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Tracking militarists’ efforts to influence U.S. foreign policy

Jeremiah, David

  • Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs: Adviser

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David Jeremiah—not to be confused with the right-wing Christian minister by the same name—is a retired U.S. Navy admiral who has supported militarist defense policies and worked for numerous defense industry contractors.

Jeremiah serves on the board of advisers of the right-wing “pro-Israel” group, the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA). JINSA specializes in connecting retired U.S. brass to their counterparts in Israel as part of its lobbying efforts to promote arms deals and a pro-Likud stance in the Palestinian territories. Other neoconservative-leaning JINSA advisers have included David Steinmann, Anne Bayefsky, Max Kampelman, and Joshua Muravchik.[1]

During his nearly 40-year career in the U.S. Navy, Jeremiah held a number of leadership posts, including serving as head of the Pacific Fleet (1987-1991) and as vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (1990-1994), the second-highest post in the U.S. military.

At the end of his navy career, Jeremiah was involved in helping shift the United States to a post-Cold War defense posture, which he discussed during interviews conducted as part of the University of Virginia’s Miller Center George H. W. Bush Oral History Project.[2]

A key topic covered in the interviews was Jeremiah’s role in the first Gulf War in 1993, during which he served as vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs under Colin Powell. Among the disputes he highlighted from that period were those he and other military leaders had with then-Defense Secretary Dick Cheney and his deputy Paul Wolfowitz. Asked whether there had been “substantial conflicts between the civilian and military leadership during the course of the Gulf War,” Jeremiah said: “I think the answer is no, but there were a few incidents—personalities—Wolfowitz, for instance, was often looking for different ways of doing things, thinking we ought to do more of this, we don’t need to do that.” He said that Wolfowitz tended to push policies that were “more adventuresome, beyond the reasonable capability, committing forces that you really didn’t have.”[3]

Since retiring from the Navy, Jeremiah has served in a number of official advisory capacities as well as in leadership roles for numerous defense contractors, leading some commentators to highlight Jeremiah when discussing the workings of the military-industrial complex.[4]

Jeremiah served on the Richard Perle-led Defense Policy Board during the first George W. Bush administration, as well as on the 2000 Donald Rumsfeld-chaired “Space Commission,” which advocated weaponizing space to preempt a “space Pearl Harbor.” Additionally, Jeremiah served on the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (PFIAB) under George W. Bush as well as on PFIAB’s Intelligence Oversight Board. The PFIAB, a 16-member body, “provides advice to the president concerning the quality and adequacy of intelligence collection, of analysis and estimates, of counterintelligence, and of other intelligence activities.”

At the same time that he served the U.S. military and government in a variety of advisory capacities, Jeremiah also advised (and continues to advise) a wide array of defense contractors, including Northrop Grumman, the MITRE Corporation, the Standard Missile Company, Todd Shipyards Corp., ManTech International, among others.

According to Bill Hartung of the World Policy Institute, Jeremiah worked behind the scenes during the first George W. Bush administration as a paid Boeing consultant to push through a controversial U.S. Air Force plan that would have given Boeing a highly beneficial deal to lease refueling tankers.[5] According to The Hill, under the deal, which led to investigations by Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and the Senate Finance Committee: “The Air Force would lease 100 modified 767 tankers for a cost of $16 billion. With an option to buy, the deal could run to $21 billion. Total costs to the service could total at least $30 billion when replacing the infrastructure that now houses the current refueling fleet of KC-135Es is factored in. The cost of leasing versus buying has been the chief complaint of opponents. In August, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that buying the planes outright would save the service more than $5 billion.”[6]

The Hill also reported that the Senate Commerce Committee had obtained memos detailing the lobbying effort that went into pushing the deal through. "For example, retired Gen. Ronald Fogleman, a former Air Force chief of staff, and retired Adm. David Jeremiah, a former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, are listed as consultants in the effort. A Jan. 23 internal Boeing e-mail describes both as 'engaging on [Office of the Secretary of Defense] circles,' and notes that each is a member of the Defense Policy Board, which advises the Pentagon on defense policies." According to the Washington Post, Jeremiah denied playing any role in pressuring officials when he was queried about the e-mails.[7]

Richard Perle, who at one point was Jeremiah's DPB colleague, was also involved in the Boeing scandal. Soon after his Trireme investment firm received millions of dollars in cash from the aerospace giant, Perle began advocating in op-ed pieces that failure to push through the tanker leasing deal could jeopardize U.S. security. Commenting on this situation, Hartung remarked: "Does it bother [Donald] Rumsfeld that two of Perle's colleagues on the Defense Policy Board, retired Adm. David Jeremiah and retired Air Force Gen. Ronald Fogelman, have simultaneously been working as paid consultants to Boeing [and] promoting the lease deal?”[8]

Among Jeremiah's colleagues on the Defense Policy Board during Bush's first term were Kenneth Adelman, Eliot Cohen, Newt Gingrich, Fred Ikle, Ruth Wedgwood, Pete Wilson, James Woolsey, and the late Philip Merrill.

In 1994, the same year that he retired from the Navy, Jeremiah became president of Technology Strategies & Alliances Corporation, which describes itself as “a veteran-owned small business based in Burke, Virginia, a suburb of Washington, DC, and a short distance from key government agencies and corporate Washington offices.” Another corporation principal has been John S. Foster, a longtime member of the U.S. weapons complex who, like Jeremiah, has long been closely tied with both the government and the defense industry.

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Sources


[1] JINSA, ”Board of Advisers,” http://www.jinsa.org/board-advisors/all.



[2] Miller Center, “Interview with David Jeremiah,” http://millercenter.org/president/bush/oralhistory/david-jeremiah.



[3] Miller Center, “Interview with David Jeremiah,” http://millercenter.org/president/bush/oralhistory/david-jeremiah.



[4] William Hartung, "Everyday Is Christmas for Pentagon Contractors," The Record (Bergen County, NJ), December 15, 2003.



[5] William Hartung, "Everyday Is Christmas for Pentagon Contractors," The Record (Bergen County, NJ), December 15, 2003.



[6] The Hill, "Memos Detail Boeing's Lobbying Strategies," The Hill, September 3, 2003.



[7] R. Jeffrey Smith and Renae Merle, "Rules Circumvented on Huge Boeing Defense Contract," Washington Post, October 27, 2003.



[8] William Hartung, "Everyday Is Christmas for Pentagon Contractors," The Record (Bergen County, NJ), December 15, 2003.


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Jeremiah, David Résumé


Affiliations

  • Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs:Member, Board of Advisers




Government

  • White House Intelligence Oversight Board: Former Member

  • President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board: Former Member

  • White House: Presidential Representative, Australian-American Friendship Week, 2002

  • Defense Department: Defense Policy Board, Former Member

  • National Reconnaissance Office Advisory Panel: Former Member

  • National Defense Panel: Former Member

  • Defense Science Board: Former Task Force Member

  • Rumsfeld Space Commission: Member (until 2001)

  • Joint Chiefs of Staff: Vice Chairman, 1990-1994

  • Commander in Chief of the United States Pacific Fleet: 1987-1991




Business

  • Technology Strategies & Alliances Corporation: Chairman

  • Todd Shipyards Corp: Board Member

  • ManTech International: Member, Advisory Board

  • Litton Industries: Former Member, Board of Directors

  • Boeing: Former Consultant

  • Alliant Techsystems Inc. (ATK): Former Member, Board of Directors

  • Getronics Government Systems: Former Member, Board of Directors

  • Geobiotics LLC: Former Member, Board of Directors

  • GSE Systems, Inc: Former Member, Board of Directors

  • Standard Missile Co: Former Member, Board of Directors

  • Texas Instruments: Former Member, Advisory Board

  • Northrop Grumman Corporation: Former Member, Advisory Board

  • MITRE Corporation: Former Member, Board of Trustees

  • DigitalNet Government Solutions: Former Board Member

  • Wackenhut Services Inc: Former Board Chair




Education

  • University of Oregon: B.A., Business Administration

  • George Washington University: M.A., Financial Management

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