Northrop Grumman CEO on Strengthening the Defense Industrial Base

According to Northrop Grumman CEO Wes Bush, the key to maintaining the U.S. defense industrial base, in a time of unparalleled threats and domestic economic challenges, lies in choosing key capabilities to support, and in easing export controls for defense companies.

Over 600 attendees gathered at the Ritz-Carlton in Tysons Corner, Virginia, on Friday, Feb. 11 to hear Bush’s keynote address at a breakfast event hosted by the Northern Virginia Technology Council.

Wes Bush, president and CEO of Northrop Grumman

Bush opened his remarks in understated fashion, saying, “We are at an interesting time of transition.” He also prefaced his comments with the caveat that though he was raising several issues of concern, overall, he was very optimistic.

“To understand the defense industry, you need to understand the defense industrial base.”
Bush stated that America’s defense industrial base is a reflection of its core military strategy, which relies on a cadre of highly-trained military personnel, combined with “absolute technical superiority.” However, he feels that America’s ability to assure outcomes is challenged by pressures on the defense industrial base due to the expanded nature of threats caused by destabilizing influences of the fall of the USSR.

Those threats include regional instabilities and adversaries — both state and non-state actors — possessing a range of nuclear, biological, counter-space and cyber threats. He also included threats facing the global commons (including energy and food threats) which are addressed by tools and solutions supplied by the defense industrial base. Yet the nature of the threat has expanded, Bush says, at a time where the nation’s capacity to invest in defense is challenged.

Reducing Overhead, Raising Productivity
In this climate of deficit and budget pressures, Bush said that defense contractors like Northrop Grumman were working hard to reduce overhead and increase productivity, focusing on three main ways to preserve their own capabilities: building solid relationships with customers (including agencies, Congress and the taxpayer); managing and maintaining technical and management talent; and preserving access to capital markets to ensure that innovation continues to drive outcomes.

[Find the full article on GovWin]

Authored by Joe Loong

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