While speaking at a hearing this past Thursday, Senator John McCain and Elizabeth Warren launched an investigation into John Rood, the head of international sales at Lockheed Martin and President Trump’s number one pick for the Pentagon’s number three job, in order to assess if he would be capable of removing himself from business ties if appointed as Under Secretary of Defense for Policy. And his answers to McCain’s and Warren’s questions were unclear.
“Mr. Rood, I suggest you answer the question, or you’re going to have trouble getting through this committee,” claimed McCain, the Senate Armed Services chairman. Leaving McCain to demand that Rood instead submit his response in writing “because obviously you are ducking the answer here.”
Lockheed Martin, is currently the world’s largest defense contractor, and does business in over 70 countries, it has also enjoyed a very profitable relationship with the Pentagon over the past few decades. A relationship which has grown under Trump’s administration. In August, the company obtained an $8 billion Special Forces contract and a $499 million contract for aerospace technology research
McCain has publicly warned Donald Trump to stop his nominations of defense industry executives unless he intends to deepen the problems in the Pentagon.
However, Rood isn’t Trump’s first defense nominee to be an arms industry executive. On Wednesday, the Senate confirmed Trump’s had put his support behind Army secretary, Mark Esper, a former defense executive and lobbyist for industry giant Raytheon. Unlike Rood, Esper claimed he’d remove himself from all other business matters, a statement that gained him McCain’s support.
“His record of service in the Army, in the Pentagon, and on Capitol Hill provides the foundation for the leadership our soldiers deserve,” McCain said in a speech following his nomination.