Over the past two days, President-elect Donald Trump has put together a national security team that will move US foreign policy far to the right. The most shocking appointment, announced Thursday, was retired Army General Michael Flynn, a fanatical opponent of radical Islam, as his national security adviser. On Friday, Trump named Kansas GOP Representative Mike Pompeo to run the CIA. Pompeo is a member of the House Intelligence Committee who strongly opposed the Iran nuclear deal as well as the post-Snowden “reforms” of US intelligence.
But so far, little attention has been paid to a retired Army lieutenant general, Joseph “Keith” Kellogg, one of Trump’s closest military and foreign-policy advisers. Kellogg is a former contracting executive who is considered a front-runner for a senior position at the Pentagon. He has been among the small group of advisers seen entering and leaving Trump Tower this week.
Kellogg played a critical role in the disastrous US occupation of Iraq as the director of operations of the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), which ran the country after the 2003 invasion. Since leaving the military, he has been deeply involved in the high-tech, computer-driven style of warfare that has spawned the enormous business complex of contractors and suppliers that ring Washington, DC, from the CIA to the National Security Agency.
And with Flynn, the former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, now in charge of Trump’s national security team, Kellogg is in a prime spot to select the officials to run Trump’s military policies. In that position, Kellogg brings 20 years of experience as an executive for some of the nation’s largest and most notorious military contractors.
Until recently, Kellogg worked as vice president of strategic initiatives for Cubic Corp., which provides ground combat training and other technical support to the Pentagon. Before that, Kellogg was the president of Abraxas, a highly secretive subsidiary of Cubic that was founded by retired CIA operatives.
In 2012, Abraxas was the subject of intense media scrutiny for developing a powerful surveillance tool called TrapWire. According to cables released by WikiLeaks and analyzed by The New York Times, the software could analyze “images from surveillance cameras and other data to try to identify terrorists planning attacks.”
From 2005 to 2009, Kellogg was a top executive with CACI International, one of the companies that supplied interrogators who abused and tortured Iraqi prisoners at the US military prison at Abu Ghraib.