Mattis meets with defense industry groups

By Tony Bertuca / April 13, 2017 at 4:30 PM

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis met with three major defense industry associations and executives Thursday to discuss issues ranging from weapons system acquisition to the Pentagon budget, according to a joint statement from the groups.

Mattis met with CEOs from the Aerospace Industries Association, the National Defense Industrial Association and the Professional Services Council at AIA's Rosslyn, VA, office. It is Mattis' first such meeting since becoming defense secretary.

Some of the top defense industry CEOs and executives who attended the meeting include: Marillyn Hewson of Lockheed Martin, Dennis Muilenburg of Boeing, Jerry DeMuro of  BAE Systems, Phebe Novakovic of General Dynamics, Wes Bush of Northrop Grumman, Ton Kennedy of Raytheon, Mike Petters of Huntington Ingalls Industries, Jill Kale of Cobham, Scott Donnelly of Textron, Bob Leduc of UTC-Pratt and Whitney, Bill Brown of Harris Corporation, Brad Feldmann of Cubic Corporation, Karl Hutter of Click Bond, Inc, Andy Hove of AM General and Horacio Rozanski of Booz Allen Hamilton, according to a list of attendees obtained by Inside Defense.

Along with Mattis, senior defense officials in attendance included: James MacStravic, the acting under secretary for acquisition, technology and logistics, and Vice Adm. Joe Rixey, chief of the Defense Security Cooperation Agency.

Other officials from the Office of the Secretary of Defense at the meeting were: Brennan Grignon, Col. Robert Mikesh, Sally Donnelly, Justin Mikolay and Holly Haverstick.

“It’s important for industry and government to have a regular dialogue that is open and frank,” AIA President and CEO David Melcher said in the statement.

“The growing and changing threats facing our nation require a holistic approach, the right combination of robust, balanced and stable funding, as well as regulatory reform that speeds development and encourages new technology and capabilities,” he continued.

David Berteau, president and CEO of PSC, said regular exchanges between senior Pentagon leadership and industry were essential to implementing “high-tech solutions to enhance our capabilities” and to address the military’s readiness gaps.

Craig McKinley, the president and CEO of NDIA, said the meeting emphasized the continued need for strong international partnerships.

“Strong international partnerships are of particular interest to our industry and are critical to our nation’s ability to project our values in a complex world order,” he said. “A strategic approach to security cooperation objectives with our close friends and allies will yield enormous benefits as we collaborate to achieve our mutual security goals.”

The meeting is part of a series of dialogues with defense industry representatives that began with former Defense Secretary Bob Gates.

Most recently, the industry groups have been pushing for changes to the Defense Contract Audit Agency, which James Thomas, assistant vice president for policy at NDIA, said last week "has lost focus of their purpose.”

In written testimony for a House Armed Services Committee hearing, Thomas said the DCAA “has become much more closely tied with the inspector general function than needed or desired to fulfill their statutory oversight role.”