Against a backdrop of anxiety stemming from a revival of some Cold War-era military tensions, plus uncertainty following the U.S. presidential election, and recent controversies concerning the overruns of critical U.S. defense programs, Lockheed Martin (IW500/25) chairman Marilyn Hewson spoke to a NATO industry forum to stress the importance of a strong “defense-industrial base.”
Hewson, who also is president and CEO of the Bethesda, Md.-based defense manufacturer, highlighted the importance of R&D investments, the advantages of interoperable technologies, and the need to build a pipeline of science, technology, engineering and math (i.e., STEM) talent.
NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, is an intergovernmental military alliance founded in 1949 and now comprising 28 nations, including the United States and Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, and most of the nations of Western, Central, Eastern, and Southern Europe. During most of its history, NATO presented the coordinated counter-threat to the Soviet Union.
In recent years, NATO has been used to coordinate allied responses to threats outside its home region, namely in Afghanistan, Iraq, and the Middle East.
“The strategic partnerships and deep relationships flowing from more than six decades of cooperation provide a strong foundation for taking on our 21st century challenges together,” Hewson stated.
Lockheed is one of three primary contractors of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, a defense program that is supported not only by the U.S. Dept. of Defense, but as well by defense ministries in the U.K. and several more NATO members. The F-35 has been significantly in excess of its planned development and implementation budget, and is typically described as “the most expensive U.S. weapons system ever.”