US defense firm fined millions for arms control violations

U.S. officials agreed to suspend half of that amount if the company used the money for "remedial compliance measures" as ordered  by the government, according to a department statement issued Wednesday. 

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The statement did not include details as to what kind of compliance measures Raytheon would have to fund as part of its deal. 

State Department officials also did not disclose what countries were involved or any specific details on what types of transactions or violations Raytheon committed to break U.S. rules on weapons export controls. 

"Over the course of many years, Raytheon business units have disclosed to the department hundreds of [International Traffic in Arms Regulations] violations," according to department officials. 

To their credit, department regulators acknowledged Raytheon officials "disclosed nearly all of the [export] violations . . . voluntarily to the Department, acknowledged their serious nature [and] cooperated with Department reviews," according to Wednesday's statement. 

Last year, top officials from American defense firm United Technologies (UTI) and its two subsidiaries, Pratt & Whitney Canada and Hamilton Sundstrand Corp., admitted last year to providing sensitive weapons technologies to China to assist with the country's ongoing weapons development work. 

UTI and their subsidiaries were fined $75 million by the Justice Department after it was found to have violated a number of U.S. export control laws over decades as part of their effort to assist Beijing to build a new attack helicopter. 

Company officials were also required to pay $55 million that year as part of a separate deal reached with the State Department, which oversees international military sales, as part of UTI's deal with the U.S. government. 

That said, Pentagon officials don't see such violations as an growing problem within the U.S. defense industry. 

"It has to be dealt with . . . [but] I do not see a major trend in that direction," Pentagon Press Secretary George Little told reporters on Wednesday, regarding the Raytheon violations. 

But Congress is becoming increasingly concerned that technology from the Pentagon's top-dollar programs is finding its way into the weapon systems of U.S. competitors. 

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) pressed DOD leaders in charge of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program on possible leaks of the next-generation fighter's design to China. 

China's J20 fighter jet features a number of particular design characteristics unique to the F-35, Manchin pointed out during a Senate Armed Services airland subcommittee hearing on the program in late April. 

"If the Chinese government can produce in 22 months competitive aircraft, there had to be piracy or espionage," Manchin said. 

DOD officials agreed it was a mix of both during the hearing. 

"There's no doubt that a large amount of our unclassified data probably made it into those designs in some shape, form or fashion," Air Force Lt. Gen Charles Davis, the top military adviser on Air Force acquisition, said in response. 

F-35 chief Air Force Lt. Gen. Chris Bogdan told Manchin that any classified or unclassified details on the JSF likely came from the industry side of the program. 

"I think over the last few years we have implemented some fairly robust procedures to keep F-35 data within the confines of the Department. I'm a little less confident about industry partners to be quite honest with you," Bogdan said. 

U.S. and international partners on the JSF program "recognize the huge responsibility that they have with the fifth generation technology that we're giving them," he added. 

"I'm not that confident outside the department," the three-star general told the Senate defense subcommittee.