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Chertoff boasts, “Among the six of us we pretty much have all of those things in DHS, in DOD, and the Department of Justice, law enforcement, and finally, in the intelligence community. So we have pretty much every element of homeland security covered.”

Former Bush Security Chiefs Find Terrorism Obsession Can Be Profitable

Tom Barry | August 25, 2009

Americas Program, Center for International Policy (CIP)

Contracts with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) are spewing billions of dollars into private industry, largely to companies that also rely on Pentagon military contracts. In this new variation of the military-industrial complex a new revolving door is now in full swing.

Tom Ridge and Michael Chertoff, the two Republican stalwarts who served as the first two Department of Homeland Security secretaries, are now busy attracting defense, homeland security, and intelligence contracts in the country’s rapidly expanding high-tech security complex.

Tom Ridge, former Pennsylvania governor who was appointed by President Bush to direct the newly created DHS, has parlayed his government service into a lucrative career in business since he stepped down as DHS chief in November 2004. Soon after leaving DHS, Tom Ridge became president and CEO of Ridge Global, a global strategic consulting firm. He also has joined numerous corporate boards and advisory groups, including major military and homeland security contractors. (See Box: Ridge’s Post-DHS Security Businesses).

Chertoff Group Covers Homeland Security

Michael Chertoff, former secretary of the DHS, has taken his portfolio over to the private sector. Homeland security is business—an estimated $200 billion in annual revenues—and the newly formed Chertoff Group is seeking a major stake in this booming industry.

As the latest homeland security consulting firm, Chertoff Group will be competing with two other security companies formed by top Republican Party figures: Ashcroft Group founded by former Attorney General John Ashcroft; and Guiliani Group, formed by former New York City mayor and presidential candidate Rudolf Guiliani. Although not specifically focused on homeland security, Ridge Global, formed by the first DHS secretary Tom Ridge, also has a piece of the expanding global security industry.

Chertoff Group describes itself as “a security and risk management advisory firm that counsels corporate and government clients addressing threats related to terrorism, fraud, cyber security, border protection, and supply chain security.”

The Chertoff Group has a leg up on its competitors. The revolving door between government and industry has brought a half-dozen former high government officials of the Bush administration into the Chertoff Group.

Not only does it count on the political and business connections of Chertoff, the new firm has a roster of five other former government officials that can translate government experience and inside information into lucrative industry contracts.

Chertoff boasts, “Among the six of us we pretty much have all of those things in DHS, in DOD, and the Department of Justice, law enforcement, and finally, in the intelligence community. So we have pretty much every element of homeland security covered.”