Conflicts of interest

Beware self-interested reports by the military, defense contractors, or think tanks

Governmental reports rarely advocate meaningful accountability. Think tanks often rely on funding provided by foreign governments and arms manufacturers. Many independent experts have demonstrable conflicts of interest that should cast doubt on their advocacy for militarized policies.


  • Who produced the report?

  • What is its methodology and sourcing?

  • What do the authors actually do? Are they:

    • Defense contractors?

    • Security ‘experts’ with ties to arms manufacturers?

    • Independent academics?

Watch out for:

  • Claims of “bipartisanship.” The term implies consensus, and it is used to preempt critical examination. Nonetheless, this framing masks the fact Democrats and Republicans practice nearly indistinguishable security politics.

  • Worst-case scenario forecasting that invites security practices that benefit the defense industry.

  • Reporting that accepts military, defense industry, or government data without critical evaluation. The government routinely relies on ‘national security’ justifications to withhold unfavorable data and even the number and location of troop deployments or military installations abroad. This monopoly limits transparency. It must be challenged, and it shouldn’t be an excuse for a lack of accountability.

Seek out:

  • Reports that challenge government sources and industry spin.

  • Independently verifiable data, including from non-U.S sources.

  • Academics and peer-reviewed sources, especially those with transparent financial and institutional support structures.