Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said he would shut down access to ministers and officials where he found retired officers had abused access to the Ministry of Defence for commercial purposes.
An investigation has been launched by the MoD after former military chiefs were reported to have boasted about lobbying top officials to secure contracts for private firms in breach of Whitehall rules.
Mr Hammond said: "If we find that people are not taking that advice [of the Cabinet Office Committee], we will look at steps to shut down their access to ministers and officials.
"Clearly at least one, possibly more of the individuals named in The Sunday Times piece were still under the terms of the two year restriction that applies after they have left the service."
Defence Secretary Philip Hammond insisted the retired personnel wielded "no influence" over procurement but the body which restricts the commercial activity of departing civil servants said the allegations were serious.
Senior generals were among several ex-military figures recorded by undercover Sunday Times (£) reporters posing as weapons manufacturers seeking to secure a multimillion-pound deal to sell hardware to the UK.
This is a report by Alex Forrest
Among those named are:
- Lieutenant General Sir John Kiszely, ex-head of the Defence Academy and now president of the Royal British Legion
- Former MoD procurement chief Lieutenant General Richard Applegate
- Admiral Sir Trevor Soar, Commander-in-Chief Fleet of the Royal Navy until earlier this year
- Ex-head of the Army Lord Dannatt
The newspaper said its three-month investigation exposed claims of having pushed the interests of private arms firms despite being barred from doing so and of being able to push clients' interests to the Prime Minister and senior officials.
Curbs on the commercial activities of senior personnel when they leave public service are set in each individual case by the independent Advisory Committee on Business Appointments, based on rules set down by government.
A spokeswoman for the committee said:
The committee has "no role or powers to investigate or sanction individuals who do not abide by its advice", she said.
The MoD said it was already looking into whether any rules had been broken and acting to ensure it was not possible for anyone to secure "privileged access".
It is the latest in a string of cash for access scandals to have rocked Westminster over recent years.
In a statement Mr Hammond said:
Lord Dannatt, who was an adviser to David Cameron before the 2010 election, said he offered to "facilitate conversations" but had rejected an £8,000 monthly fee offer.
The Sunday Times said he "candidly talked about sidestepping a ban on discussion of a £400 million contract by 'targeting' the MoD's top civil servant, with whom he went to school."
The former chief of the general staff told the Sunday Telegraph that was a "totally false picture."