Blog Editor’s Note: This is the classic problem described by President Eisenhower in his “military-industrial complex” speech.
“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.”
When we rely too much on industry to defend us, how do we ensure the political leanings of industry leaders, or their thirst for profits and power, don’t run counter to the national interests?
In this instance, how do we keep from being held hostage by Elon Musk?
He has already undermined Ukraine by preventing them from using Starlink to navigate drones.
What else can he, will he, do? Slow down service on SpaceX contracts with the US government? Attack the US administration or Ukraine on Twitter? Contribute millions to political campaigns to oust current office holders? – Remember, the Supreme Court said money is speech so Elon can speak a heck of a lot louder and more often than you can.
Mr. Musk is fortunate he is not a powerful Russian businessman. We doubt Vladimir Putin would be considering revising the type of contracts his government uses.
Spooked by the company’s new limits in Ukraine, military leaders are mulling new types of contracts.
A type of contract pioneered in the 1950s may help the Pentagon solve a 21st-century problem: making sure private-sector satellite operators don’t cut off wartime communications.
On Thursday, lawmakers and the commander of U.S. Space Command expressed concern about SpaceX’s recent announcement that it would start limiting Ukraine’s use of the company’s Starlink constellation.
“I was personally disappointed to see discontinuation of full services at such a critical time for Ukraine self-defense,” Sen. Mark Kelly, D-Ariz., told Space Command’s Gen. James Dickinson. “Do you feel there’s a connection between the availability of this capability to our partners in Ukraine in this conflict, and relationships we have with companies like SpaceX?”
Dickinson answered matter-of-factly: “Yes.”