“He’s coming for all of us,” said the serious voice on the other end of a late-afternoon call.
That was the assessment of one lobbyist when asked about the scariest thing to the defense sector since sequestration: Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) Chairman Sen. John McCain.
“He’s going to be a problem. There’s no doubt about it,” said the defense lobbyist, who has ties to GOP members. “He’s going to shoot from the hip. He’s going to be thinking, ‘who can I investigate, who can I hurt?’
“I think McCain as chairman will be good for a few [defense] companies, but for the vast majority, it’s not going to be positive,” the lobbyist said, requesting anonymity to speak candidly. “Most chairmen these days are friends of the industries in their jurisdiction. John McCain is not a friend of the defense industry.”
That feeling is shared by other industry insiders and analysts.
“Sen. McCain has been the chamber’s most persistent critic of cost overruns and schedule delays on weapons programs,” said Loren Thompson of the Lexington Institute, who also advises major arms manufacturers.
Guggenheim Securities, a consulting firm, in a note last week said the Arizona Republican “has a well-earned reputation has being a critic of a litany of Pentagon acquisition programs.”