Former Rep. Chris Carney, D-Pa., has landed a top job in the Washington offices of BAE Systems, less than a year after helping the British defense contractor secure a $1.6 million earmark and increase military procurement at a plant in his congressional district.
Carney, a two-term lawmaker unseated in November by Republican Tom Marino in the northeast Pennsylvania district, was tapped this summer as BAE’s director of homeland security and policy strategy, working under the newly appointed senior vice president for government relations, Erin Moseley.
Carney did not respond to requests for an interview, but BAE spokesman Price Floyd said the former legislator was hired to help develop the company’s growing security businesses.
“He’s not going to be a congressional lobbyist,” Floyd said. “He was brought on to interface and build relationships between our business sectors and the leadership of the relevant civilian agencies that they are going to work with, most notably the Department of Homeland Security.”
Carney, 52, was involved in defense and national-security issues both before and during his four years in Congress. As a Navy reservist, Carney did a stint in the Pentagon as an intelligence analyst shortly after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks; as a freshman member of the House in 2007, he was named chairman of the Homeland Security Committee’s oversight subcommittee. And BAE has a plant in Jessup, Pa.—in Carney’s former district—where military helmets and armor are made by about 220 workers.
Carney’s new job was first reported by The Scranton Times-Tribune, in a story about whether Carney might try to return to Congress next year. A local Democratic official told the newspaper he had talked with Carney about a comeback bid in July, but said Carney wants to wait until redistricting is settled in Pennsylvania before making a decision.
During his race against Marino last fall, Carney often touted his efforts to secure military contracts for BAE and Gentex, another defense contractor in his district.
Last year, Carney obtained a $1.6 million earmark for BAE, for a “Headborne Energy Analysis and Diagnostic System” to test the strength of combat helmets.
Earlier in 2010, Carney helped push the Federal Prison Systems out of a contract to manufacture military helmets by publicizing flaws that led to a safety recall of 44,000 inmate-made helmets. Elimination of the prison contract increased the helmet market for BAE and other defense firms.
“The fact that [Federal Prison Systems] said they are getting out of the helmet-production business is a victory for us,” Carney told The Times-Tribune in May 2010. “They have an unfair, competitive advantage. It’s not a level playing field.”
BAE was the 12th-largest defense contractor in the United States last year, with $1.66 billion in defense contracts, according to Washington Technology, an online tracker of government contractors. Among the London-based company’s 2010 contracts was a $28 million order for 120,000 lightweight helmets for the Marine Corps, all made at the plant in Jessup, Pa.