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Rent-A-Generals' Consulting Firms: An Industry in Its Own [Image: General.png]Last month I came across the following coverage at War Is Business by Corey Pein. This Monday Peter and I will be interviewing Mr. Pein, meanwhile if you haven't seen this great website check it out now, and put it in your Favorite' list of websites. I am really looking forward to this interview, too many topics of interest to cover!
Rent-A-Generals' & the Militarization of Economy'
By Corey Pein, War Is Business
This man is William B Burdeshaw, a retired US Army Brigadier General and founder of what the Boston Globe, in its must-read investigation of rampant corruption in Pentagon procurement, calls "one of the oldest rent-a-general' consulting firms" in the country.
His company, Burdeshaw Associates Ltd, is essentially a fixer for corporations looking to land military contracts. The firm is apparently so good at this, its influential "associates"mostly retired, high-ranking officerscan sell the Pentagon things it didn't even know it needed.
Read Globe reporter Bryan Bender describe how Burdeshaw cleverly wrung $109 million from the Pentagon for the firm's client, Northrop Grumman, which wanted to build a remote-controlled helicopter called the Fire Scout.
The Army wouldn't comment. Northrop Grumman wouldn't comment. Burdeshaw's chief executive, retired Army General William Hartzog, wouldn't comment. Bender did a remarkable job of putting this story together despite such obstacles.
Clearly, no one gained from this episodeexcept Northrop Grumman, the third-largest US military contractor, and Burdeshaw Associates. The firm's eponym seems to be doing well for himself. Burdeshaw and his wife, Monica, own a massive $2 million home near the Potomac River in Maryland. Give the size of his firm, his personal wealth is likely many times that amount.
In its conclusion, Bender explains the growing demand for rent-a-generals as a consequence of "the increasing importance of the military to America's industrial base." Retired Army General and former Presidential candidate Wesley Clark calls it "the militarization of the economy."
Too see what the militarization of the economy looks like, visit a discount grocer in any American city and count how many people pay with food stamps. Then ponder William Burdeshaw's mansion.
Too see the effects of a simultaneous processthe commodification of the militarylook no farther than Afghanistan, where contractors outnumber uniformed soldiers.
Read the rest of this well-done coverage here.

An excerpt from