Newsbud Exclusive- Korea Rapprochement and War Industry Ire

The leaders of North and South Korea – Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in, respectively – have agreed to work together to rid the Korean peninsula of nuclear weaponry and to turn the 1953 armistice into a peace treaty.

A joint statement issued by Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in emphasizes converting the DMZ into a “peace zone,” ending "hostile activities" between the North and the South, reducing the presence of military weaponry throughout the peninsula, and working towards talks that involve China, North Korea, South Korea, and the U.S.

These stipulations threaten the profits of U.S. war corporations.

WAR INDUSTRY PERSPECTIVE

The U.S. war industry views the range of conflicts across the globe as a portfolio. War corporations want many conflicts festering, a few simmering, and some boiling over.

For decades, the conflict on the Korean peninsula has been a favorite of the U.S. war industry.

Demonization of successive North Korean leaders by war industry think tanks, lobbying groups, and affiliated media has allowed war profiteers to sell billions of dollars of arms to South Korea.

THE BIG FOUR & BIG MONEY

Lockheed Martin is one of the primary enablers of the South Korean military. The weaponry it has sold to South Korea includes: Advanced Electronic Guidance & Instrumentation System (AEGIS) weapons, services, and engineering; supply chain management for aircraft tires; F-16 aircraft upgrades; F-35 aircraft, support, and database integration; Modernized Target Acquisition Designation Sight / Pilot Night Vision Sensor (M-TADS/PNVS) for AH-64 helicopters; sensors that locate and identify radio frequency emissions, so tactical aircraft can better understand activity on the ground; a full range of support (including imagery and communications) to South Korea’s intelligence establishment; and mission assistance to surveillance aircraft.

Lockheed Martin has also sold South Korea many different types of rockets and missiles. They include: Guided Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS); Hellfire II missiles; High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) launchers; M299 Hellfire missile launchers; the MK 41 Vertical Launch System (VLS); PATRIOT missiles, including PAC-3 upgrades; and Stinger missiles.

Missiles are Raytheon’s bread and butter. Raytheon has sold South Korea many advanced missiles, including: AIM-9X Sidewinder missiles; Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM); High-speed Anti-Radiation Missiles (HARM); PATRIOT surface-to-air missiles, systems, and parts; SM-2 and SM-6 (ERAM) missiles; Stinger missiles; and various missile parts, including target detectors.

Other Raytheon products sold to South Korea include AEGIS radar, MK99 fire control equipment, and ship defense weapons and systems.

Northrop Grumman and Boeing round out the Big Four war corporations. These two also sell weaponry and military equipment to South Korea.

Northrop Grumman has sold: aircraft countermeasures; RQ-4 Global Hawk drones; ship navigation devices; surface warfare engineering and logistics; and weapons planning software.

Boeing’s favorite weapons to sell South Korea have been Harpoon and AGM-84 SLAM-ER missiles. Boeing has also sold them AH-64 helicopters; JDAM bombs and telemetry modules; shipboard networks; and small diameter bombs (SDB), among other goods and services.

All of this weaponry necessitates parts and service; maintenance contracts are where a lot of the money is made.

NEVER-ENDING PROFIT

Other war corporations have provided South Korea with weaponry and matériel. Goods and services include: CFM International’s aircraft engines; software engineering from Coherent Technical Services (CTSi); Communications & Power Industries’ tubes for radar cabinets; Data Link Solutions’ radios; DY4’s IFF systems for use on ships; and Engility software and engineering.

The weaponry South Korea receives is vast and varied. Other equipment includes: Frontier Electronic Systems sensor distributors; General Dynamics missile fire control systems for use on ships; General Electric aircraft engines; Honeywell aircraft power units; IRTC work supplementing different project offices (including Offensive Missile Systems and Cruise Missile Defense); Kaman fuses; Leidos mission planning technology; Longbow fire control radar; L-3 gun sights; Odyssey Systems AWACS foreign military sales facilitation; OmniPhase Research Labs fire control system testers; Robertson auxiliary fuel systems for AH-64 attack helicopters and extended range fuel systems for CH-47 heavy-lift helicopters; AEGIS integrated warfare systems, courtesy of SAIC; System Engineering Support data networks; and aircraft engines built by United Technologies.

Many corporations, big and small, stand to lose billions of dollars if peace breaks out on the peninsula.

PROFITABLE PRESENCE

In order for the war to officially end, the United States must sign whatever peace treaty is drafted; the Pentagon has been the primary aggressor in the conflict and exercises undue control over the South Korean military.

The U.S. military has a large presence in South Korea. Its main installations include Osan Air Base, Kunsan Air Base, Yongsan Garrison, Camp Carroll, Jeju Naval Base, and Camp Humphreys.

Dozens of U.S. corporations service the U.S. military forces that are stationed in South Korea.

General Dynamics’ presence in Korea is massive. General Dynamics’ powerful information technology division keeps the 1st Signal Brigade up and running. General Dynamics also supplies and services Abrams tanks, C4I operations, mobile landing platforms, and computer networks.

Multiple U.S. corporations handle and supervise the U.S. Army’s prepositioned stock on the Korean peninsula. They include KBR, AECOM, and Honeywell.

Cubic runs the profitable Korea Battle Simulation Center (KBSC). Lockheed Martin supplies Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD).

Other major war industry players provide a variety of goods and services to U.S. Forces Korea (USFK), including: Boeing EG-18 aircraft; CGI Federal matériel management system and maintenance; CSRA Naval Enterprise Network (ONE-Net); Iron Bow internet protocol upgrades; Leidos logistics support and Army Intelligence & Security Command (INSCOM) activities; and Northrop Grumman IT support.

North Korean officials remain justifiably worried about the U.S. military presence in South Korea. One cannot blame them; the presence of U.S. war profiteers supplying the U.S. Armed Forces is startling.

BOTTOM LINE

Wall Street stands behind the war industry, because war is one of Big Finance’s most profitable sectors. Nonetheless, a minority on Wall Street views a unified Korea as a boon to U.S. corporate interests overall. They see North Korea’s population of roughly 25 million as future consumers, fodder to lap up capitalist advertising. No matter what happens in Korea, short of nuclear war, the vultures of Wall Street will be hovering, ready to swoop.

Previous inter-Korean meetings and agreements tackled denuclearization and unification, but they fell apart whenever hardline administrations ascended to power in South Korea or whenever North Korea tested a missile.

This time around, the pretext for avoiding peace might come in a different form.

Look for the think tanks, media partners, and politicians of the U.S. war industry to treat rapprochement with disdain. Given the slightest pretext to criticize peace, war industry affiliates will advocate scuttling any tentative agreement in favor of entrenchment. Eying lucrative seats within the leadership of major war corporations, the generals in the Pentagon will follow whatever lead the industry gives them.

The corporations that comprise the U.S. war industry will work hard to prevent détente on the peninsula. We might never see the “warm spring” that Kim spoke of during the recent meeting with Moon Jae-in. Peace is not profitable. War is a racket.

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Christian Sorensen, a Newsbud Contributing Author & Analyst, is a U.S. military veteran and independent journalist.

***The aforementioned tallies omit many corporations, including those that provide food, construction, environmental remediation, medicine, certain matériel, financial auditing, cargo handling, administrative work, parachute systems, ejector seat propellants, deployable hygiene systems, or transportation. Corporations with headquarters outside the United States, like BAE Systems, are excluded from this study as well. These tallies also exclude Foreign Military Sales (FMS) to Taiwan and Japan, two other regional players whose militaries are very cozy with the U.S. war industry.

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