Raytheon hires Bush administration arms official

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - John Rood, a top State Department arms-control official under former President George W. Bush, has joined Raytheon Co RTN.N, the world's biggest missile maker, as a vice president for business development.

John Rood gestures during a news conference after talks between U.S. and Russian diplomats in Budapest February 21,2008. REUTERS/Laszlo Balogh

Rood was acting undersecretary of state for arms control and international security from September 2007 until Bush left office in January. He started work at Raytheon this week, said Anne Marie Squeo, a spokeswoman for the Pentagon’s sixth-biggest supplier.

On the other end of what critics call a revolving door between government and big business, Raytheon employed until last month William Lynn, who became President Barack Obama’s deputy secretary of defense after serving as the company’s top lobbyist to the Pentagon.

Rood, in his last government job, was the State Department’s point man for curbing the spread of the deadliest weapons as well as for arms control, U.S. weapons transfers, regional security and security assistance.

“This is yet another unfortunate, but not surprising, example of the revolving door syndrome,” said Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association, a nonpartisan, independent research and policy group in Washington.

In response, Squeo said the company’s responsibility to its customers, shareholders and other stake-holders was to retain and attract the best talent.

“There are strict post-government employment rules the company adheres to,” she said in an email. “We value Mr. Rood’s extensive experience and welcome him to the Raytheon team.”

Rood played a leading role in Bush administration efforts to put 10 two-stage interceptors in Poland and a related radar system in the Czech Republic as part of an expanded antiballistic missile shield. Washington said the shield was designed primarily to protect against missiles that could be fired by North Korea and Iran.

Raytheon, based in Waltham, Massachusetts, provides the missiles’ intercept component, or exoatmospheric kill vehicle, and many of the sensors that feed into the layered shield, including X-Band radar and early warning radars.

It also manufactures the Standard Missile-3 used in sea-based missile defense. Raytheon received $12.1 billion in prime Pentagon contracts in fiscal 2008.

Reporting by Jim Wolf