Gates Meets With, Reassures Defense Execs

080929-D-7203C-005Defense Secretary Robert Gates met with top executives from major defense contracting firms to reiterate the importance of fulfilling contracts on time and on budget, while assuring the relationship between the federal government and defense contractors will continue to be mutually beneficial moving forward.

In attendance were leaders from major companies Northrup Grumman, Lockheed Martin and BAE, along with General Dynamics, Raytheon, L-3 Communications, Harris Corporation and Boeing.

According to Reuters, Geoff Morrell, the Pentagon press secretary, quoted Gates as telling the executives that he would desire to see “steady, consistent growth in defense budgets.”

The meeting came on the heels of the announcement that Gates would serve at least one more year as President Obama’s Secretary of Defense.  Gates is the only holdover from former-President George W. Bush’s cabinet.

“That’s the best for us. It’s best for them, so that there’s predictability and one can plan going forward,” Morrell said. “The booms and busts that we’ve experienced over the decades help neither of us frankly.  Our partnership is critical to national security.”

The meeting also included Deputy Defense Secretary William Lynn, Pentagon Acquisition Chief Ashton Carter and the Aerospace Industries Association, trade group for U.S. aerospace companies.

Another major point addressed by Gates in the meeting was the reform of rules surrounding the export of items with potential military implications.

“He is among those who (have) championed efforts by the administration to reform the way we’ve historically done business in this arena,” Morrell said.

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