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Study: “Star Wars” Funds Go To Select Group

October 26, 1986

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The billions of dollars the government is spending on President Reagan’s ″Star Wars″ initiative is going to a handful of well-positioned defense contractors and laboratories, a new study says.

More than 90 percent of the Star Wars contracts awarded in fiscal 1985 and 1986 went to contractors located in states with senators who sit on the two key Senate committees that vote funds for the program, said the study by the Council on Economic Priorities.

″It’s pork barrel politics at work,″ said Alice Tepper Marlin, president of the council, which has issued several studies critical of the Strategic Defense Initiative, Reagan’s search for a high-tech shield against ballistic missiles.

″By linking the Strategic Defense Initiative program to the economies of states traditionally dependent on defense spending and represented on key congressional committees, the (Pentagon) can marshall support for a program despite its highly questionable strategic value and technical feasibility.″

The New York-based research group, which specializes in national security, the environment and corporate social responsiblity, is completing work on a study, ″Star Wars: The Economic Fallout.″ The book will be published next spring.

The study concludes that the top 20 contractors and laboratories have received awards totaling $5.7 billion since fiscal 1983, or 75 percent of the total $7.7 billion awarded.

The leading contractor to date is a government laboratory - the Energy Department’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, the study found. It has received contracts valued at $875 million.

In second place is the General Motors Corp., which last year acquired Hughes Aircraft. Thanks primarily to Hughes, GM has won SDI contracts totaling $612.7 million since fiscal 1983, the study states.

GM is followed by the Lockheed Corp. with $580.5 million; the Boeing Corp. with $373.7 million, and TRW Inc. with $373.1 million.

The remainder of the top 20, in order, include EG&G Inc.; the McDonnell Douglas Corp.; MIT Lincoln Laboratory; the Los Alamos National Laboratory; the General Electric Co. the Sandia National Laboratory; Rockwell International Corp.; Teledyne Inc.; Gencorp; the SDI Institute; Textron Inc.; LTV Corp., Flow General; Raytheon Co., and the Martin Marietta Corp.

If government and university laboratories are excluded from the listings, the top 20 corporations performing Star Wars research have won contracts worth $4.23 billion since fiscal 1983, or 55.1 percent of the total, the council study adds.

″The companies that won the largest contracts to produce nuclear weapons in the last decade are the same ones winning the largest SDI contracts to make nuclear weapons obsolete in the next decade,″ wrote Rosy Nimroody, a national security analyst with the council.

Those defense contractors, in turn, are highly concentrated geographically, the study adds. Almost 85 percent of the dollar value of SDI contracts has been awarded to contractors located in five states - California, New Mexico, Massachusetts, Alabama, and Washington state.

At least 89 percent of the Star Wars contracts awarded in fiscal years 1985 and 1986 - or $4.56 billion - went to contractors located in states with representation on the Senate Armed Services Committee, which must authorize Star Wars funding, the study adds.

More than $196 million in additional contracts during those two years went to contractors in other states with representation on the defense subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

The administration initially planned to spend $26 billion on the program by 1990, although those plans have been trimmed by Congress.

Reagan requested more than $5.3 billion for the current fiscal year, but Congress authorized only about $3.5 billion.