Lockheed Martin CEO James Taiclet’s nomination to this prestigious foreign policy post raises numerous questions.

by Eli Clifton, Responsible Statecraft

Members of the Council on Foreign Relations are currently voting on a slate of ten board candidates put forth by the “Nominating and Governance Committee.” That slate includes what is arguably the world’s largest arms dealer, the chairman and CEO of Lockheed Martin, James Taiclet, according to a document circulated to CFR members and obtained by Responsible Statecraft.

The board of directors of CFR, a New York-based think tank that focuses on U.S. foreign policy and international relations, isn’t a stranger to embracing the weapons industry. CFR’s chairman is David Rubenstein, a co-founder and co-chairman of the private equity firm and defense-industry-focused Carlyle Group, and the board currently includes Raytheon board member Meghan L. O’Sullivan, and Frances Townsend, a director at Lenoardo Systems, a Virginia based weapons systems company. (CFR’s biography of Townsend omits any mention of her role at the weapons firm but Leonardo Systems lists her CFR board membership in her biography on their website.)

Lockheed Martin sign in Orlando, Florida, USA; Lockheed Martin is an American global aerospace, defense, security, and advanced technologies company.

By proposing Taiclet for board membership, CFR’s leadership is effectively bringing an individual into their ranks whose company, and personal $24 million in annual compensation, is highly dependent on the U.S. defense budget. In 2018, 70 percent of Lockheed’s revenue came from the U.S. government.

CFR members are being asked to vote on the entire slate, created by the “Nominating and Governance Committee,” and cannot vote for or against an individual candidate. Voting is currently underway and ballots must be cast by June 12.

Read More