The Weapons Industry Transformed

by Jack Gilroy, September 3, 2022

Locally, we have two of the top ten weapons makers in the world, BAE Systems (#3 according to their website) and Lockheed Martin, the indisputable #1 weapons maker in the world.

No other world culture comes close to our eagerness to dominate other cultures. We have over 800 military bases around the world and have embraced terror over diplomacy. Terror has failed miserably.

Our greed to dominate other lands and people has been a colossal failure. Militarism backed by our firepower has not subdued Vietnamese, Iraqis, nor Afghans. Yet, the cleverness and plotting of the Pentagon and its contractors each year win increases not decreases in weapons making.

Much has been said about the $739 billion to be spent over the next ten years under the Inflation Reduction Act. We spend more than that figure each year on weapons of mass killing.

BAE and Lockheed Martin years ago took baby steps to transform a tiny part of their annual revenue into sustainable products or services such as electric bus production at BAE Endicott while Lockheed Martin received a contract to enhance postal packaging at its Owego facility. $221 million given to Lockheed for postal work amounts to about three tenths of one percent of the $78 billion given to them by the US government in fiscal year 2022.

The major arms industry uses these tidbit nonmilitary expenditures to claim they are doing economic conversion from military to real needs. It’s a sham and they know it.

If workers in the weapons industry were told their jobs would now focus on systems research and production to make our world more livable a sense of joy and purpose would sweep through the arms industry. They would know they were doing work to save our planet from climate disasters. If workers awoke each morning with a resolve to get to work and find ways to get pure water to people around the world (including our own native and poor people who have to live with contaminated water) they would have renewed purpose to help others, not with daily plans for more destruction and blood letting.

Lockheed Hellfire missiles and BAE laser systems to kill do not address the existential danger of climate crisis. The work of the arms industry could transform to work to cure diseases, to stopping the next pandemic before it starts, to ensuring clean soil and air, to ending malnutrition and hunger, to saving our plant and animal life.

Waking up each day with a zest to do good must be difficult for employees whose job is to design and produce weapons of death and destruction. Yet, our strange culture each year allocates 54% of our discretionary federal spending to our war industry.

Arms industry workers need to demand a sense of moral purpose in their work. Making electric buses and organizing mail distribution is a start to celebrate. The tasks to improve our nation and world are endless, economically profitable and morally joyous.

CEO letter supporters September 9th War Merchants Exposure Day

Veterans for Peace:

World Beyond War:

Code Pink:

Peace Action:

Upstate Drone Action:

United National Antiwar Coalition:

Catholic Worker:

Pax Christi USA:

Pax Christi DC-Baltimore:

Nevada Desert Experience:

Brandywine Peace Community:

Friends of Franz & Ben:

Broome County NY Peace Action:

Association of United States Catholic Priests

Pax Christi NYC:

Pittsburgh Anti-War Committee

Florida Peace Network