Defense Contractor Revenues Have Stalled Under Democratic Presidents

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Andrew Trunsky Political Reporter
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Defense contractor revenues have been largely flat under Democratic presidents, according to an analysis by Axios.

Under President George W. Bush, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Northrup Grumman and General Dynamics, four of the largest defense companies, collectively averaged $165 billion in yearly revenue, according to the analysis, driven by two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

ARLINGTON, VA DECEMBER 20: Secretary of Defense Mark Esper holds an end of year press conference at the Pentagon on December 20, 2019 in Arlington, Virginia. Esper and Milley fielded questions on a wide range of topics, including the situation in North Korea and a recent Washington Post referred to as the "Afghanistan Papers." (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

ARLINGTON, VA DECEMBER 20: Former Secretary of Defense Mark Esper holds an end of year press conference at the Pentagon on December 20, 2019 (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Under President Donald Trump, who campaigned on “rebuilding the military,” annual revenues for the four companies rose 30% during his first three years, peaking at $211 billion in 2019, even as he promised to withdraw American troops from the Middle East. (RELATED: Trump Orders Thousands Of Troops Withdrawn From Iraq, Afghanistan)

Under Democratic Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, however, the companies’ revenues remained largely stagnant. They generated $70 billion in Clinton’s final year in office, and dipped slightly under Obama, making $163 billion collectively in his final year, according to Axios.

The analysis comes as President-elect Joe Biden prepares to take office in January. Though he has not explicitly called for cuts to the Pentagon’s $705 billion budget, he campaigned on promises that rely on increased public spending, which could put the Defense Department’s budget at risk.

“I don’t think [budget cuts] are inevitable, but we need priorities,” Biden told Stars and Stripes in September, adding that he supports a small, continued American presence in the Middle East.

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