The military-industrial complex is the deep state.
Presidents have often felt threatened by the national security apparatus. In 1961, President Dwight Eisenhower presciently warned about the military’s Cold War prerogatives, labeling a group of postwar elites as the “military-industrial complex.” And John F. Kennedy was shaken enough about the CIA’s own sense of grandeur that he appointed his brother to oversee all covert operations.
While Eisenhower’s “military-industrial complex” was white, male, Christian and ruled by a priesthood that sanctified nuclear doctrine above all else, the national security bureaucracy today is professionalized, rulebased and highly diverse. It is organized around counterterrorism.
Furthermore, the deep state contains multitudes, and they are often at odds with one another. Defense contractors exulted at Trump’s election, as did a plurality of rankand-file soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines who voted for him. But top generals and career civilians, whose interests converge around the public good, civic norms and global stability, fretted. And the CIA’s senior officer cadre blanched.
The constituent parts of the deep state often do not align. They do not form one conspiracy.