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Naval Ops Chief Calls Out Defense Industry ‘Lobbying’

Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Michael Gilday recently called out defense companies for what he considers counterproductive behavior, urging them to focus more on new weapons and technologies that the navy needs in competing with rival nations, such as Russia and China.

Adm. Gilday commented on Monday when he spoke during a panel discussion at the Navy League’s annual Sea-Air-Space conference in National Harbor, Maryland.

‘Lobbying’ Congress

Gilday expressed his disapproval of defense companies lobbying Congress to purchase equipment that the forces do not really need.

He said that while this might be in the industry’s best financial interest, it’s not helpful that companies are “building the ships that [they] want to build, lagging on repairs to ships and submarines, lobbying Congress to buy aircraft that [it doesn’t] need, that are excess to needs.” Gilday expressed this sentiment against the backdrop of what he called a “budget-constrained environment.”

Gilday asserted that this trend of lobbying and slow-moving bureaucracy needs to change, as what is at stake here is “the prosperity of this country, the economic security of this country, the national security of this country.”

Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger shared a similar viewpoint.

“If we approach Congress together sometimes to try … to break down the bureaucratic rules that slow us down, [then] we’d make some progress,” he said. “Sometimes we come at them individually from different perspectives, but I think there’s ground to plow there if we were to talk to them collaboratively about what is actually slowing us down.”

Similarly, Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Karl Schultz stated that communication with defense companies is key to resolving these concerns. He said that what is needed is “transparent exchange about ideas, what can industry offer, how can we bring that into our wheelhouse,” as well as steps on how to come up with solutions.

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