For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


For a Pentagon employee, nothing could ensure a lucrative post-government career more than a stint with the Defense Security Assistance Agency (DSAA), which administers the Foreign Military Sales program. The DSAA receives a 3 percent commission on the defense equipment it sells to foreign countries, which creates, according to a 1991 report from Congress’ Office of Technology Assessment, “a powerful incentive for DSAA personnel to make as many sales as possible.” (In 1992, Congress placed a yearly cap on these commissions.)

A review of DSAA’s last 10 directors shows that nine went to work for arms makers or defense industry consulting firms after leaving the agency (six for firms that sell weapons or services overseas).

Lt. Gen. George Seignious (1971-1972) became chairman of GRC International Inc., a defense and national security consulting firm.

Vice Adm. Ray Peet (1972-1974) became vice president for international affairs for Teledyne Ryan.

Lt. Gen. Howard Fish (1974-1978) went to Lockheed and served on a Pentagon advisory committee that gives confidential advice to the secretary of defense on overseas sales. He also worked for Loral and LTV, and headed the American League for Exports and Security Assistance, which lobbies Congress for foreign sales.

Lt. Gen. Ernest Graves (1978-1981), a military analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, never went to work full time for the defense industry. “I just wasn’t comfortable with the notion of trading commercially on relationships I had formed when I was working for the government,” he says.

Erich von Marbod (1981-1982) was hired by Fish to work for LTV.

Lt. Gen. James Ahmann (1982) became a vice president at BDM, which owns Vinnell, a consulting firm that trains the Saudi Arabian National Guard, a praetorian guard for the royal family.

Lt. Gen. Philip Gast (1982-1987) became vice president for international operations at Burdeshaw Associates, which represents defense contractors seeking overseas contracts.

Lt. Gen. Charles Brown (1987-1990) worked for Military Professional Resources Inc., a firm that trains foreign armies and facilitates sales of U.S. military equipment.

Lt. Gen. Teddy Allen (1990-1993) took a consulting job at Hughes the day after he left DSAA.

Lt. Gen. Thomas Rhame (1993-1997) presided over DSAA when the agency expanded sales to former Eastern bloc countries. Now he’s a vice president at the Association of the United States Army lobbying group, which, Rhame says, is heavily funded by the defense industry.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate