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Wes Bush: R&D Investment, Export Controls Key for Defense Industry

Northrop CEO Says Fiscal Fights Still to Come

Wes Bush, chairman CEO and president of Northrop Grumman, told defense industry officials May 3 they must continue to alert Congress to the potential effects of sequestration on the industry.

National Defense Magazine reports Bush addressed a National Defense Industrial Association forum in McLean, Va. and outlined two areas the sector must focus on even as federal budgets decline.

Bush said defense research-and-development spending represented a half-percent of GDP over the last decade, a stark drop from the three-quarter percent rate in the 1980s and a full percent during the 1960s.

Current fiscal policy negatively affects investments that help give the U.S. a defense technological advantage, Bush said, according to Sandra Erwin's story.

Export controls must also be an area of attention for the industry and reform could help boost sales of U.S. defense technology to the country's allies, according to Bush.

The U.S. thought it had an advantage in the satellite market but found out it was mistaken, he said.

"The very policies that were intended to keep this technology secure for us actually encouraged others who could not buy it from us to develop their own," Bush said.

Changes to export controls can increase sales of unmanned aircraft to U.S. allies, he said.

More Stories By Tim Watson

Tim Watson supervises all media production at Executive Mosaic, a digital media company that provides insight, information and analysis on several industries, including government contracting.

He previously produced byline coverage with the economics team at USA Today and evaluated lending proposals for the Overseas Private Investment Corporation.

Tim was born and raised in Washington, DC and holds a bachelor’s degree in Business-Journalism from Washington and Lee University and a certificate in budgeting and finance from Georgetown University's School of Continuing Professional Education.

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