Giving a sobering view of the global security environment on the eve of the air show opening, Lockheed Martin CEO Robert Stevens says now is not the time for countries to look inward and protect their industries and markets.
"Tempting as protectionism might be it is a counter-productive response, distorting markets and dislocating trade flows [and that] in the long run hurts customers, companies and taxpayers alike," he said in Paris last night. "Global markets must remain open and global partnerships must remain healthy."
Stevens painted a picture of a security environment that is getting more complex, not simpler, with the growing threat of nuclear proliferation, terrorism, piracy, cyber attacks and pandemics. Added to these, he said, are the increasing pressures on food, water and energy resources. "And none of these conditions is helped by global economic insecurity."
This increased complexity is prompting Lockheed Martin to look beyond its core business to help its government customers "to provide true security - not just for 'defense' meaning the prevention or response to military attack." He cited safeguarding government IT systems from attack, energy management and alternative energy, and transportation security as areas where the company thinks it can apply its experience.
Asked if there was any direction Lockheed would not take as it addresses the wider security market, Stevens said: "We will not arm our employees. We will not provide paramilitary support services. We will stick to our knitting."