QinetiQ, the War Profiteer Welsh Politicians Love to Love
October 2007 by Stuart Tannock
In Spring 2007, Sir John Chisholm, Chairman of QinetiQ, came to
Chisholm had good grounds for feeling entitled to give such a talk. For since being created through privatisation in 2001, QinetiQ, now
Since 2003, QinetiQ has entered into a series of research partnerships and “sister agreements” with
In January 2007, the QinetiQ-led Metrix Consortium won what might be the largest investment in Welsh history, a £16 billion contract to build a private military training academy at St Athan, in the Vale of Glamorgan
Rhodri Morgan described this success as a “red-letter day” for all of
This cozy embrace of QinetiQ by Welsh political and educational leaders over the past few years is puzzling, to say the least, given the country’s supposed commitment to principles of social justice and fairness, good governance, sustainable development and responsible international citizenship
QinetiQ is a company that has been mired in ethical controversy since its very beginning, for claims of taxpayer rip-offs, profit-gouging, sweetheart contracts and conflicts of interest, and for the past two years, it has been under investigation by the National Audit Office (NAO).
While the final NAO report has yet to be released, an early draft slammed the company for the “excessive profits” earned by its senior management and top investors: in just four years, the US investment company Carlyle earned over £300 million on an initial £42 million stake in QinetiQ, while Chairman Sir John Chisholm turned his £129,000 QinetiQ investment into a £22 million personal fortune.
“Greed of the Highest Order and the Worst Privatisation Since Rail,” Guardian columnist George Monbiot complains.
Welsh politicians, however, act as if they could not care less.
QinetiQ has also become one of
QinetiQ brought in the Carlyle Group, a US private equity firm with close ties to the family of George W. Bush, appointed former CIA head George Tenet to its board of directors (the man whose false claims that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction directly enabled the US attack on Iraq), formed a North American corporate division, and went on a buying spree, quickly acquiring half a dozen mid-sized US defence and security firms.As a result, QinetiQ’s US defence-related business rose to 36% of its total sales, and QinetiQ management aims to push this share even higher.
This was all a far cry from QinetiQ’s original business strategy in 2001, when the British public was told that the newly-formed defence technology company would focus primarily on expanding into the civilian, non-military sector.
What does QinetiQ bring to
At the 2007 Parc Aberborth UAV Exhibition, a Russian company is reported to have “stolen the show” with its unveiling of a new pack of “swarming” UAVs.
Swarming is attracting great interest from military planners in the
One set of information we can be assured Cardiff researchers are not trying to provide fighter pilots with in their cockpits, however, are the real world sights and sounds of what the bombs they drop actually do to flesh and blood human beings.
Most recently, QinetiQ has brought
Summer 2007 witnessed a landmark event in the history of war. For the first time anywhere, armed robots were deployed on the streets of
While ethicists fretted about the moral problems associated with the rise of robot armies on the battlefield, the
Who makes these robot soldiers? A
QinetiQ Press Release (2006) “QinetiQ Helps Deliver National UAV Centre,” June 9; Welsh Assembly Government Press Release (2005) “Unmanned Flights Make
Tivy-Side Advertiser (2006) “And the Answer is QinetiQ,” March 7.
BBC News (2007) “Military Base Brings 5,000 Jobs,” January 17.
Rhodri Morgan (2007) “Statement on the Defence Training Review,” January 17; Rhodri Morgan (2007) “How Yes Vote Has Improved
See, for example, Welsh Assembly Government (2003) Wales: A Better Country.
Kit Bingham (2006) “Love on the Defensive as QinetiQ Readies for Take-Off,” Financial News, January 29; Edward Heathcoat Amory (2006) “Lord Crony and an Orgy of Greed,” Daily Mail, February 15.
Sylvia Pfeifer (2007) “Audit Office Slams ‘Excessive’ Profits for QinetiQ Chiefs,” Daily Telegraph, March 17.
George Monbiot (2006) “Greed of the Highest Order and the Worst Privatisation Since Rail,” Guardian, February 14.
Sir John Chisholm (2007) “Harnessing Innovation to Build World Leaders in
QinetiQ Press Release (2005) “QinetiQ Continues
Associated Press (2007) “QinetiQ’s Annual Profit Rises 19 Percent on North American Expansion,” May 31; Flight International (2006) “QinetiQ Targets USA,” June 13.
Geoff Gibbs (2001) “QinetiQ Energy is Aimed at Civilian Projects,” July 6.
Professional Engineering (2007) “Defence – War Winners,” June 27; Nathan Hodges (2005) “Wars Fuel a Big New Wave of Sky Spies,” Financial Times, June 13.
Aerospace International (2007) “Russians Steal UAV Show,” August 1.
Bruce Clough (2002) “UAV Swarming? So What Are Those Swarms, What Are the Implications, and How Do We Handle Them?,” Air Force Research Lab Conference Paper.
Phillip Morgan, Samuel Waldron, John Patrick & Dylan Jones (2006) “Designing Data Fusion Displays for Situation Awareness: Phase 1 Results,”
Saunders Lewis, quoted in The Khaki Dragon: Mapping Military Wales (Cynefin y Werin, no date).
Cynefin y Werin (2007) St
Stew Magnuson (2007) “Gun-Toting Ground Robots See Action in Iraqi Streets,” National Defense, September Issue.
Pete Warren (2006) “Launching a New Kind of Warfare: Robot Vehicles Are Increasingly Taking a Role on the Battlefield,” Guardian, October 26.