Former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Joseph Dunford, retired a few months ago, and now has secured a lucrative sinecure with Lockheed-Martin hawking the F-35 mistake jet:
In 2015, things weren’t looking great for the Marine Corps’ F-35B fighter jet. Reports from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and Department of Defense inspector general had found dozens of problems with the aircraft. Engine failures, software bugs, supply chain issues, and fundamental design flaws were making headlines. The program was becoming synonymous in the press with “boondoggle.”
Lockheed Martin, the program’s lead contractor, desperately needed a win.
Luckily for Lockheed, it had a powerful ally in the commandant of the Marine Corps, General Joseph Dunford. Five years later, Dunford would be out of the service and ready to collect his first Lockheed Martin paycheck as a member of its board of directors.
On September 30, 2019, Dunford, the military’s highest ranked official, stepped down from his position as chairman of the Joint Chiefs. He had served in the Marine Corps since 1977, working his way up to the highest tier of the armed services over 42 years.
Just four months and 11 days later, he joined the Pentagon’s top contractor, Lockheed Martin, as a director on the board.
In announcing Dunford’s hire, a January press release from Lockheed Martin quotes CEO Marillyn Hewson: “General Dunford’s service to the nation at the highest levels of military leadership will bring valuable insight to our board.”
Dunford’s consistent cheerleading of the F-35 and his subsequent hiring at its manufacturer create the perception of a conflict of interest and raised the eyebrows of at least one former senior military official.
“Here he is having been an advocate for it, having pressed it, having pushed for it … and now he’s going to work for the company that makes the aircraft, that just, to me, stinks to high heavens,” retired Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, who served as special assistant to Colin Powell when he led the Joint Chiefs, told POGO.
This should be illegal.