For nearly three decades, the Department of Defense has used taxpayer money to send elite military officers to work for some of the Pentagon’s top private contractors. The public-private arrangement has allowed corporate lobbying disguised as policy recommendations to reach the highest branches of the Defense Department, according to an exclusive report from the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft shared with The Lever.

From 1995 to 2021, more than 315 military officers with elite ranks as high as colonel and rear admiral have been placed at top weapons manufacturers such as Boeing, Raytheon, and Lockheed Martin, as well as other companies with billion-dollar government contracts. The arrangement has also coincided with a dramatic rise in Defense Department spending on private contractors valued in the trillions of dollars.