The mil­i­tary-in­dus­trial com­plex is the deep state.

The Washington Post Sunday - - OUTLOOK -

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.

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