Joint Chiefs chairman lightly jabs change-resistant defense firms

The comments likely will not be received well in the board rooms of arms manufacturers, who have spent much of the Obama administration years looking for clues that the White House wants to hit their profits with Pentagon budget cuts.

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For instance, a shipbuilder builds war ships while other companies produce different systems, “But never shall the two meet,” Dempsey said, noting the industrial base needs to evolve away from producing systems that just do one basic function.

In the future, he said, “We might need something ... to be a Swiss Army knife and not a stiletto.”