Often generals trade in their stars for cash when they retire from the US military. Many of them go to work for the same defense industry corporations that lobbied them for contracts while they wore the uniform. As Guerrilla Blog noted, a report by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) found that over the last three years, 70 percent of the 108 three-and-four star generals and admirals who retired “took jobs with defense contractors or consultants.”
One of the Army’s most infamous generals has now cashed in his stars to be an arms dealer. According to Defense News, retired General Army General Stanley McChrystal is now a member of the strategic advisory board Knowledge International LLC. McChrystal was commander in Afghanistan during the Obama Administration’s troop surge, and during the Bush Administration he commanded the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC). After being forced to retired because of Michael Hastings’ profile in Rolling Stone, McChrystal has gone down a similar path of many before him:
The firm is among the defense procurement companies owned by the Emirates Advanced Investments group, which is close to the ruling family of the United Arab Emirates. But unlike the other companies in the network, such as Abu Dhabi-based C4 Advanced Solutions, Knowledge International is incorporated in the United States.
Fully licensed as an arms dealer and broker, the company sends American trainers and arms to the UAE, arranging the necessary licenses and agreements with the State Department and the Defense Department.
The company’s strategic advisory board consists of some of the past decade’s brightest names in American land warfare: retired Army Gen. Bryan “Doug” Brown, who headed up the U.S. Special Operations Command; retired Gen. James Conway, former commandant of the Marine Corps and a charismatic figure during the 2003 Iraq invasion; and retired Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal, who commanded the International Security Assistance Force, NATO’s Afghanistan command.
The newly retired general founded McChrystal Group, a consultancy, and was appointed chairman of the board of Siemens Government Systems, a German-owned firm, as well as to seats on the board of JetBlue and Navistar.
Unlike these firms, Knowledge International is obscure and a non-public company. Its parent company, EAI, is very close to the government of the UAE and handles major weapon purchases for the UAE military.