National Security

Published — March 28, 2003 Updated — May 19, 2014 at 12:19 pm ET

Advisors of influence: Nine members of the Defense Policy Board have ties to defense contractors

Introduction

Of the 30 members of the Defense Policy Board, the government-appointed group that advises the Pentagon, at least nine have ties to companies that have won more than $76 billion in defense contracts in 2001 and 2002. Four members are registered lobbyists, one of whom represents two of the three largest defense contractors.

The board’s chairman, Richard Perle, resigned yesterday, March 27, 2003, amid allegations of conflicts of interest for his representation of companies with business before the Defense Department, although he will remain a member of the board. Eight of Perle’s colleagues on the board have ties to companies with significant contracts from the Pentagon.

Members of the board disclose their business interests annually to the Pentagon, but the disclosures are not available to the public. “The forms are filed with the Standards of Conduct Office which review the filings to make sure they are in compliance with government ethics,” Pentagon spokesman Maj. Ted Wadsworth told the Center for Public Integrity.

The companies with ties to Defense Policy Board members include prominent firms like Boeing, TRW, Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin and Booz Allen Hamilton and smaller players like Symantec Corp., Technology Strategies and Alliance Corp., and Polycom Inc.

Defense companies are awarded contracts for numerous reasons; there is nothing to indicate that serving on the Defense Policy Board confers a decisive advantage to firms with which a member is associated.

According to its charter, the board was set up in 1985 to provide the Secretary of Defense “with independent, informed advice and opinion concerning major matters of defense policy.” The members are selected by and report to the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy—currently Douglas Feith, a former Reagan administration official. All members are approved by the Secretary of Defense. The board’s quarterly meetings—normally held over a two-day period—are classified, and each session’s proceedings are summarized for the Defense Secretary. The board does not write reports or vote on issues. Feith, according to the charter, can call additional meetings if required. Notices of the meetings are filed at least 15 days before they are held in the Federal Register.

The board, whose list of members reads like a who’s who of former high-level government and military officials, focuses on long-term policy issues such as the strategic implications of defense policies and tactical considerations, including what types of weapons the military should develop.

Michael O’Hanlon, a military expert at The Brookings Institution, told Time magazine in November 2002 that the board “is just another [public relations] shop for Rumsfeld.” Former members said that the character of the board changed under Rumsfeld. Previously the board was more bi-partisan; under Rumsfeld, it has become more interested in policy changes. The board has no official role in policy decisions.

The agendas for the last three meetings, which were obtained by the Center, show a variety of issues were discussed. The Oct. 10-11, 2002 meeting was devoted to intelligence briefings from the Defense Intelligence Agency and other administration officials. One of the first items on the agenda was an ethics brief by the Office of the General Counsel.

In December 2002, a two-hour intelligence briefing, strategy, North Korea, and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency were on the agenda. In February 2003, the topics discussed on the first day included North Korea, Iran and Total Information Awareness, the controversial Pentagon research program that aims to gather and analyze a vast array of information on Americans. As the Center previously reported, research for the program is being conducted by private contractors.

Richard Perle, who has been a very public advocate of the war in Iraq, resigned the chairmanship of the Defense Policy Board after being criticized in recent weeks because of his involvement in companies that have significant business before the Defense Department. He did not return the Center’s phone calls.

In a March 24 letter, Representative John Conyers, the ranking Democrat on the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee, asked the Pentagon’s inspector general to investigate Perle’s role as a paid adviser to the bankrupt telecommunications company Global Crossing Ltd. The Hamilton, Bermuda-based company sought approval of its sale of overseas subsidiaries from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, a government panel that can block sales or mergers that conflict with U.S. national security interests. Rumsfeld is a member of the Committee.

Perle reportedly advised clients of Goldman Sachs on investment opportunities in post-war Iraq, and is a director with stock options of the U.K.-based Autonomy Corp., whose customers include the Defense Department.

“Mr. Perle is considered a ‘special government employee’ and is subject to government ethics prohibition—both regulatory and criminal—on using public office for private gain,” Representative Conyers wrote in the letter obtained by the Center.

Potential conflicts not limited to Perle

Perle, however, is not the only Defense Policy Board member with ties to companies that do business with the Defense Department:

Retired Admiral David Jeremiah, a former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff who served over 38 years in the Navy, is a director or advisor of at least five corporations that received more than $10 billion in Pentagon contracts in 2002. Jeremiah also sat on the board of Getronics Government Solutions, a company that was acquired by DigitalNet in December 2002 and is now known as DigitalNet Government Solutions. According to a news report by Bloomberg, Richard Perle is a director of DigitalNet Holdings Inc., which has filed for a $109 million stock sale.

Retired Air Force General Ronald Fogleman sits on the board of directors of companies which received more than $900 million in contracts in 2002. The companies, which all have longstanding business relationships with the Air Force and other Defense Department branches, include Rolls-Royce North America, North American Airlines, AAR Corporation and the Mitre Corp. In addition to being chief of staff for the Air Force, Fogleman has served as a military advisor to the Secretary of Defense, the National Security Council and the President. He also served as commander-in-chief of the U.S. Transportation Command, commander of Air Mobility Command, the 7th Air Force and the Air Component Command of the U.S./ROK Combined Forces Command.

Retired General Jack Sheehan joined Bechtel in 1998 after 35 years in the U.S. Marine Corp.

Bechtel, one of the world’s largest engineering-construction firms, is among the companies bidding for contracts to rebuild Iraq. The company had defense contracts worth close to $650 million in 2001 and more than $1 billion in 2002. Sheehan is currently a senior vice president and partner and responsible for the execution and strategy for the region that includes Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Southwest Asia. The four-star general served as NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic and Commander in Chief U.S. Atlantic Command before his retirement in 1997. After his leaving active duty, he served as Special Advisor for Central Asia for two secretaries of Defense.

Former CIA director James Woolsey is a principal in the Paladin Capital Group, a venture-capital firm that like Perle’s Trireme Partners is soliciting investment for homeland security firms. Woolsey joined consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton as vice president in July 2002. The company had contracts worth more than $680 million in 2002. Woolsey told the Wall Street Journal that he does no lobbying and that none of the companies he has ties to have been discussed during a Defense Policy Board meeting. Previously, Woolsey worked for law firm Shea & Gardner. He has held high-level positions in two Republican and two Democratic administrations.

William Owens, another former high-level military officer, sits on boards of five companies that received more than $60 million in defense contracts last year. Previously, he was president, chief operating officer and vice chair of Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), among the ten largest defense contractors. One of the companies, Symantec Corp., increased its contracts from $95,000 in 2001 to more than $1 million in 2002. Owens, who served as vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is widely recognized for bringing commercial high technology into the U.S. Department of Defense. He was the architect of the Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA), an advanced systems technology approach to military operations that represents a significant change in the system of requirements, budgets and technology for the U.S. military since World War II. Owens serves on the boards of directors for several technology companies, including Nortel Networks, ViaSat and Polycom.

Harold Brown, a former Secretary of Defense under President Jimmy Carter, and James Schlesinger, who has served as CIA director, defense secretary and energy secretary in the Carter and Nixon administrations, are two others that have ties to defense contractors. Brown, a partner of Warburg Pincus LLC, is a board member of Philip Morris Companies and a trustee of the Rand Corporation, which respectively had contracts worth $146 million and $83 million in 2002. Schlesinger, a senior adviser at Lehman Brothers, chairs the board of trustees of the Mitre Corp., a not-for-profit that provides research and development support for the government. Mitre had defense contracts worth $440 million in 2001 and $474 million in 2002.

Chris Williams is one of four registered lobbyists to serve on the board, and the only one to lobby for defense companies. Williams, who served as a special assistant for policy matters to Defense Secretary Rumsfeld after having been in a similar capacity for Senator Trent Lott (R-Miss.), joined Johnston & Associates after leaving the Pentagon. Although the firm had represented Lockheed Martin prior to Williams’ arrival, the firm picked up two large defense contractors as clients once Williams was on board: Boeing, TRW and Northrop Grumman, for which the firm earned a total of more than $220,000. The firm lobbied exclusively on defense appropriations and related authorization bills for its new clients. Johnston & Associates is more often employed by energy companies; its founder, J. Bennett Johnston, is a former Democratic senator from Louisiana who chaired the Energy Committee.

None of the members with ties to defense contractors responded to requests for comment.

The board’s membership also contains other well known Washington hands, including some who are registered lobbyists. Richard V. Allen, a former Nixon and Reagan administration official, who is now a senior counselor to APCO Worldwide, registered as a lobbyist for Alliance Aircraft.

Former Congressional representative Tillie Fowler joined the law firm Holland & Knight in 2001. She served eight years in the U.S. House of Representatives where she was a member of several committees including the House Armed Services Committee and the Transportation Committee. In 2002 she lobbied for such clients as the Minnesota Department of Transportation and the American Plastics Council.

Thomas S. Foley is a partner at Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld law firm, which he joined in 2001. He was the U.S. ambassador to Japan from 1997 to 2001 and was the Speaker of the House of Representatives from 1989 to 1994, after being a representative since 1965. Foley is a registered lobbyist, but has no defense clients.

Defense Policy Board Advisory Committee

(as of December 2002)

Kenneth Adelman

Adelman is currently a national editor for The Washingtonian magazine and a senior counselor at Edelman Public Relations Worldwide. From 1981 to 1983, he served as deputy U.S. representative to the United Nations. He was director of the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency from 1983 to 1987 and he also headed the U.S. team on annual arms control discussions to China from 1983 through 1986.

Richard V. Allen

Allen is a senior counselor to APCO Worldwide and an international business consultant in Washington, D.C. He worked for both President Nixon and President Reagan. Allen is also a member of the National Security Advisory Group, which advises the Senate Majority Leader and the Speaker of the House, and he is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution.

Martin Anderson

Anderson is the Keith and Jan Hurlbut Fellow at the Hoover Institution. He worked for President Nixon’s campaign in 1968 and in his administration from 1969 to 1971. He was a policy adviser on presidential campaigns of Ronald Reagan in 1976 and 1980, Pete Wilson in 1995, Bob Dole in 1996 and George W. Bush in 2000.

Gary Becker

Becker, who won the Nobel Prize in Economic Science in 1992, is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and a professor at the University of Chicago. He served as an economic policy adviser for the Dole presidential campaign in 1996.

Barry M. Blechman

Blechman is the founder and president of DFI International, a consulting firm for government as well as the private sector. He is the chairman of the Henry L. Stimson Center, a nonprofit research group that deals with peace and security issues.

Harold Brown

Brown was Secretary of Defense under President Carter from 1977 to 1981 and is currently a partner at Warburg Pincus & Co., an investment firm he has been part of since 1990. He is also a counselor at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. From 1984 to 1992, he was the chairman of the Foreign Policy Institute of the Johns Hopkins University Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies.

Eliot Cohen

Cohen has been a professor of strategic studies at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies since July 1990. Previously, he was a member of the strategy department of the United States Naval War College.

Devon Cross

Cross is the Executive Director of the Donors Forum. She is on the board of directors of the Center for Strategic & Budgetary Assessments, a research institute that focuses on defense planning and investment strategies for the 21st Century.

General (Ret.) Ronald R. Fogleman

Fogleman retired from the United States Air Force in September 1997 after thirty-four years of service. He is currently president and COO of the Bar J Cattle Company. He holds the same position with Durango Aerospace, Inc. Fogleman has served as a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and a military advisor to the Secretary of Defense, the National Security Council and the President.

Thomas S. Foley

Foley is a partner at Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld law firm, which he joined in 2001. He was the U.S. ambassador to Japan from 1997 to 2001 and was the speaker of the House of Representatives from 1989 to 1994, after being a representative since 1965. Foley is a registered lobbyist.

Tillie Fowler

Former Congressional representative Tillie Fowler joined the law firm Holland & Knight in 2001. She served eight years in the U.S. House of Representatives where she was a member of several committees including the House Armed Services committee and the Transportation Committee. In 2002 she lobbied for such clients as the Minnesota Department of Transportation and the American Plastics council.

Newt Gingrich

Gingrich is CEO of the Gingrich Group, a consulting firm. He is also a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and a distinguished visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution. Gingrich was a member of the U.S. Congress for 20 years and speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 to 1999. He is also an analyst for the Fox News Channel.

Gerald Hillman

Hillman, an investor with Perle in some of the business ventures which have come under public scrutiny in recent weeks, is the managing director of Hillman Capital Corp., a New York-based private investment firm which provides venture capital to growing technology companies. Hillman Capital has invested in companies such as Cambridge Display Technology, which develops technology enabling flat screen television displays and other visual advances.

General (Ret.) Charles A. Horner

Horner, who retired from the U.S. air force in 1994, was commander in chief of North American Aerospace Defense Command and the U.S. Space Command as well as commander of Air Force Space Command, Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado. He coordinated aerospace defense of the United States and Canada.

Fred C. Ikle

Ikle is a distinguished scholar at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. He was undersecretary of defense for policy under President Reagan. Ikle was director of the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency from 1973 to 1977. He is also the chairman of the U.S. Committee for Human Rights in North Korea as well as governor of the Smith Richardson Foundation.

Admiral (Ret.) David Jeremiah

Jeremiah is the president of Technology Strategies and Alliance Corporation, a strategic advisory and investment banking firm engaged primarily in aerospace, defense, telecommunications and electronics industries. Jeremiah, who served over 38 years in the Navy, is a former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Commander in Chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet and director of Navy Program Planning. He left the military in 1994.

Henry A. Kissinger

Kissinger was the secretary of state of the United States from 1973 to 1977 and he was the assistant to the president for national security affairs from 1969 until 1975. He is chairman of Kissinger Associates, an international consulting firm. Kissinger was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1973.

Admiral (Ret.) William Owens

Owens is co-chief executive officer and vice chairman of Teledesic LLC. Previously, he was president, chief operating officer and vice chair of Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC). He served as vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Resources, Warfare Requirements and Assessments and Commander of the U.S. Sixth Fleet. He was the architect of the Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA), an advanced systems technology approach to military operations.

Richard Perle

Perle, who was appointed as chairman in July 2001, resigned that position March 27, 2003. He is still a member of the board. Perle is also a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, where he has authored several policy papers in recent months supporting the current military strike against Iraq. He serves both as chairman and CEO of Canadian media tycoon Conrad Black’s Hollinger Digital subsidiary.

J. Danforth Quayle

Quayle was Vice President of the United States from January 1989 to January 1993. After leaving office he has worked as a consultant, author and public speaker.

Henry S. Rowen

Rowen is a professor of public policy and management emeritus at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business and a fellow at the Hoover Institution. He was assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs at the U.S. Department of Defense from 1961 to 1964 and 1989 to 1991.

James R. Schlesinger

Schlesinger divides his time between the Center for Strategic and International Studies, where he serves as counselor, and the investment banking firm Lehman Brothers, where he serves as senior advisor. He has served as director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Secretary of Defense and Secretary of Energy.

General (Ret.) Jack Sheehan

Sheehan joined Bechtel in 1998 after 35 years in the U.S. Marine Corp. He is currently a senior vice president and partner and responsible for the execution and strategy for the region that includes Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Southwest Asia. The four-star general served as NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic and Commander in Chief, U.S. Atlantic Command before his retirement in 1997.

Kiron K. Skinner

Skinner is an assistant professor of history, political science and public policy at Carnegie Mellon University. She is the W. Glenn Campbell research fellow at the Hoover Institution.

Walter B. Slocombe

Slocombe is an attorney for the Washington, D.C. office of Caplin & Drysdale. He has worked for the Department of Defense as principal deputy assistant secretary of defense in international security affairs from 1979 to 1981 and as under secretary of defense for policy from 1994 to 2001.

Hal Sonnenfeldt

Sonnenfeldt is director of the Atlantic Council of the United States, a trustee at Johns Hopkins University and a guest scholar at the Brookings Institution. He was a counselor at the State Department from 1974 to 1977.

Ruth Wedgwood

Wedgwood is a professor of law at Johns Hopkins University, School of Advanced International Studies and at Yale University Law School. She is a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations as an expert in international organizations and law.

Chris Williams

Williams, who served as a special assistant for policy matters to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld after having been in a similar capacity for Senator Trent Lott (R-Miss.), joined Johnston & Associates after leaving the Pentagon. He is a registered lobbyist.

Pete Wilson

Pete Wilson is a distinguished visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution. He was the governor of California from 1991 to 1999 and a Senator from 1983 to 1991.

James Woolsey

Woolsey joined Booz Allen Hamilton as a vice president in July 2002. He is also a Principal of the Paladin Capital Group, and a Member of Paladin’s Homeland Security Fund Investment Committee. A former CIA director from 1993 to 1995, he has also practiced law for 22 years as a partner of Shea & Gardner in Washington, D.C. Woolsey has held high-level positions in two Republican and two Democratic administrations.

Data analysis by Aron Pilhofer

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