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Ex-Pentagon Chiefs Knocking Tuberville’s Abortion Protest Are In Bed With The Military-Industrial Complex

Mark Esper getting interviewed on 60 Minutes
Image Credit60 Minutes/YouTube

Former secretaries of defense attacking Alabama Sen. Tommy Tuberville for slow-walking President Biden’s military nominees in protest of the Pentagon’s abortion policy hold major ties with America’s military-industrial complex, according to a conservative government watchdog group.

In May, seven former Defense secretaries signed a letter criticizing Tuberville’s bid to force individual votes on Biden’s military appointees. In their letter, the secretaries claimed Tuberville’s protest of the Pentagon’s use of taxpayer money to cover service members’ travel expenses to get abortions was “irresponsible” and baselessly asserted such a practice “risks turning military officers into political pawns.”

The letter’s signatories included James Mattis, Mark Esper, Chuck Hagel, Leon Panetta, Robert Gates, William Cohen, and William Perry.

In a thread published on X, formerly known as Twitter, on Monday, the American Accountability Foundation (AAF) unearthed how these same former Defense secretaries now hold exclusive positions with major U.S. defense contractors and related ventures.

For instance, Leon Panetta, who held the position under President Barack Obama, has since served as a senior counselor for Beacon Global Strategies LLC since 2014. According to its website, Beacon Global is a “strategic advisory firm” that specializes in areas such as defense and homeland security. A 2013 Defense News article reportedly described the company’s clients as “primarily defense contractors” but noted that the identities of said entities are not publicly available “because of nondisclosure agreements.”

Chuck Hagel, who also served as defense secretary under Obama, sits on the RAND Corporation Board of Trustees as of July. A nonprofit with its origins dating back to the post-World War II era, RAND claims to “help[] improve policy and decision[-]making through research and analysis” across a variety of areas, including national security and terrorism, international affairs, and homeland security and public safety, among others.

Republican-appointed defense secretaries also appear to have waded into America’s military-industrial complex since leaving public office. James Mattis, a Trump appointee, now serves on the Board of Directors for General Dynamics Corporation, a major defense contractor whose portfolio includes aerospace, combat systems, and other defense-related technologies.

Meanwhile, Mark Esper, another Trump nominee and former Raytheon (now RTX) executive, reportedly has ties to numerous defense-related entities. In May 2021, Esper officially joined the board of directors of Epirus, a self-described “high-growth technology company.” In a statement announcing the decision, Epirus claimed adding Esper to its board “solidifies our ability to bring to market the technology we need to help protect the U.S. warfighter and develop other new applications of our technology for broad commercial use.”

In addition to Epirus, Esper also serves on the boards of Cobham Advanced Electronics Systems and Red Cell Partners. While the former provides electronics-based weapons systems to the U.S. aerospace and defense industry, the latter “leverages big data, artificial intelligence, machine learning, automation, and advanced materials to develop powerful technologies that address our Nation’s most pressing problems.”

Robert Gates, who served as defense secretary under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, as well as Bill Clinton appointees William Cohen and William Perry, were also among those documented in AAF’s X thread as having ties to the U.S. military-industrial complex.

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