No Major U.S. Defense Sector CEO to Attend White House Meeting

The exterior view of New York Stock Exchange building in New York City. (Photo by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images)

President Obama will meet with the bosses of over a dozen of the largest American corporations later this afternoon (Nov. 28) at the White House. But there will be no CEO of a major U.S. weapons manufacturer in the room.

Among the topics Obama and the 14 CEOs will reportedly discuss is the uncertainty the American business sector is experiencing due to the threat of the so-called fiscal cliff, which includes $500 billion in across-the-board defense cuts that are set to take effect Jan. 2.

Many executives backed Obama’s 2012 opponent, Mitt Romney, meaning the high-level meeting is an attempt by both sides to at least seem like they’re in the bridge-mending business as U.S. global markets are showing signs of unease amid the fiscal cliff hysteria.

But Obama today will not hear a plea about what those Pentagon cuts would mean for the U.S. industrial base. Defense executives, Pentagon officials and hawkish lawmakers have warned the 10-year cuts to planned Pentagon spending could mean large weapon manufacturers — and more likely, key suppliers of high-tech components — could be forced to stop making some things that the military needs.

This is not to say the U.S. defense sector will be totally unrepresented in the White House meeting. The CEOs of Deloitte, Caterpillar and AT&T are slated to attend.

Deloitte is a member of the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) and the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA). Caterpillar and AT&T are members of NDIA, as well.

Below is a list (alphabetical, by CEO’s last name) of those business executives set to meet with Obama:

Frank Blake, Chairman and CEO of Home Depot
Lloyd Blankfein, Chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs
Joe Echeverria, CEO of Deloitte
Ken Frazier, President and CEO of Merck and Co.
Muhtar Kent, Chairman and CEO of Coca Cola
Terry Lundgren, Chairman, President, and CEO of Macy’s Inc.
Marissa Mayer, CEO and President of Yahoo!
Douglas Oberhelman, Chairman and CEO of Caterpillar
Ian Read, Chairman and CEO of Pfizer
Brian Roberts, Chairman and CEO of Comcast
Ed Rust, Chairman and CEO of State Farm Insurance Co.
Arne Sorenson, President and CEO of Marriott
Randall Stephenson, Chairman and CEO of AT&T
Patricia Woertz, President and CEO of Archer Daniels Midland

John T. Bennett

John T. Bennett

Bennett is the Editor of Defense News' CongressWatch channel. He has a Masters degree in Global Security Studies from Johns Hopkins University.
John T. Bennett