The Pentagon is pushing back on allegations that acting Defense Secretary Pat Shanahan is somehow tipping the scales toward Boeing, his former employer of more than 30 years.
The allegations that Shanahan "intentionally or not, is putting his finger on the scale when it comes to Pentagon priorities," were reported earlier this week in a Politico story that quotes two unnamed former government officials as saying they heard Shanahan praise Boeing and denigrate rival Lockheed Martin, specifically its F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program.
The Defense Department said Shanahan abides by a robust ethics agreement and staffers have firewalls in place to ensure he never makes any decisions that directly impact Boeing.
Inside Defense talked to a Pentagon official who said Shanahan is frustrated that Lockheed has not driven more cost out of the F-35, but noted he is an equal opportunity critic of all major defense contractors, including Boeing.
"It is clear that he is applying pressure to industry and demands performance," the official said. "Sometimes this town and sometimes the defense industry would rather make a lot of money than actually perform."