Pentagon open to mergers if they have long-term benefit -Carter

WASHINGTON, March 12 Tue Mar 12, 2013 5:30pm GMT

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WASHINGTON, March 12 (Reuters) - Deputy U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter on Tuesday said he expected an increasing number of mergers and acquisitions in the defense industry in coming years, given a downturn in military spending and uncertainty about funding for weapons programs.

He said the Defense Department was open to proposals for mergers or acquisitions as long as they promised some longer-term benefits.

"It's a natural part of turning the strategic corner," Carter told a defense conference hosted by Credit Suisse and defense consultant Jim McAleese. "That's how our industry stays healthy. It's a good thing."

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