Issue Briefs

How Aerojet Rocketdyne Manages To Play An Outsized Role In The U.S. Defense Supply Chain

By Loren B. Thompson

May 01, 2020.

U.S. policymakers in recent years have become increasingly concerned about the fragility of the defense supply chain. Critical suppliers can become choke-points in the production process if their operations are impaired and no alternate source exists. A case in point is Aerojet Rocketdyne, one of only two major domestic sources of space and missile propulsion following a wave of sector consolidations. AJRD, to use its stock symbol, has a broader range of competencies in its selected field than any other company, and on many U.S. military systems it is the only source of essential production inputs. Aerojet thus exercises outsized influence over the defense industrial base, despite its relatively small size. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.

Loren B. Thompson is a Senior Adviser at GPI, Chief Operating Officer of the non-profit Lexington Institute and Chief Executive Officer of Source Associates, a for-profit consultancy. Prior to holding his present positions, he was Deputy Director of the Security Studies Program at Georgetown University and taught graduate-level courses in strategy, technology and media affairs at Georgetown. He has also taught at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. Mr. Thompson holds doctoral and masters degrees in government from Georgetown University and a bachelor of science degree in political science from Northeastern University.