Ep 107 Last War-ism, Cold War Military-Industrial Complex feat Dave Foster

Guest: Dave Foster. We discuss the evolution of the military-industrial complex, Cold War weapons systems and “last war-ism.”

Ep 107 Last War-ism Cold War Military-Industrial Complex feat Dave Foster

In Dave’s own words:

“The U.S. status quo model of the military is one composed of advanced conventional forces equipped with modern ships, planes, tanks, sensor networks, and logistic capability and also nuclear weapons. The Pentagon, the broader government, and the industrial base is beholden to this status quo and favored visions of future operations. The Pentagon can modify to a degree for operations but finds it difficult to adapt structurally to new realities. The primary reasons are financial. Last War-ism and nostrums of future scenarios always vastly outweigh truly fresh thinking. The commitment to the ideas of the past that exist today – as business relationships, existing infrastructure, organizations, systems, plans, and past research – dominate the Pentagon’s budget. With rare exception, the entire Pentagon budget funds the status quo.”

Dave Foster is a data analyst in the private sector. He’s a former Marine Corps pilot and a Defense Department contract and civilian weapons engineer and operations analyst. You can find his writing at antiwar.com.


  • 1:45 Dave Foster’s background
  • 6:30 Anti-war vs anti-interventionism vs pacifism
  • 7:15 Empire, military-industrial complex, weapons evolution
  • 9:15 Last war-ism, building weapons for the last war or last century’s war, air war
  • 13:15 Reviving the Cold War, peer level competitor adversaries, for-profit wars
  • 16:15 Return to priority on conventional land forces and weapons with Russia as adversary. Competition between different branches of the military, repurposing anti-Soviet weapons for Middle Eastern wars, GPS aided weapons. Adversaries focusing on surface-to-air weapons
  • 20:15 Iraq war, all volunteer force
  • 26:00 Excerpt from Lawrence Wilkerson’s speech at a Maine Peace Action speech, May 2019
  • 31:15 Military-industrial complex, profiteering, maintaining the status quo, form of welfare and what we build isn’t really suitable for the future.
  • 33:45 Post-WWII, Korean war, Vietnam war, setting up a military poised to go out and look for things to do, wasted good will, world views US as a threat
  • 38:45 War is no longer dependent on having a big conventional military, vulnerability due to large number of bases and ships
  • 42:15 Batteships are outdated, size of the navy, difficulty making big changes in big organizations, life cycle costs of military products, assumptions and estimations
  • 54:15 Recent proposal for fighting Chinese navy
  • 56:15 Arleigh Burke class destroyers accidents, vulnerabilities, vast operations present opportunity for adversaries to study our systems, network-centric systems
  • 1:02:15 Digital systems, testing complex systems
  • 1:09:15 Pentagon has a hard time dealing with disruptive realities, inertia and profits, investing in old fashioned notions of what a military should be

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Recorded on May 12, 2019. Music by Fluorescent Grey.

Reference Links:

  1. The Pentagon’s Days of Future Past, Dave Foster, antiwar.com
  2. National Security in Three Diagrams and Six Takeaways
  3. Maine 2019 Spring Gathering & Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson Speech
  4. So Much for Conventional Wisdom, America Actually Seems to Care About Foreign Policy, Deep State Radio podcast

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