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Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) Chairman, President and CEO Robert J. Stevens today spoke at the annual forum of the AeroSpace and Defence Industries Association of Europe (ASD) about the proliferation of global threats and the importance of maintaining and expanding international partnerships to address those threats.
Stevens, who also serves as Chairman of the Aerospace Industries Association
(AIA) of America, said that the economic downturn, threats from non-state actors and the rise of asymmetric warfare have changed the global security landscape.
"Our governments are compelled to deal with an expanding range of security concerns from combat capabilities to stability operations to preparations for humanitarian relief or natural disasters or even preparation for a response to a pandemic like the H1N1 virus," he said.
As a consequence, he told the group, the very definition of security is changing. "We're seeing a broader definition of security itself in a world where our fate and fortunes are increasingly linked as peoples, as countries, and as regions. Very often, the most meaningful definition of security often comes down to the basics that our citizens depend on in their daily lives: access to clean water, health care for their families, reliable, affordable energy, the building and maintenance of critical infrastructure, the efficient delivery of government services and most importantly, strong institutional mechanisms for stability and peace."
The industry, he said, must also take this broader view. "This new security environment is not simply a pendulum that has swung from one set of challenges to another, but rather an ever- expanding portfolio of demands that is not receding at a time when the velocity of change is accelerating day by day," he said.
Stevens also called for strong support of the industry's customers as they adapt to the changes. "It's a test of our innovation and our imagination," he said, adding that the current environment offers new opportunities to show what the industry can do.
"This is a chance for our sector to push the envelope on progress and to reframe the public debate away from seeing defense investments as predominantly costly or cumbersome or unnecessary to an understanding of defense investment as essential, valuable, and pioneering. It means helping our governments . . .
understand that our industry is much more than a producer of weapons or a source of industrial employment. It means helping our governments realize the enormous potential for innovation in our industry and the broad contributions we can make to the research and technology base," he said.
Stevens emphasized the need for partnerships and a healthy defense industrial base on both sides of the Atlantic and pointed to the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter and the Littoral Combat Ship as excellent examples of defense programs with strong international participation.
"In the long run, partnerships and a healthy defense industrial base on both sides of the Atlantic are in the interests of this industry and key to our competitiveness and our survival and if we work together to build a truly trans-Atlantic marketplace and a truly integrated trans-Atlantic industry, that's how we'll best support the enduring security upon which our future prosperity and the well being of our people depends," he said.
Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global security company that employs about 140,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The Corporation reported
2008 sales of $42.7 billion.
For the edited text of Mr. Stevens' speech, please go to:
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