Waking Up with the M.I.C.

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This morning I woke up with the military industrial complex.

We at Aviation Week are in the middle of our annual A&D Programs Conference in Phoenix, which I host along with senior AvWeek leadership. Naturally, as it is the morning after The Election, it has provided us a front-row seat to what might be the only visceral reaction possible from the MIC about President Barack Obama’s re-election.

They’re not happy, of course. During a panel this morning about the election and its aftermath one conference attendee read aloud an email he says he received from a major investor who apparently said something along the lines of, “Does America have a death wish?” Heads nodded across the ballroom here at the Biltmore.

But this room, and this industry, are not full of Republican ideologues. Indeed, the conference make-up includes more women and others who do not fall into the category of old-white-men that has dominated the industry’s image for a long time. The MIC is changing its players, yet – probably not surprisingly – their concerns remain the same, especially when it comes to the nation’s commitment and passion for pursuing advanced technology for its military and security forces. 

Along those lines, the question on everyone’s mind here is, “which Obama shows up now?” Is it the Obama of his 2004 convention speech and 2008 campaign – and last night, in his acceptance speech – who said there are no red states and blue states, just the United States of America? Or is it the Obama many here and elsewhere perceived to occupy the Oval Office from 2009-2010, who pushed through “Obamacare” and alienated much of the business community, to say nothing of the Republican party. If it is the first, the grudging conclusion is that there is hope for their side after all. If it is the latter, well, “doomsday scenario” starts to become a common phrase.

That is the question the MIC has the morning after.

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