The world today is in in the grip of a major arms race. From 2007 to 2017, global arms exports rose 65% from about $119 billion to nearly $195 billion, according to the US State Department’s Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance. This arms drive is being caused by a new era of inter-capitalist rivalry, e.g. US-Chinese economic and technological competition, Western hypocrisy that the Moscow gangster state it encouraged is now out of control, and the Arab-Iranian conflict. The Arab and Iranian autocracies are protecting their own rentier economic and political interests by deflecting local popular unrest into a religious proxy war in Yemen.
All this is fodder for the big arms companies to make profits. The long economic famine in the arms industry caused by the end of the original Cold War has given place to new international conflicts and new weapons systems. High tech meets the grim reaper is now the name of the game. And US high tech is the major beneficiary. The United States exports four times more arms around the globe than the next nine countries combined. And that is probably an underestimate given the dual use to which much software can be put.
Leidos (located in Virginia) is a “solutions” company. Give it a problem and Leidos will find, install, and manage the computer hardware and software to solve it. Leidos has four main divisions: military and intelligence, government, health and “advanced solutions”. It has always operated as a close adjunct of the US military-industrial complex. Board members and executives have included Melvin Laird, Nixon’s Secretary of Defense; William Perry, Clinton’s Secretary of Defense; John M. Deutch, Director of the CIA under Clinton; and Admiral Bobby Ray Inman, a senior spook with both the National Security Agency and the CIA, under Gerald Ford. The current board includes a former Under Secretary of Defense for the US army and a former Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics (i.e. the guy who used to give Leidos contracts). These days, Leidos is owned by Lockheed-Martin, the biggest US defense contractor. It employs over 30,000 people worldwide. Last year, Leidos reported sales of $10.2 billion, with a rise in profits of 59%.