John D. Harris II, CEO of Raytheon International Inc., joined European defense leaders in a panel discussion streamed live around the world.
“The level of uncertainty gives us pause,” said Harris. “We need to clear barriers of uncertainty and define our key care-abouts, looking closely at capacity, technology, and requirements, and then make the investments as needed.”
The need for increased transatlantic and European cooperation was also among many topics on the agenda at the 51st annual Munich Security Conference. Harris joined U.K. Secretary of State for Defence Michael Fallon, French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and Thomas Enders, CEO of Airbus Group, in a panel discussion on the future of defense in Europe.
“There are a few things we need to do …. We need to make the tough decisions, be willing to collaborate and cooperate further, and ensure open competition,” he said. “The future is positive, but we need to make clear decisions.”
Allied defense cooperation remains of bedrock importance to align force modernization efforts and improve operational interoperability, and industry has a critical role through its global partnerships on shared technology development and systems production. Harris noted that in today’s marketplace, “the need to cooperate is even greater.”
As the panel discussed the defense and non-defense players emerging in the marketplace, Harris upheld the importance of a competitive approach. “Open competition,” he said, “will allow industry to understand what’s expected and drive innovation to get solutions faster, and it will also create meaningful partnerships."