The Carlyle Group is a private investment firm with more than $18 billion in liquid capital, and over $44 billion in contracts all over the globe. It
has a broad membership of over 350 individuals, most of them influential figures in the world of American foreign policy.
Carlyle has ownership in over 500 companies and corporations worldwide, and a brief look through its investment portfolio shows that the firm does not
hesitate to sieze opportunities as they come. But through the course of normal business, Carlyle focuses on industries in which its membership have
prior expertise, such as aerospace, defense, automotive and transportation, consumer retail, energy and retail power, healthcare, industrial, real
estate, technology, business services, telecommunications, and media.
With offices in Washington DC, located just between the White House and the Capitol building, and near numerous other federal departments such the
FBI, it is easy to see that Carlyle plays a role in virtually anything where politics and financial matters mix. However, some say Carlyle is more
than a simple investment firm; given its unique membership, its political ties, and the industries from which it profits most, the company seems to
fit the bill of a military-industrial complex in more ways that one.
The Carlyle Group was founded in 1987 by William E. Conway, Jr., the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of the telecommunications giant MCI, Daniel A.
D’Aniello, an executive with Marriot Corporation, and David M. Rubenstein, a former aide to President Carter. The three founders owned approximately
50% interest in the group's general partnership. The group took its name from a hotel, "The Carlyle", in the upper east side of New York City.
Using its partners' financial experience and D'Aniello's Marriot ownership, the firm began building its capital by focusing on the restaurant and
In 1989, President Reagan's former Secretary of Defense, Frank Carlucci, joined the firm and redirected its focus to the then-downsized defense
industry. Its first military acquisitions were the missile and aircraft technology from the Harsco Corporation, BDM International, the LTV
Corporation, and Howmet.
As the years have gone by, Carlyle's membership has continued to expand, and its interests in the military and defense industries have more than
The Carlyle Group has a combined membership of over 350 individuals, including many key political and military figures from all over the world. The
more notable members are outlined below.
- James Baker III, former United States Secretary of State under George H. W. Bush, Staff member under Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, Carlyle
- George H. W. Bush, former U.S. President, Carlyle Senior Advisor to the Carlyle Asia Advisory Board
- Frank C. Carlucci, former United States Secretary of Defense from 1987 to 1989, chairman emeritus and currently strategic business advisor
- Richard Darman, former Director of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget under George H. W. Bush, Senior Advisor and Managing Director of The
- Colin Powell, former Secretary of State under George W. Bush
- Alice Albright, daughter of Madeleine Albright who was Clinton's Secretary of State
- William Kennard, former chairman of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission, Carlyle's Managing Director in the Telecommunications & Media
- Arthur Levitt, chairman of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) under President Bill Clinton, Carlyle Senior Advisor
- John Major, former British Prime Minister
- Mack McLarty, President of Kissinger McLarty Associates, Carlyle Senior Advisor
- Fidel Ramos, former president of the Philippines, Carlyle Asia Advisor Board Member (Carlyle Asia was disbanded in February 2004)
- Caspar Weinberger, former Secretary of Defense
- Park Tae Joon, former prime minister of South Korea
- Karl Otto Pöhl, former president of the Bundesbank
Among the more controversial partners were members of the bin-Laden family (relatives of Osama bin-Laden, not the man himself). In October 2001, the
family sold its $2.02 million investments back to Carlyle after the terrorist attacks on 9/11/01.
A military-industrial complex?
A military-industrial complex is generally defined as a "coalition consisting of the military and industrialists who profit by manufacturing arms and
selling them to the government."
With Carlyle profiting from virtually all aspects of war, from the manufacturing of combat equipment to future contracts once fighting has ended, the
firm has attracted negative attention from the few members of the public that are aware of its existence.
Given the firm's interests in middle-eastern affairs, and the wars currently being fought there, it presents an interesting conflict of interest
between current policymakers and industry.
For example, current President George W. Bush is fighting a War on Terror which stands to make his father, former President George H. W. Bush (and the
rest of Carlyle) enormous sums of money in contracts and investment returns.
Further, with the situation in the middle east and the rest of the world escalating, the firm's middle-eastern partners are in a position to dictate
policy which is directly profitable for them and the rest of the firm.
It is the existence of entities such as the Carlyle Group, among several other factors, that lead many to believe America has surpassed the definition
of military-industrial complex. Many wonder what this means for the future of America, and for the world.
Carlyle Group (official)
Carlyle Group (The underside of Carlyle)
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