Outside the halls of Congress, contractors are able to significantly influence debates about the defense budget process through the sizeable contributions they make to many of Washington’s top think tanks.
In fact, as we have discovered while conducting research for a forthcoming report on defense contractor funding of think tanks, the arms industry has given hundreds of millions of dollars to the nation’s top think tanks in recent years. In many cases these are the very same think tanks that have been clamoring for more Pentagon spending.
As the analysis for our forthcoming report revealed, the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) has received at least $6.6 million in donations in the last 5 years from leading defense contractors, who clearly benefit from a large defense budget. Moreover, CNAS has received huge amounts of funding directly from DoD, $500,000 in 2016 for example. CNAS thus has rather strong incentives to applaud huge defense budgets.