|Our military organization today bears little relation to that known by any
of my predecessors in peacetime, or indeed by the fighting men of World
War II or Korea.
Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United
States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could,
with time and as required, make swords as well. But now we can no longer
risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled
to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to
this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the
defense establishment. We annually spend on military security more than
the net income of all United States corporations.
This conjunction of an
immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the
American experience. The total influence -- economic, political, even
spiritual -- is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the
Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development.
Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil,
resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our
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.
We must never let the weight of
this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should
take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can
compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of
defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty
may prosper together.
-- Dwight D. Eisenhower