September 15, 2023

Senator Warren, Representatives Garamendi, Pocan Raise Concerns, Call for Increased Oversight, Transparency from DoD Following the L3Harris-Aerojet Merger

“It is inconceivable to us that DoD would not install any legally enforceable safeguards to protect national security from the risks of this merger.”

Text of Letter (PDF)

Washington, D.C.  – United States Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee Subcommittee on Personnel, and Representatives John Garamendi (D-Calif.), Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee, and Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), a member of the House Appropriations committee, sent a follow up letter to the Department of Defense (DoD) raising concerns about the approval of the of the L3Harris-Aerojet merger, asking DoD about enforcement and oversight mechanisms to maintain competition, and reiterating the need for transparency as DoD assesses the national security risks of proposed mergers and acquisitions. The letter comes after the announcement that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) would not block the merger.

Late last year, L3Harris Technologies announced that it would acquire Aerojet Rocketdyne, the last remaining independent U.S. supplier of missile propulsion systems. The FTC approved the merger in July, despite a previous DoD report that warned that “consolidations that reduce required capability and capacity and the depth of competition would have serious consequences for national security” and called for closer scrutiny of additional mergers. 

“Following the reports that the merger has been allowed to proceed, it is imperative that the public be informed about potential conditions of the deal, what enforcement and oversight mechanisms exist to enforce promises made by L3Harris about the deal, and what information the DoD provided to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regarding the deal.,” wrote the lawmakers.

In July, Senator Warren and Representatives Garamendi, Pocan, and Chris DeLuzio sent a letter to DoD, urging the agency to scrutinize the potential transaction and others like it. The letter also highlighted the opaque role DoD plays in the merger review and approval process with FTC and DOJ, and called for DoD to publicly disclose its concerns with the proposed merger. DoD’s response lacked information and did not address congressional concerns, committing only to “work closely with the FTC on all merger and acquisition transactions in the Department’s purview.”

“We are also troubled by DoD’s lack of transparency about this decision, and the Department’s refusal to share with Congress or the public the information the Department relied on for its assessment of the deal and what it shared with the FTC, or any information about the national security risks from this merger, and how they will be mitigated post-merger” wrote the lawmakers. “This is unacceptable: this opaque answer and unwillingness to provide further details leaves Congress and the public without the ability to evaluate this decision and its long-term impacts.”

The lawmakers are seeking answers from DoD on the conditions of the deal and pushing for increased transparency of merger decisions no later than September 28, 2023.

  • In January 2023, Senator Warren sent a letter to the FTC urging them to oppose L3Harris Technologies merging with Aerojet Rocketdyne.
  • On March 16, 2022, Senator Warren introduced the Prohibiting Anticompetitive Mergers Act to help stomp out rampant industry consolidation that allows companies to raise consumer prices and mistreat workers. The bill would ban the biggest, most anticompetitive mergers and give the Department of Justice and FTC the teeth to reject deals in the first instance without court orders and to break up harmful mergers.
  • In August 2021, FTC Chair Lina Khan sent a letter to Senator Warren saying she shared her concerns about giant defense industry mergers.
  • In July 2021, Senator Warren questioned the effectiveness of behavioral remedies to protect competition and prevent monopolistic behavior in the defense industry ahead of a proposed merger of Lockheed Martin and Aerojet Rocketdyne.
  • In July 2021, Senator Warren sent a letter to FTC Chair Lina Khan requesting information about the effectiveness of the antitrust agency’s use of behavioral remedies to protect competition and prevent monopolistic behavior in the defense industry.