments with seemingly overlapping jurisdiction. Below are some of the major DoD offices that manage ongoing contracts, audit them for compliance, determine pricing, and set the DoD’s budget. In addition, each branch of the armed forces has large contracting and procurement departments that have some level of independence from these central DoD offices.
- Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment: The Under Secretary for Defense & Sustainment’s office oversees all aspects of the DoD’s contracting and procurement process. It includes the Office of the Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, which manages defense pricing, contracting, and industrial policy.
- Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller): The Comptroller’s office prepares the DoD’s annual budget and has oversight powers over all budgetary matters. The arms industry will have an interest in who staffs this office as they will determine, along with the OMB, how much to put aside for procurement.
- Department of Homeland Security: The DHS has an expansive mission to patrol the US border, stop terrorist attacks, enforce immigration law, promote cybersecurity and much more. The department also funds the militarization of domestic police departments. Additionally, the DHS itself is a major military contractor that has come under fire for years for being essentially run by private contractors and outsourcing vital functions to private companies.
- Department of State: The State Department manages foreign relations for the US government. As such, it is responsible for dictating the tone of American foreign policy either towards enhanced diplomacy or increased militarization. The State Department is also responsible for approving weapons sales to foreign governments, as was recently exemplified by its announcement of a $150 million arms deal with Chile and NATO. A hawkish State Department is a boon to the military-industrial complex as arms and military service buildups pad their profits.
- Office of Management & Budget: OMB has wide discretion to ensure that the budgets of various departments are in line with the administration’s priorities–a broad mandate with major policy implications. OMB works with DoD to craft their proposed budgets, including for military budgets and procurement and it remains an important agency to every federal contractor seeking to keep their money flowing.
- General Services Administration: The GSA oversees procurement for the federal government. It often assists the DoD in procurement despite having less say over military matters. It is a crucial node to military and federal contractors across the government.
- National Security Council: While actual government contracts flow through the Defense Department, the National Security Council is where the President’s top foreign policy aides strategize about national security priorities. Having an ally in these rooms helps any industry shape executive-branch priorities in ways lucrative to their firms. This extends to Big Tech, especially as cybersecurity emerges as an early foreign policy priority for the Biden administration.
- Central Intelligence Agency/National Security Agency: Government spending on its 17+ different intelligence agencies is remarkably opaque, though the Project on Government Oversight estimates it at around $80 billion. These agencies and others across the DoD and DHS regularly contract with Big Tech, surveillance, and security firms like Booz Allen Hamilton (which formerly employed NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden).
What previous work experience should raise serious questions for Biden’s nominees and appointees?
Beyond simply registered lobbying, there are a number professional and personal activities that should raise concerns or disqualify individuals from serving in an administration committed to “instituting strict conflict-of-interest and anti-corruption policies […] so there will be no more self-dealing.” These include:
- Working directly for a firm, think tank, or trade association affiliated with the military-industrial complex after previously working in a senior executive-branch position, especially a political appointment.
- Working for a think tank, philanthropy, or advocacy non-profit funded significantly by the military-industrial complex or trade association to work on security, foreign policy, or defense industry issues.
- Lobbying on behalf of the military-industrial complex either under their direct employ or as a client at a lobbying firm.
- Working for a law firm frequently or currently hired by the military-industrial complex especially to defend the industry from political scrutiny or conflicts of interest.
- Either significantly investing personally in the defense industry, or advising those who do.
- Conducting academic research funded by the military-industrial complex, especially research on topics relevant or flattering to the defense industry’s interests.
- Conducting professional fundraising by targeting and receiving funds from executives and firms from the military-industrial complex.
What questions should nominees with recent connections to the military-industrial complex be required to answer?
In order to ensure all potential conflicts of interest are disclosed, Senators should ask the following questions of Biden’s nominees during and after confirmation hearings:
- Have you ever consulted, lobbied for, or been employed by the defense industry or any industry-funded think tanks, or provided any type of other service on their behalf?
- Have you ever had an equity stake in any firm tied to the defense industry, most especially those which you have advised or been employed by? If so, name the firms.
- Do you believe it is likely that any defense industry company or think tank that compensated you marketed their association with you to prospective investors or funders?
- Have you ever provided policy, regulatory, or strategic advice to major federal military contractors? If so, how were you compensated, and how much were you compensated? Which clients have you advised, and what was the content of your assistance?
- Have you ever invested personally in a defense firm, or professionally advised investors in who invest in the defense industry? If so, for how long did you have this financial or advisory relationship, and are the activities of the firms in which you or your associates invested relevant to the position for which you are now nominated?
- Have you ever advised or been employed by a non-profit organization substantially funded by the defense industry, such as a think tank or advocacy organization? If so, were you compensated? Has this non-profit organization produced work relevant to the position for which you are now nominated? When did your employment by this organization end, and when did the organization stop marketing their association with you?
- Do you now or have you ever conducted research funded by the defense industry, or investors in the industry? If so, was such research relevant to the position for which you are now nominated? Were you compensated by the firm(s) or investor(s)?
- If you have ever served in a professional fundraising role, have you raised funds from the defense industry, or its major executives and/or financial backers?
- If you have answered “Yes” to any of the above questions, in what ways do you expect to govern or regulate on issues relevant to the firms with which you have a past association? Do you predict that these firms will materially benefit from your governance decisions?
- Will you commit now to not pursue nor accept employment, compensation, or other professional benefit from any defense industry firms or affiliated think tanks and advocacy groups after you leave this role? Regardless of your answer to the previous question, what do you predict you shall pursue professionally after your time in government service?
- Do you think an association with a former regulator or political actor helps a firm convince investors or clients that it is legitimate, law-abiding, and effective at lobbying?
Who are the Military-Industrial Complex allies seeking administration jobs?
The following individuals with connections to the defense sector have been floated for top jobs in the administration.
- Sharon Burke: Burke was a member of Biden’s DOD transition team and is a Senior Advisor at the New America Foundation (which receives funding from Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, and General Atomics), where she advises the think tank’s International Security, Resource Security, and “Future of War” programs. Burke was previously a Vice President of Natural Security at CNAS — where she regularly invoked dangerous national security framing of climate change and argued for a war-like response to the climate crisis — and served in various senior government positions in the Bush and Obama administrations.
- Nicholas Burns: A former Ambassador to Greece under Bill Clinton and Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs under George W. Bush, Burns has recently been floated for Ambassador to China under President Biden. He is currently a Senior Counselor at The Cohen Group, a business consulting firm whose Aerospace and Defense practice regularly assists top aerospace and weapons manufacturers in securing tens of billions in defense contracts with the DOD and foreign governments. Burns is also on the Board of Directors of the Atlantic Council, a think tank that has received funding from Raytheon, Airbus, General Dynamics, Boeing, and BAE Systems.
- Michael Carpenter: Carpenter is a former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense and the Managing Director of the Penn Biden Center. Alongside Joe Biden, Carpenter has written about the need to increase funding for NATO in support of upgraded military capabilities and troop deployments to “stand up to the Kremlin” and China. Carpenter is also a Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council.
- Phillip Carter: Carter is mired in multiple revolving door military-industrial conflicts. From 2004 to 2011, he worked for national security law firm McKenna Long & Aldridge, representing “a mix of small and large clients in the defense and aerospace sectors, focused on corporate governance and compliance.” Carter notably revolved in and out of politics several times during his stint at McKenna, leaving the firm briefly in 2008 to join the Obama campaign and again in 2009 to join the Department of Defense for a nine-month stint as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Detainee Policy. While at McKenna, Carter also penned articles and op-eds urging then-President Bush to more strongly promote youth military recruitment and reinstate the draft for the Iraq War. He also authored an amicus brief defending the Obama Administration’s extrajudicial drone strikes against American citizen Anwar Al-Aulaqi in a 2010 lawsuit brought by Al-Aulaqi’s father and supported by the ACLU (Al-Aulaqi and his 16-year-old son were later killed in a 2011 drone strike, while his 8-year-old daughter died in a 2017 U.S. military operation). From 2011 to 2013, Carter served as COO and Counsel for Caerus Associates, a strategy and analysis contractor for the DoD, where he supervised “all business functions, including HR, accounting, and contracts.” The firm describes its activities as including “courses in counterinsurgency, stability operations, and the dynamics of local conflict for audiences including the military.” From 2013 to 2018, Carter was the Senior Fellow and Director of CNAS’ Military, Veterans, and Society Program. From 2016 to 2020, he was Of Counsel at Fluet Huber + Hong (a corporate law firm with a significant Government Defense Contracts practice), representing companies on “matters involving government contracts, corporate, and national security law.” Most recently, Carter served as a Senior Policy Researcher and Director of the Personnel & Resources Program at the RAND Homeland Security Operational Analysis Center and was a member of the Biden-Harris transition’s VA landing team.
- Bathsheba Crocker: Crocker served as Principal Deputy Director in the Office of Policy Planning at the State Department during the Obama Administration, the number-two role behind then-Policy Planning Director Jake Sullivan (a top advisor to Hillary Clinton with a penchant for hawkish military interventions). Crocker is also an alum of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), where she served as Co-Director of the Post-Conflict Reconstruction Project from 2003 to 2005, and the Council on Foreign Relations, where she was an International Affairs Fellow from 2002 to 2003. CSIS is a foreign policy think-tank that has received significant funding from top defense contractors like Northrop Grumman, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and General Dynamics. Crocker was most recently a member of the Biden-Harris transition’s State Department landing team.
- Jeffrey Delaurentis: A career diplomat who served as the US Ambassador to Cuba in the Obama Administration, Delaurentis joined Albright Stonebridge Group as a Senior Advisor in 2018. Albright Stonebridge is a secretive shadow lobbying firm co-founded by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. Albright Stonebridge’s consultants have repeatedly engaged in lobbying on behalf of foreign governments like the UAE and Saudi Arabia, whose U.S.-backed military intervention in Yemen has caused a humanitarian disaster. Delaurentis was most recently a member of the Biden-Harris transition’s U.S. Mission to the U.N. landing team.
- John Estrada: Estrada is a former US Ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago who served on Biden’s DOD transition team. He worked as a Senior Project Manager for Lockheed Martin prior to his confirmation as ambassador. According to an interview Estrada gave to the predatory for-profit college University of Phoenix, he “oversaw approximately 1,100 employees involved in executing simulated training programs for future military aviators, as well as other ground and logistics programs.”
- Mark Feierstein: Feierstein is a top Democratic fundraiser who previously served in the State Department, National Security Council, and USAID, with a specialized focus on Latin America. Feierstein was most recently a senior advisor at CLS Strategies, a “crisis PR” firm that operated sockpuppet social media accounts in support of the brutal far-right Anez government in Bolivia, which ousted the democratically-elected Evo Morales in a 2019 coup. Feierstein previously helped Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada (“Goni”) defeat Morales in the 2002 Bolivian elections and remains a strong supporter of Goni despite the disgraced ex-president’s brutal crackdown on protesters during the Bolivian gas conflict. Feierstein is also a vocal proponent of regime change in Venezuela and (alongside CLS sockpuppet accounts) repeatedly urged the Trump administration to remove Nicolas Maduro from power. He is currently a senior advisor at Albright Stonebridge Group and a senior adviser to CSIS’ Americas Program.
- Melvin Gamble: Gamble is CEO and President of Gamble Advisory Group, a security consulting firm with a strong focus on Africa. He was previously Vice President for International Operations at Defense Group Inc, a federal data analytics contractor specializing in defense, homeland security, and WMDs. In 2020, Gamble served as a member of the Biden-Harris transition’s Intelligence Community landing team.
- Allison Hall: Hall is currently the Senior Director for Security and Environmental Health at Huntington Ingalls Industries, the largest military ship-building company in America. From 2018 to 2019, she was the Vice President of Security at the information technology division of General Dynamics, the defense contracting giant that developed the Tomahawk missile and F-16 fighter jet. Prior to her work in the private sector, Hall spent 20 years as a Security Professional for the CIA and 14 years as the Director of the Security and Installations Directorate for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. In 2020, Hall was a member of the Biden-Harris transition’s Intelligence Community landing team.
- Andrew Hunter: Hunter is the director of CSIS’ Defense-Industrial Initiatives Group, which analyzes arms, technology, and hardware acquisitions by the U.S. military. Hunter was previously a top acquisitions executive in the Obama Defense Department, and worked closely with the Warfighter Senior Integration Group. Hunter has praised the Predator drone program, citing it as a model of flexible and modifiable weaponry that the DOD should emulate for future acquisitions. He has also defended the easing of drone export laws under President Obama and pushed for “increased investment that can deliver more resilience, mobility, and lethality to Army units.” In 2020, Hunter served on Biden’s DOD transition team.
- Joshua Jacobs: After serving as a Special Assistant and later Senior Advisor in the VA during the Obama Administration, Jacobs joined major defense contractor Booz Allen Hamilton as a Lead Associate in 2017. The firm has been called “the world’s most profitable spy organization” and has engaged in many controversial contracts with federal agencies (including its work on the NSA’s PRISM surveillance program, the details of which were revealed to the public by former Booz Allen contractor and whistleblower Edward Snowden). It has also worked on behalf of foreign governments (including the UAE and Saudi Arabia). In 2020, Jacobs served on the Biden-Harris transition’s VA landing team.
- Frank Kendall III: The former chief weapons acquisition official for the Department of Defense from 2012 to 2017, Kendall III revolved out of the Pentagon to join top defense contractor Leidos, which had nearly $1.8 billion in DOD contracts in FY 2017. Prior to his stint in the Obama Administration, he was Corporate Vice President of Engineering at Raytheon (manufacturers of several missiles and missile defense systems), where he oversaw management of engineering and internal R&D. He was also a managing partner at Renaissance Strategic Advisors, an aerospace and defense consulting firm specializing in mergers and acquisitions. After the Obama Administration, Kendall III returned to Renaissance Strategic Advisors as an executive, and is also a Senior Advisor at CSIS.
- Cristina Killingsworth: Killingsworth is a vice president at shadow lobbying firm WestExec Advisors (which helped Google work with the Defense Department on AI drone warfare technology) and a fellow at the Center for a New American Security. Prior to joining these organizations (which have housed multiple high-ranking members of the Biden Administration), Killingsworth served in the Obama White House as a staffer at the Office of Management and Budget and a director on the National Security Council Staff. In 2020, Killingsworth served on the Biden-Harris transition’s International Development landing team.
- Elizabeth Littlefield: Littlefield is currently the head of sustainability at Albright Stonebridge and formerly worked as a Director at the World Bank and President and CEO of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (now the Development Finance Corporation). In 2020, Littlefield served as Team Lead for the Biden-Harris transition’s International Development landing team.
- Teresa Mason: Mason has had a storied career of revolving between government and the private sector as the former Sheriff of New York City, EVP of MBNA Bank, chief of staff for the Delaware Department of Justice, vice president of Health Policy at Novartis, Managing Partner at BahnMulter LLP, and chief of staff for the Bronx County DA. From 2006 to 2007, Mason was VP for the Homeland Security Division of Systems Applications and Technology (SA-Tech), a defense contractor that provides “tri-service support to the Army, Navy, and Air Force” through testing and evaluation of U.S. military weapons, ships, aircraft, and defense systems. In 2020, Mason served on the Biden-Harris transition’s DOJ landing team.
- Pamela Melroy: Melroy is a former NASA astronaut who participated in three Space Shuttle flights. After leaving NASA in 2009, she joined Lockheed Martin as a Director and Deputy Program Manager for the proposed Orion spacecraft. In 2011, she returned to government service as a Senior Technical Advisor at the FAA, and subsequently, a Deputy Director of the Tactical Technology Office at DARPA (the R&D wing of the Defense Department). In 2018, Melroy joined Australian defense contractor Nova Systems as the Director of Space Technology and Policy. In 2020, she served on the Biden-Harris transition’s NASA landing team.
- Ron Moultrie: Moultrie’s cybersecurity consulting firm, Oceanus Security Strategies, touts his “decades of experience as one of America’s most senior national security officials” to prospective clients like venture capitalists, hedge fund managers, and Fortune 500 companies. Moultrie also sits on the board of Altamira Technologies, a top open source technology company that provides services to the “defense, intelligence, and homeland security communities,” and is an advisory board member to Pallas Advisors, a strategic advisory firm that assists corporate clients in navigating “complex national and international security dynamics” and touts its employees’ (including Moultrie’s former boss, Navy Secretary Richard Spencer) “decades of experience at senior levels of the public sector”. Moultrie is also on the boards of cybersecurity contractor firms BlueVoyant and G2K Labs, where he serves as Advisory Board Vice Chairman and Chairman, respectively. In 2020, he served on the Biden-Harris transition’s Intelligence Community landing team.
- Blas Nunez-Neto: Nunez-Neto is a former Analyst for the Congressional Research Service, former Staff Member for the Senate Homeland Security Committee, and former Senior Advisor to the CBP Commissioner in the Obama Administration. From January to July of 2017, he worked as a Client Partner with Capgemini, a top CBP contractor, “specializing in border security and immigration issues” at a time when the Trump administration aggressively ramped up its draconian deportation campaign. Nunez-Neto is currently the Associate Director for the RAND Homeland Security Operational Analysis Center. In 2020, he served on the Biden-Harris transition’s Homeland Security landing team.
- Matt Olsen: Olsen, the Chief Trust and Security Officer for Uber (where he was hired after Uber tried to hide a major data breach by paying hackers $100,000), is currently an Adjunct Senior Fellow for CNAS and a Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School Homeland Security Project. He was also previously a principal at WestExec, a member of the Biden-Harris transition’s Intelligence Community landing team, general counsel for the NSA, and the Director of the National Counterterrorism Center from 2011 to 2014. While at the NSA, Olsen supported the reauthorization of Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, a provision criticized by the ACLU as warrantless surveillance.
- Stephanie O’Sullivan: O’Sullivan is Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees of The Aerospace Corporation, a nonprofit corporation and federally-funded R&D center that primarily focuses on space-related engineering and national security issues. O’Sullivan formerly worked for TRW (later Norhtrop Grumman) and served as Associate Deputy CIA Director in the Obama Administration after over a decade of service in the agency. From 2011 to 2017, O’Sullivan served as the Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence in the Obama Administration. In 2020, O’Sullivan served as the Team Lead for the Biden-Harris transition’s Intelligence Community landing team.
- Stacie Pettyjohn: Pettyjohn is Director of the Strategy and Doctrine Program at the RAND Corporation, an “echo chamber” think tank heavily funded by top national security agencies. The Center for International Policy’s Foreign Influence Transparency Initiative criticized RAND for having “enormous financial incentives to support the Pentagon”. Pettyjohn was formerly a research fellow at the Brookings Institution, which has received funding from Northrop Grumman, Palantir Technologies, Raytheon, and the state of Qatar. In 2020, Pettyjohn served on the Biden-Harris transition’s DOD landing team.
- Dafna Rand: Rand, an alum of the Obama State Department and National Security Council, was Deputy Director of Studies and a Leon Panetta Fellow at CNAS from 2014 to 2015 and testified before Congress on the need to arm “moderate Syrian opposition units”. She left CNAS in 2015 to revolve back into the State Department as Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. Despite her stated opposition to the Yemen War, Rand supported continued “U.S. defense of Saudi Arabian territory through assistance and cooperation” as recently as 2017. Critics of the Yemen War have noted the Saudi government repeatedly frames its intervention in Yemen in defensive terms to maintain U.S. involvement in the conflict.
- Deborah Rosenblum: Rosenblum is EVP of the Nuclear Threat Initiative and was a former vice president at The Cohen Group. She was previously a senior executive at the Department of Defense, where she specialized in “billion dollar military assistance programs in Latin America”. While at The Cohen Group, Rosenblum was a registered lobbyist for major defense contractors, including Alion Science and Technology, DynCorp, and Lockheed Martin. In 2020, Rosenblum served on the Biden-Harris transition’s DOD landing team.
- Thomas Shannon: Shannon is a diplomat who served in various capacities in the Bush, Obama, and Trump State Departments, most recently as Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs as an Obama holdover under Trump. He currently works as a Senior International Policy Advisor for BigLaw giant Arnold & Porter, whose Government Contracts practice touts its work helping aerospace and defense clients navigate statutory and regulatory constraints to sell to government customers. Shannon is also on CSIS America’s Advisory Council.
- Shawn Skelly: Skelly served in the Obama Administration in various positions, including as Special Assistant to the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics. From 2018 to 2020, Skelly was an Acquisition Analyst for CACI International, an IT contractor for several national security and defense agencies that has been sued by former Abu Ghraib detainees for its employees’ alleged role in torture. Skelly was also previously a Business Development Specialist and Researcher at ITT Exelis, another top aerospace and defense contractor. In 2020, Skelly served on the Biden-Harris transition’s DOD landing team.
- Julianne Smith: Smith, an alum of the Obama administration, is a well-connected D.C. foreign policy operative. She currently serves as senior advisor to the president and director of the Asia Program at the German Marshall Fund, which receives funding from defense contractors like Airbus, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, and Boeing. She is also a Senior Advisor at WestExec Advisors and was formerly an Advisor for consulting firm Beacon Global Strategies (which courts tech and defense sector clients seeking to “elevate awareness of their brand and capabilities with the U.S. government”). Smith is also a serial revolver, having left her job at CSIS to join the Obama Administration in 2009, and later revolving out of the Obama Administration in 2013 to join CNAS.
- Vince Stewart: A senior military official who served as Marine Corps Director of Intelligence, Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, and Deputy Commander of the US Cyber Command, Stewart now sits on the boards of various consulting firms and cybersecurity and defense contractors, including The AerospaceCorporation, Axellio Inc., Ankura, and ManTech. He is also the founder and CEO of Stewart Global Solutions, an international consulting firm focused on “cybersecurity, geopolitical intelligence, strategic planning, and crisis management.” Since 2019, Stewart has been a Venture Partner and Senior Advisory Board Member to the Donovan Capital Group, a private equity firm that specializes in investing in national security and defense companies. In 2020, Stewart served on the Biden-Harris transition’s Intelligence Community landing team.
- Nicole Tisdale: Tisdale is a veteran of Capitol Hill, having worked as a staffer in various capacities on the House Homeland Security Committee and Congressional Task Forces on election security and counterterrorism. In 2019, she revolved out of the legislative branch to join Cambridge Global Advisors, a strategic consulting firm that lists its core areas of expertise as “national and homeland security, cybersecurity, defense, public diplomacy, counterterrorism, and immigration”and touts its “bench of former senior executives that have worked at the Departments of Homeland Security, State, Commerce, Justice, and Defense – as well as on the Hill.” In 2020, Tisdale served on the Biden-Harris transition’s Homeland Security landing team.
- Serving as Director for Legislative Affairs on the National Security council as of March 2021.
- Greg Vogle: A career paramilitary officer who served nearly three decades in the CIA and previously headed the agency’s global clandestine operations, Vogle is now a Senior Advisor at the McChrystal Group, a management consulting firm founded by former US Army General Stanley McChrystal. Vogle’s duties include “advising CEOs and executive teams on leadership and team building”. In 2020, Vogle served on the Biden-Harris transition’s Intelligence Community landing team.
- Debra Wada: Wada was formerly the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Manpower & Reserve Affairs in the Obama Administration. She is currently a Senior Advisor with The Roosevelt Group, a consulting group whose clients include defense contractors SRC Inc and Honeywell. Other clients of The Roosevelt Group include The Michigan Defense Center (who describe Roosevelt as “its eyes and ears inside the Pentagon and DoD”) and Utah Defense Alliance (a nonprofit organization whose stated mission is “expanding investment and employment opportunities in defense and aerospace related industries”). In 2020, Wada served on the Biden-Harris transition’s DOD landing team.
- Thomas West: West served in various capacities in the Obama Administration, including as Special Assistant for South and Central Asia at the State Department and Director for Afghanistan and Pakistan at the National Security Council. In 2015, he revolved out of government to join The Cohen Group, where he currently serves as its Vice President.
- Nicole Wong: Wong served as the Deputy Chief Technology Officer in the Obama White House before joining the Albright Stonebridge Group as a Senior Advisor in technology and intellectual property law. Wong has strong ties to Big Tech, having previously served as a VP and Deputy General Counsel at Google, and a Legal Director of Products at Twitter. In 2020, Wong served on the Biden-Harris transition’s review team for the National Security Council.
- Christine Wormuth: Wormuth was formerly the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy in the Obama Administration, and was appointed director of the RAND Corporation’s International Security and Defense Policy Center shortly after leaving government in 2016. She was previously a Senior Fellow at CSIS and a Founding Director of the Arsht Center for Resilience at The Atlantic Council. In 2020, Wormuth served as a member of the Biden-Harris transition’s DOD landing team.
- Nominated to U.S. Secretary of the Army on April 12th, 2021.
This list will be continuously updated. Any additions or updates made after initial publishing will indicate the date added.