For a Pentagon employee, nothing could ensure a lucrative post-government career more than a stint with the Defense Security Assistance Agency (DSAA), which administers the Foreign Military Sales program. The DSAA receives a 3 percent commission on the defense equipment it sells to foreign countries, which creates, according to a 1991 report from Congress’ Office of Technology Assessment, “a powerful incentive for DSAA personnel to make as many sales as possible.” (In 1992, Congress placed a yearly cap on these commissions.)
A review of DSAA’s last 10 directors shows that nine went to work for arms makers or defense industry consulting firms after leaving the agency (six for firms that sell weapons or services overseas).
Lt. Gen. George Seignious (1971-1972) became chairman of GRC International Inc., a defense and national security consulting firm.
Vice Adm. Ray Peet (1972-1974) became vice president for international affairs for Teledyne Ryan.
Lt. Gen. Howard Fish (1974-1978) went to Lockheed and served on a Pentagon advisory committee that gives confidential advice to the secretary of defense on overseas sales. He also worked for Loral and LTV, and headed the American League for Exports and Security Assistance, which lobbies Congress for foreign sales.
Lt. Gen. Ernest Graves (1978-1981), a military analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, never went to work full time for the defense industry. “I just wasn’t comfortable with the notion of trading commercially on relationships I had formed when I was working for the government,” he says.
Erich von Marbod (1981-1982) was hired by Fish to work for LTV.
Lt. Gen. James Ahmann (1982) became a vice president at BDM, which owns Vinnell, a consulting firm that trains the Saudi Arabian National Guard, a praetorian guard for the royal family.
Lt. Gen. Philip Gast (1982-1987) became vice president for international operations at Burdeshaw Associates, which represents defense contractors seeking overseas contracts.
Lt. Gen. Charles Brown (1987-1990) worked for Military Professional Resources Inc., a firm that trains foreign armies and facilitates sales of U.S. military equipment.
Lt. Gen. Teddy Allen (1990-1993) took a consulting job at Hughes the day after he left DSAA.
Lt. Gen. Thomas Rhame (1993-1997) presided over DSAA when the agency expanded sales to former Eastern bloc countries. Now he’s a vice president at the Association of the United States Army lobbying group, which, Rhame says, is heavily funded by the defense industry.