When Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc. went public on March 31, 2011, President and CEO Mike Petters noted that the company's strategy "is to better align our businesses with the U.S. Navy's priorities and to continue improving our shipbuilding performance while meeting our customer commitments."

In Part 1 of his conversation with IndustryWeek
, Petters asserted that the former unit of Northrop Grumman Corp. (IW 500: 33) made tremendous strides toward its objectives in 2011, delivering the amphibious ship LPD 22 San Diego -- which garnered rave reviews from the U.S. Navy -- and nearly doubling its total operating margin, among other highlights.

In Part 2, Petters addresses the uncertainty around defense spending and talks about some of the keys to success for America's largest manufacturer of military ships.