Six Stops on the National Security Tour
Rethinking Warfare Economies
The U.S. military economy incorporates hundreds of American communities. This is the first book to connect our national security apparatus to the local level via deeply reported portraits of six carefully selected locations, including military Meccas and out-of-the-way places. They are woven into the warfare economy by bases, nuclear weapons labs, and production sites. The book includes an invaluable overview of how the military is structured, how its budget is made, and what it costs. It also shows how the military economy perpetuates itself. In on-the-ground reporting, Pemberton traces the lines of connection between the tour stops presented here and our country’s foreign policy, industrial policy, and budget priorities. She examines the meaning of national security in the current moment, as climate change becomes what the military itself calls "an urgent and growing threat." And she dramatically demonstrates how redirecting our militarized foreign and industrial policy toward climate security can help these communities become part of the solution. For students, scholars, public servants, and all concerned citizens, this book is essential reading.
Table of Contents
Overview in Brief
Connecticut: A Choice Visible on Two Sides of a River
Johnstown, PA: From Coal to the King of Pork
Southern California: Green Capital of the World or Aerospace Central?
Pine Bluff: Foreign Policy Comes Home to Arkansas
Los Alamos, NM: Weathering a Midlife Crisis
New Frontiers for Militarism
Greater Binghamton, NY: Swords into Plowshares
Miriam Pemberton has studied the U.S. military economy and the means of shrinking it down to size for decades, fi rst as Director of the National Commission for Economic Conversion and Disarmament and then as a Research Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies. With Lawrence Korb, she headed the task force that for a decade produced the annual “Unified Security Budget of the United States.” With William Hartung she edited Lessons from Iraq: Avoiding the Next War (Paradigm, 2008). She headed up the team that produced three successive versions of “Military vs. Climate Security: The Budgets Compared.” Pemberton holds a PhD from the University of Michigan.
Praise for Six Stops on the National Security Tour
Miriam Pemberton has written the definitive contemporary account of the cultural and economic behemoth that is "National Security." These "two most powerful words in the language of U.S. policy" have produced a domestic landscape swathed in military contracting companies, military bases, surveillance systems, and nuclear missile labs and silos. Through firsthand visits to six locations around the country, Pemberton uses her deep expertise and vivid writing to examine this terrain and suggest another way is not just possible but existentially and immediately necessary.
--Catherine Lutz,Thomas J. Watson, Jr. Professor Emerita of Anthropology and International Studies, Brown University, and Co-Director, Costs of War
This lively, most unusual tour of the United States covers something guidebooks don’t. Pemberton shows how our vast military budget has affected communities across the nation, often leaving toxic waste or distorted local economies in its wake. But there are seeds of hope: examples of what we can accomplish using talent and energy to produce what the world desperately needs instead of a river of useless weaponry.
--Adam Hochschild, author of King Leopold’s Ghost, Bury the Chains, and To End All Wars among other books
With great force and compelling detail, Pemberton describes how our political elite—Democrats and Republicans alike—are fiddling while the planet burns. She documents how the Pentagon leadership itself recognizes the climate crisis as our greatest national security threat, yet Congress and the President keep shoveling over $700 billion per year into useless weapons and military outposts. Pemberton arms us with the tools to stop this madness before it is too late. This is an outstanding, and hugely important, book.
-- Robert Pollin, Distinguished Professor of Economics, University of Massachusetts Amherst
This "Tour" is a gift. Drawing on unparalleled expertise developed over decades, Pemberton surveys the Military Industrial Complex and its impact on the economy, politics, and everyday life of the United States. Importantly, Pemberton also shows where we must go in what she rightly calls the "fight for our lives" to move hundreds of billions of dollars from this Complex to build a green economy and save our warming planet.
--David Vine, Professor of Anthropology, American University
A troubling but fascinating travelogue--shows how military spending distorts local economies and distracts the country from its genuine security challenges. Highly recommended.
--Michael Klare, Former Director, Five College Program in Peace and World Security Studies
"Solving the problem of economic reliance on war and preparations for war—and its role in shaping budget priorities—will ultimately depend on dramatic changes at the national level. Pemberton lays out the key policies needed to make progress towards a demilitarized economy."
--William D. Hartung, Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft in The Nation