July 6, 2021
Federal Trade Commission
Attn: Lina Khan, Chair
600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20580
Dear Chair Khan,
Earlier this year, the Centrist Democrats of America launched an antitrust initiative, with the mission of shining a light on antitrust violations and the consequences monopolies have on U.S. competition and taxpayer dollars and national security.
One issue of significant importance is the proposed acquisition of Aerojet Rocketdyne by Lockheed Martin. Currently, this merger is still under review; however, given that not too long ago, the FTC opened an investigation into allegations of trade practices in violation of a consent decree subsequent to a similar acquisition, we question why the agency would consider approving this acquisition prior to that investigation being finalized.
In 2018, Northrop Grumman acquired Orbital ATK, which left Aerojet Rocketdyne the last independent solid rocket motor provider in the country. Directly following the Orbital ATK acquisition, Northrop won the $80 billion Ground- Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD) program. Boeing, the program’s incumbent, was not able to compete, thus no competing programs were considered. This resulted in an $80 billion project being awarded in an entirely uncontested
fashion, reducing the incentive to provide the American taxpayer with the best deal for a good price.
As a result of Boeing seemingly being shut out of the competition, the FTC opened an investigation to determine if Northrop, “acted in restraint of trade and violated an order requiring the company to sell its solid motor rocket engine on “a non-discriminatory basis to all competitors for missile contracts.” The sun has not set on this investigation; it was opened in October 2019 and is still active.
With this investigation still ongoing, we kindly ask you to hold off on any decision on the potential acquisition of Aerojet Rocketdyne by Lockheed Martin. After all, if this type of anti-competitive behavior is going to become common place among defense contractors, then allowing Lockheed Martin this type of industry dominance, poses are serious risk to the notion of competitiveness especially in critical missile and rocket technologies.
Thank you for your consideration.
Centrist Democrats of America