As the Pentagon, White House, and Congress continue to look for cuts in the defense budget, Washington lobbyists are stomping the halls of Congress to protect some of the defense industry’s most troubled and vulnerable programs.
In a paywalled article entitled “Lobbyists Cling To Obama Defense Budget As Congress Looks To Cut,” Roxana Tiron from Bloomberg Government reports that defense contractor lobbyists are fighting to preserve several programs that the Pentagon wants to cut, including:
- The Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS, managed by Meads International LLC, a joint venture of Lockheed, Lfk-Lenkflugkorpersysteme Gmbh of Germany, and MBDA of Italy—which is owned by BAE Systems; European Aeronautic, Defence and Space Co (EADS); and Finmeccanica)
- $1.4 billion worth of upgrades to M1 Abrams tanks (that would be performed by General Dynamics and would involve “at least 200 of its suppliers”)
- The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter alternate engine (currently being developed by General Electric and Rolls Royce)
Lobbyists are also seeking to change Pentagon procurement strategies.
Humvee manufacturer AM General LLC, Tiron writes, is wary of competition for underbody armor and other technology for Army Humvees from Oshkosh Corp. and BAE Systems Plc—and has hired former New Jersey Republican Congressman Jim Saxton to help. The House’s version of the National Defense Authorization Act supported AM General’s vehicle underbody armor technology.
Meanwhile, Tiron reports, Lockheed Martin lobbyists are focusing on making sure Congress doesn’t curtail production levels of the Joint Strike Fighter—for which Lockheed is the prime contractor.