This analysis of Eisenhower's farewell address and its core concept, “the military-industrial complex,” explores the contribution of its major authors and editors, including Milton Eisenhower, and the changes in the text due to its transformation from a State of the Union speech into a television address. It situates this final act of Eisenhower's rhetorical presidency in paradoxical conjunction with a hawkish strand of contemporary conservatism. Media coverage of this conservative insurgency influenced the interpretation of the military-industrial complex producing a definition closer to the permanent war economy, discussed by C. Wright Mills, instead of the nuanced concept intended by the speech's creators.