Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Well, That Didn't Take Long

Well, that didn’t take long. 

“Retired Adm. Jon Greenert, a former chief of naval operations, has been named to the board of directors of BAE Systems Inc, the company announced this morning.” (1)

We’ve decried the practice of recently retired Admirals taking positions in the very defense industry companies that they previously had a business relationship with.  Now, we learn that recently retired CNO Greenert has taken a position on the board of directors of BAE Systems, Inc.  This stinks of kickback and impropriety.  While it’s possible that there is no quid pro quo at work here, the conflict of interest and the appearance of cooperation having been bought is impossible to ignore.  In these kinds of cases, the appearance of impropriety is as damning as the reality.  It calls into serious question every decision Greenert and the Navy, at his direction, made regarding BAE Systems during his tenure.

Regular readers know my opinion of CNO Greenert was about as low as it could get and this merely solidifies that opinion.

This practice has got to stop.


(1)Defense News website, “Former CNO Greenert Named To BAE Board”, Christopher Cavas, 19-Apr-2016,


  1. There has to be a way to stop this.

    I don't care if Admiral Greenert wants to become a consultant to Wal-Mart, a trucking company, or a motivational speaker. But This is absurd.

    Eliminating it wouldn't fix acquisition. But it would be a step.

  2. I own shares in BAE and to be honest it just doesnt make them look good either.

    Best interpretation they have hired a "pretty poster boy" to advertise their services. Worst case it stinks of corruption. As a British company I would really rather they didn't.

    I know!

    Ill pop down the road and have a word with them for you ;)

  3. Jim
    Israel has a policy where former generals must wait a minimum amount of years before entering politics, to stop a spate of former chiefs of staff running for prime minister immediately on retirement,
    It wouldn't be very hard to implement a similar policy preventing general staff above a certain rank from working for private defence contractors for a period of 5/10 years post retirement.
    In private enterprise we have non compete clauses preventing staff from going to work for competitors, so such policies aren't without precedent.
    And when national security is involved (such as preventing corruption in upper echelons of the defence forces) it would be even easier to implement and enforce.

    1. "In private enterprise we have non compete clauses preventing staff from going to work for competitors, so such policies aren't without precedent."
      They are quite often unenforceable, you might be able to delay it for 6 months with a preliminary injunction and drag it through court, but unless people are leaving and taking clients or proprietary information with them, I cant think of an example of it actually occurring.
      However I used to work for a law firm that was very skilled at poaching partner level lawyers who would bring their clients with them.

      Even if the government waves its magic wand and passes a law specifically forbidding it, ways around it include employing wives, children or mistresses (no, seriously, I know someone who as part of his package his employer also employed his mistress), if thats too off books, instead of joining the board, he could have formed Greenert Consulting, and billed them hourly for his consulting services, or an BAE could pay Company A, that pays Company B, that pays Company C, that pays Greenert.

  4. you're likely right.
    Possible different level of clout that can be brought against a single citizen by govt vs potential pernicious law suites.
    Jail time might be a better disincentive than financial loses.

    Still, something must be tried. Death knell of societies is corruption.
    Left unchecked, results in 19 year old boys pulling triggers on guns that go boom in their hands rather than throwing ammo down range.

  5. I am of the opinion that outright trying to ban generals and perhaps having penalties is in order. Jail time may be worth it.

    Everyone suffers when a general opts to sell out and substandard weapons are bought - save the shareholders of the defense industry and if the nation loses, even they lose.


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