WASHINGTON -- President-elect Donald Trump has put forth the idea of banning the defense industry from hiring former Pentagon contracting officials, just days after creating a stir in the defense industry by saying Boeing's contract for an Air Force One replacement should be cancelled.
According to a Reuters news service report, Trump told a rally in Baton Rouge, Louisiana that "I think anybody that gives out these big contracts should never ever, during their lifetime, be allowed to work for a defense company, for a company that makes that product."
He added he would "check this out" before making any final decisions, but went on to slam the F-35 joint strike fighter program as "totally, totally, like, uncontrollably over budget."
If such a ban were put forth, it could create a major roadblock for the Pentagon to attract acquisition talent, as many people may choose not to go into that career field and be unable to enter industry at a latter date.
The speech comes just three days after Trump sent shockwaves through the defense sector with his comments that Boeing's contract to Air Force One should be cancelled.
It also comes a day after Northrop Grumman announced that retired Air Force Chief of Staff Mark Welsh would be joining its board of directors. Welsh led the Air Force when it selected Northrop's design for the B-21 bomber over competition from Boeing and Lockheed Martin, and his selection to the board just a year later triggered concerned statements from good government organizations like the Project on Government Oversight.
Notably, Trump's transition team for the Pentagon contains a number of defense industry veterans and lobbyists. The defense industry is also expecting to see a boost from the Trump administration, which has promised to plus-up defense budgets.
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.