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Progressive lawmakers are urging President-elect Joe Biden not to pick a defense secretary with a contractor background, saying that national security “should not be defined” by corporate interest.
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Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Wis., and Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., penned a letter to Biden on Thursday, noting that each defense secretary under the Trump administration had worked for a defense contractor at some point in their careers, claiming there has been a “revolving door” between the private sector and the Pentagon.
“Respectfully, and in full agreement with your past statements, we write to request that the next Secretary of Defense have no prior employment history with a defense contractor,” Pocan and Lee wrote.
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They went on to note that former Defense Secretary Mark Esper, who was fired from his post by the president on Monday, was employed as a lobbyist for Raytheon prior to being appointed to lead the Pentagon. They added that his predecessor, Patrick Shanahan, was a 30-year Boeing executive prior to serving in the role, and former Secretary Jim Mattis had served on the board of General Dynamics for four years before being appointed.
“Additionally, nearly half of all senior Defense Department officials are connected to military contractors,” they wrote. “Despite President Trump’s boast that he would ‘drain the swamp and hire only ‘the best people,’ he has continuously failed to do so.”