Do you feel comfortable having supersized defense contractor Lockheed Martin managing the Department of Defense’s global data network? Too bad. They already do.
As announced on October 3 and after overcoming an appeal filed by a competing bidder, the Pentagon awarded the Virginia-based company the $4.6-billion Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) contract.
DISA provides information technology (IT) and communications support to the president, vice president, secretary of defense, every branch of the U.S. military, and the overseas combat commands.
“We are gratified that the U.S. Government has made its determination, and we are ready to begin work with DISA to improve the speed and efficiency of information exchange between our joint warfighters around the world as well as their commanders and allies,” said Gerry Fasano, president of Lockheed Martin Information Systems & Global Solutions-Defense. “Our team has maintained a high state of readiness to effect a smooth transition and an efficient, progressive path forward for the DISA.”
The word “warfighters” deserves special attention. Although it isn’t defined (presumably because everyone in the industry understands who they are), one assumes that the “warfighters” are the more than one million American troops currently deployed overseas. Over 150,000 of these are serving in Afghanistan and Iraq, despite the fact that President Obama declared combat operations in the latter complete on August 31, 2010.
Is “warfighter” the way the government prefers to look at the U.S. military? In public pronouncements, presidents (Bush, Clinton, Bush, Obama, et al) describe foreign troop insertions as “peacekeeping missions” or “operational aid to freedom fighters,” but in their intra-military-industrial complex communications they betray their true role as enforcers of the globalists’ martial mission to spread not democracy, but the market for the million-dollar materiel needed to keep the battle brewing.
Some light is shed on the Army’s concept of “warfighter” in an e-mail from an army leader serving in Iraq in 2003 and shared by the Army Chief of Staff. The military commander wrote:
Each and every one of my Soldiers is more than simply a logistician, a computer systems analyst, or a mechanic. Each one of my Soldiers does more than simply provide support and resources to enable other Warfighters to perform their operational commitments. Each one of my Soldiers is a Warfighter. Every Soldier in Iraq serving to liberate and guarantee a future of freedom and prosperity for the Iraqi people shares the title and honor of Warfighter.
Thanks to this latest contract, Lockheed Martin will interface with each and every one of these “warfighters.” The Global Systems Management-Operations (GSM-O) is the largest of three DISA Global Systems Management contracts. According to a Lockheed Martin press release announcing the award, GSM-O “provides programmatic, operations, and engineering services; material; equipment; and facilities to support the lifecycle management of the network.”
GSM-O is headquartered at Fort Meade, Maryland where it is a neighbor with the National Security Agency (NSA). When it comes to the management of electronic data no one beats the NSA, so perhaps they can throw a block party and help the Lockheed Martin guys get up to speed on how to handle massive amounts of electronic communications.
As we have reported, not only does the NSA monitor, record, and manage the electronic communications of American citizens, the agency has adamantly and consistently refused to disclose the scope of that surveillance.
In a letter in response to a Senate inquiry concerning the number of Americans being spied on by their own government, Inspector General of the Intelligence Community I. Charles McCullough III claimed that calculating the number of Americans who’ve had their electronic communications “collected or reviewed” by the NSA was “beyond the capacity of his office and dedicating sufficient additional resources would likely impede the NSA’s mission.”
In other words, the NSA is too busy illegally recording our private e-mails, text messages, Facebook posts, and phone calls to figure out how many of us are already caught in their net. And, furthermore, there is nothing Congress can do about it.
Lockheed Martin will employ its product known as Defense IT to run the Defense Department’s global information systems. In its own literature, Lockheed Martin claims that it currently controls over 1,000,000 portal accounts, 5,000 servers, 450,000 network ports “at all security levels,” and maintains offices “in all 50 states and overseas.”
It is little wonder that Lockheed Martin survived the appeal process and was given the keys to the Pentagon’s cybersecurity and electronic data warehouse. In data published by OpenSecrets.org, Lockheed Martin has contributed over $2.6 million to Political Action Committees (PACs) and candidates, including $64,250 to Representative Buck McKeon (R-Calif.), the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee and over $50,000 each to Mitt Romney and Barack Obama.
And, there is nothing like multi-billion-dollar Defense Department contracts to help keep the political trough full and the gears of war turning.
The problem presented is the potential for violations of the Fourth Amendment present in giving a private company access to critical electronic data. Apart from its ability to read, record, and redirect the private electronic communications exchanged between DISA end users (including all the overseas combat commands and the commander-in-chief), Lockheed Martin will serve as the virtual gatekeeper of all the information shared among those clients.
Perhaps even more alarming is the disclosure that telecommunications giant AT&T will be partnering with Lockheed Martin in controlling the communication of the highest offices in the federal government and the military commanders carrying out their orders.
AT&T isn’t new to the job, of course. For nearly a decade they have been contracted by the Pentagon to “supply circuits and manage network bandwidth.”
In fairness, there may be nothing nefarious in the collaboration of one of the largest defense contractors and the largest telecommunications company. There may be no conflict of interest between Lockheed Martin’s multi-million-dollar donations to politicians of both parties (including the incumbent president and his Republican challenger), many of whom have direct influence over when and where American troops will be sent to “liberate” ostensibly oppressed populations.
There may no danger to freedom in the contractual union of the supplier of missiles and the fingers that fire them.
And, the right of Americans — even soldiers — to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures may not be threatened by the intimate management of critical Department of Defense communications by a telecom behemoth and a purveyor of weapons of war.
Whatever happens, all this money, all this access, and all this information will continue flowing toward those profiting (Lockheed Martin’s net sales for 2011 were $46.5 billion) from the prolonged pursuit of the policy of preemptive war.
Photo of a Lockheed Martin facility in Bethesda, Maryland