Top Pentagon official voices concern for U.S. defense industry consolidation as hindrance to competition

Feb. 24, 2021
L3 Technologies has merged with Harris, United Technologies bought Rockwell Collins and then merged with Raytheon, and Northrop acquired Orbital ATK.

WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden’s nominee to serve as the Pentagon No. 2 civilian said she is concerned by the consolidation of America’s weapons makers and suppliers, signaling that the Biden administration could increase U.S. government scrutiny over the merger and acquisition of major defense firms. American Military News reports. Continue reading original article

The Military & Aerospace Electronics take:

24 Feb. 2021 -- The concern was expressed by Kathleen Hicks during her Senate confirmation hearing earlier this month. Eliminating competition could lead to higher-priced weapons and stymie innovation, she said.

Hicks’ comments come amid a federal regulatory review of Lockheed Martin’s planned $4.4 billion acquisition of rocket-maker Aerojet Rocketdyne. While Hicks did not mention that deal, as deputy defense secretary she would play a key role in determining the Pentagon’s official opinion of the merger, which is ultimately approved by the Federal Trade Commission and Justice Department.

Lockheed’s acquisition comes three years after rival Northrop Grumman acquired rocket maker Orbital ATK. If the defense industry deal is approved, Northrop and Lockheed would be the only two makers of solid rocket motors used in intercontinental ballistic missiles and missile interceptors. Boeing said Northrop’s acquisition of Orbital ATK prevented it from placing a bid in an $85 billion contest to build new ICBMs. That left Northrop as the only bidder and eventual winner.

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John Keller, chief editor
Military & Aerospace Electronics

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