Finally! Here’s a rough version of a feature I’ve had in mind for this site since its launch late last year: Military contractor maps.
The closest comparable online project is a part of the Washington Post’s Top Secret America series, by Dana Priest and Bill Arkin. Aided by a team of researchers and computer geeks, Priest and Arkin did an impressive job at sketching out the nationwide network of US military and intelligence contractors. Unfortunately, the Post chose to censor the results of their research, even though the “secrets” had been gleaned through public records. As an editor’s note to the series explained, users can “see the cities and towns where the government conducts top-secret work in the United States, but not the specific locations, companies or agencies involved.”
The “national security” justification, in that case, was unconvincing.
The new War Is Business map, by contrast, is designed specifically to show the locations of companies doing business with the Pentagon, because the point of this website is to reveal who profits from war spending. To that end, the map links up to our DIY investigations form, so not only can users easily find nearby military companies, they are given the tools to find out who owns those companies.
Revealing this information is not—repeat not—a threat to members of the armed forces or their civilian colleagues. On the contrary. As an eight-month Congressional investigation recently determined, US national security is gravely threatened by system-wide ignorance regarding the ownership of military contractors.
Anyway, enough with the introduction—give it a try!
Send suggestions and comments to editor-at-warisbusiness.com. And if anyone has the time and expertise to help build a more expansive version of this project based on OpenStreetMap, please get in touch.