On Monday, March 7, the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security hosted a private breakfast on “The Regulation of M&A Among US Defense Companies” as part of the Atlantic Council’s Corporate Strategy Forum. The discussion featured Chris Griner, partner and Chair of the National Security/CFIUS/Compliance Group at the law firm Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP; William Kovacic, Global Competition Professor of Law and Policy at the George Washington University Law School and a former Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission; and James Hasik, Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council and editor of The Defense Industrialist.

The event gathered two dozen Council members, directors, business executives, and government officials to contribute to the conversation. Moderated by the Council’s MA and George Lund Fellow Steven Grundman, the participants discussed the 2015 mergers and acquisitions in the aerospace and defense sector that set a record-high value of nearly $60 billion closed or announced and a record-high number of over 350 transactions. In particular, Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics Frank Kendall’s comments following Lockheed Martin’s purchase of Sikorsky Aircraft – namely, that he would seek legislative authority to impose a “public interest” or “national security” addendum on the reach of ordinary antitrust law into mergers among large defense contractors – prompted an expansive conversation on precedents set by historical defense mergers and acquisitions, the utility and limitations of US anti-trust law, and how the Department of Defense might approach merger and acquisition challenges in the future.

The Corporate Strategy Forum convenes chief strategists of transatlantic companies in aerospace, defense, security, and government services for a private roundtable discussion about issues confronting the long-term health of these industries.