When Shuttling Between the Public and Private Sectors Actually Helped Cut Defense Spending

A Pentagon official uses his knowledge of how defense contractors work to keep costs down.

A Pentagon official uses his knowledge of how defense contractors work to keep costs down.

“Some of the nation’s leading defense companies are declaring war on a powerful enemy — an obscure Pentagon official named Shay Assad who has helped cut more than $500 million from military contracts with his aggressive scrutiny of their costs,” writes Ellen Mitchell at Politico magazine. “The industry’s tactics include blanketing congressional committees with proposals that would make it harder for Assad and his contracting officers to get detailed breakdowns of the companies’ expenses.” But Assad (no relation to the Bashar of the same name!) is undaunted: He knows contracts. Assad spent much of his career at Raytheon contractor where, before he became Chief Operating Officer of its engineering and construction business, was the Senior Vice President, Contracts. “As such,” according to his biography, “ he was responsible for the contract negotiation and administration activities ($20 Billion) in all of Raytheon’s businesses – both government and commercial.

Assad told Ms. Mitchell:

“It’s just not true that we are negotiating profit rates that are lower than what we had been doing in the past. … I know, because I was on the other side of the table. I’m very aware of what industry and major corporations were negotiating for profit rates versus what we presently do.”

Obviously, it depends on the integrity of the individual. But there are instances when corporate executives can succeed in government positions.