WASHINGTON — A much-hyped appearance at the Farnborough International Airshow won’t be happening after all.
Peter Navarro, the director of the White House National Trade Council and a key economic advisor, had been scheduled to appear as part of a Washington delegation at Farnborough.
However, a source with knowledge of the situation said a scheduling conflict means the White House delegation, including Navarro, will no longer be able to make it.
The Trump administration has zeroed in on the economic benefits of arms sales abroad as a plus for American industry and workers, with its National Security Strategy, released last December, laying out the belief that “economic security is national security.”
In his role, Navarro was a prime driver of the new defense trade policy release in May, which was directly aimed at increasing the number of weapon sales abroad.
““For too long we have hamstrung ourselves and limited our ability to provide our allies and partners with the defensive capabilities they require, even when in the U.S.,” Navarro said during the rollout.
His presence at the show was intended to send a strong signal that America is serious about remaining the premiere weapon exporter in the world.
Navarro’s exit adds to the deflation of what was shaping up to be a historic American presence at the show. Ellen Lord, the Pentagon’s undersecretary of acquisition and sustainment, was also forced to drop out of the show due to scheduling conflicts.
Still, a large number of U.S. officials, including Defense Security Cooperation Agency head Lt. Gen. Charles Hooper and Acting Assistant Secretary for Political-Military Affairs Tina Kaidnow, who both had a hand in crafting the new defense trade policies, will be in attendance.
Aaron Mehta was deputy editor and senior Pentagon correspondent for Defense News, covering policy, strategy and acquisition at the highest levels of the Defense Department and its international partners.