1 defense contractor exec = hundreds of workers, analysis shows


The average compensation package of the chief executive officer for one of the top five Pentagon contractors is roughly $21.5 million, according to an analysis by the Project on Government Oversight.

Ben Freeman, an investigator for the government watchdog group, looked at the compensation packages of CEOs at Lockheed Martin, Boeing, General Dynamics, Northrup Grumman, and Raytheon reported in the firms’ Securities and Exchange Commission filings.

The Defense Department — and therefore, taxpayers — pay for part of contractors’ executive compensation, which is billed as part of the indirect overhead rates on contracts. Some lawmakers are pushing measures to reduce how much contractors can receive for executive compensation.

(To be clear, the highest paid defense contractor wasn’t among the five in POGO’s analysis, Freeman said.  David Cote, the CEO of Honeywell, received a $35.7 million compensation package last year, according to an Associated Press study.)

But the $21. 5 million in average executive compensation among the top defense contractor is still enough to pay for:

— the salaries of 475 American workers. “The average worker in the U.S. earned $45,230 last year,” Freeman said in his blog post. “These CEO’s were paid more in an average day than the average American worker was paid all of last year.”

— the salaries of 335 soldiers. “According to a 2011 Congressional Budget Office analysis, the median compensation (including basic pay, allowances for food and housing, and tax advantages) for enlisted U.S. military personnel with ten years of experience was about $64,000. ”

— the salaries of 268 defense and aerospace industry workers. “According to a Deloitte study, the average wage (just salary, not benefits) for the entire aerospace and defense industry in 2010 was $80,175.”


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  1. So….tell me again how it is that Civil Service employees are OVERPAID? In light of these facts it doesn’t appear to be the case!!

  2. Jenyfer, don’t know what you read, but only the CEO’s are severely overpaid and by a law, should be cut back. There is no reason that 1 person managing a company is worth over $20 million. It said if you read it, that ” “The average worker in the U.S. earned $45,230 last year,”, that would be equivalent to a secretary GS-7, so again, when the average federal salary+benefits is around $100,000, I’d say you didn’t read the article right!

  3. I’m sure if they check lower down the rung they will find many more paid far more than goverment workers… But even if that is not the case the fact that should be an expense that comes out of gross profit not billed at taxpayer expense…

  4. Who on earth gave the data for this study? Contractors make way more than federal employees. AND usually the contractors are RETIRED DoD employees….

  5. Haley, what you say is probably 99% true and I wish they would do something about this. They kill the civil servant from “double dipping”, yet allow DOD retirees (after 20 yrs work, which usually makes them about 40yrs old) from getting high paid jobs BECAUSE DOD vetted them with a top secret clearance, so, we pay for these people for another 40+ years of their retirement which by the way is VERY good these days for the military, AND they suck us dry for getting a contractor job. The times have changed and it’s time the tax payer quit being sucked dry from those who leech from the government..just my opinion of course

  6. Cut the freaking high contracts!!! Fire the mummies that work for the government, one mummy (over 70) making $150,000 is ridiculous, tell me wheres the productivity?

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