Minyanville

Lockheed Fires Back at Prison Labor Charge

The defense behemoth claims the government is wrong to say it uses prison labor in the process of making parts for patriot missiles

I previously wrote an article about federal prisoners in the DOJ/BOP Federal Prison Industries/Unicor work program manufacturing components for Patriot missiles (in addition to cable assemblies for the McDonnell Douglas/Boeing (BA) F-15, the General Dynamics/Lockheed Martin F-16, Bell/Textron’s (TXT) Cobra helicopter, as well as electro-optical equipment for the BAE Systems Bradley Fighting Vehicle’s laser rangefinder).

In a nutshell, Unicor (formerly known as Federal Prison Industries), is a company wholly-owned by the US government and run by the Bureau of Prisons, a division of the Department of Justice. (To be clear, this has nothing at all to do with private prisons run by outfits like the Corrections Corporation of America (CXW) or The Geo Group (GEO). This is a United States government program operating in government-run institutions.)

The story was picked up by Wired magazine’s Danger Room, and the tale of the Patriot missile/Unicor connection began making the rounds.

Then, this morning, an email from the Lockheed Martin (LMT) Missiles and Fire Control division arrived in my inbox:
SUBJECT: A Correction Of Your Patriot Story Is Required

Justin:

We have been in contact with the U.S. Army Aviation & Missile Command Lower Tier Project Office, who is responsible for the Patriot missile program, and have received confirmation that absolutely no part or component produced by Unicor is being or has ever been used in the PAC-3 Missile, of which Lockheed Martin is the prime contractor.

The U.S. Army Lower Tier Project Office has made an official, written request of Unicor to remove all references to the PAC-3 Missile from its Web site as soon as possible.

We respectfully request that a correction to your story be made immediately that clearly states that no component or part from Unicor has been or is being used in the production or repair of the PAC-3 Missiles, and that you expunge all references in the story to Lockheed Martin and the PAC-3 Missile.

Clearly, the story as written is completely inaccurate when it comes to Lockheed Martin and the PAC-3 Missile, and the comments made by those you interviewed in your story that specifically mention PAC-3 and Lockheed Martin are also inaccurate as a result of being predicated upon incorrect assumptions.

I am more than happy to discuss this matter should you wish to speak in person.

Craig Vanbebber
Senior Manager – Media Relations
Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control
972-XXX-XXXX (office)
214-XXX-XXXX (cell)

Well, color me confused. If Unicor is printing untruths based on “incorrect assumptions,” then someone has some explaining to do:

unicor 3

Please click here to see the Unicor Electronics Video.  Hear the claims for this government work–right from the horse’s mouth. 
Further, Unicor’s own marketing materials exude a considerable amount of pride in the fact that they have been such an integral part of the PAC-3 program:
unicor guided missile

(Click HERE to access this section of Unicor’s website for their video presentation.)

If you can’t quite make out what it says, or if it is taken down from their web site (we have it on file), here are the relevant sections:

“UNICOR/FPI has successfully implemented surged production to supply electronics and electrical components for Patriot Advanced Capability (PAC-3) missile propulsion, guidance and targeting systems.”

It goes on to explain:

“We assemble and distribute the Intermediate Frequency Processor (IFP) for the PAC-3 seeker. The IFP receives and filters radio-frequency signals that guide the missile toward its target.”

Unicor also proudly points out:

“The Patriot Advanced Control (PAC-3) missile is launched from canisters, many of which have UNICOR/FPI-manufactured cable assemblies linking the ignition and control systems.”

And then, well… there’s this video about Unicor’s Electronics

Oh, and this:

unicor 4

This information is, and has been, publicly available for a number years, hiding in plain sight. Could it possibly be that Lockheed Martin, one of the most advanced and capable defense contractors simply never happened to notice that the DoD, the Army, the Bureau of Prisons, and the Department of Justice had intentionally disseminated completely erroneous information for all to see?

I spoke with Lockheed’s Vanbebber and inquired as to how the multiple US government agencies with a hand in Unicor’s operations could possibly employ such a sloppy vetting process.

“I can’t speculate as to why or how that information got in there,” Vanbebber said. “I just don’t know. You know, when you’re dealing with the government, everything goes through such an extensive approval process, but, well, the information you’ve got is just wrong. I really couldn’t tell you how this happened to slip through the cracks.”

Sounds like the Department of Justice needs to fire its proofreader.

*As of this writing, Unicor has removed any information regarding federal inmates’ role in the PAC-3 missile program

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This article is written by Justin Rohrlich and is published at http://www.minyanville.com/businessmarkets/articles/defense-federal-budget-defense-industrial-base/3/9/2011/id/33261?refresh=1

Minyanville

 

 

Will Your Job Be Reshored To A Federal Prisoner?

By Justin Rohrlich Mar 12, 2013 1:21 pm

From Minyanville…

“The good news for the jobless? US industry is now in the throes of a “reshoring” trend…

“The bad news? The Bureau of Prisons is angling to have as many reshored jobs as possible filled by federal prisoners.”

Journalist Justin Rohrlich and VLTP Executive Director, Bob Sloan have begun a project to fully expose the “new” face of prison industries and exploitation of prisoners, America’s workers and “genuine” small businesses.

images (7)

   PI workers, folsom state prison Oregon Prison Ind. Photo Inmate-Labor

 

This article presents the dilemma of a President and part of his administration working to put Americans back to work, while another part of that same administration is actively working to remove jobs from those who still have them, and put them in prison – the jobs, that is.

Unfortunately we are not describing the plot in a Grisham novel…or providing readers with a Roddenberry style “America in 2525” sci-fi mini-series…no, what is occurring now – right now in America – is a push by manufacturers and service providers for a workforce that can be made to work for pennies on the dollar, has no collective bargaining rights by law, is prohibited from unionization and requires no health or medical insurance, no paid vacations, has no representation in government and most importantly, the rest of working America has no sympathy for.  This workforce consists of the more than 2 million men and women incarcerated in state and federal prisons.

Unbelievably it is our Congress and a Federal Prison Industries board appointed by the President who recently opened up federal prison facilities and the labor of prisoners to well connected business owners.  Production lines will be assembled, prisoners assigned to work in newly built factories constructed by a private corporation wholly owned by the United States government.

We’re told by our Lawmakers and government officials that the purpose of these factories is for training of the incarcerated to make them better Americans, give them skills so they can leave prison and secure employment that lessens their desire to return to prison.  We’ll also be assured that these prisoners are not really taking jobs from our communities…the products they make will only represent a tiny segment of any consumer market.  Problem is we heard all this before thirty years ago when there were fewer than 5,000 prisoners working in less than 100 factories across the U.S.

Today there are more than 1,000 factories – and according to Professor Noah Zatz – between 600,000 and 1 million prisoners toiling away inside, making the goods we consumers purchase.  Yes, this is an entirely new era and in the future, this will be remembered as a sad benchmark in our history…when our government swung open the squeaking doors to America’s federal prisons and welcomed the corporate elite to march in and take over this slave-labor operation so each could enrich themselves even further…

…America’s workers…union leaders…don’t ever say you weren’t warned, and this could be the last opportunity you have to stop this exploitation and theft of YOUR jobs.  Please awaken to this danger, join the fight and help us save ourselves and our jobs.

Read the full Rohrlich/Minyanville article here