Diagnostics for the Defense Industry

26 January 2022

The so-called health of the defense industrial base is receiving a lot of worried attention these days. Dour diagnoses are regularly torn from headlines reporting supply chain disruptions, the sector’s middling performance on Wall Street, or the missed milestone of… 
Read more »

Waves of change are coming to the defense industry

26 August 2021

The messy withdrawal of US combat forces from Afghanistan heightens our attention to the milestone that is this month’s 20th anniversary of Al Qaeda’s attack on New York and Washington. September 11th, 2001 is a classic inflection point. The tectonics… 
Read more »

What Business Are You Really In?

18 May 2021

This deceptively simple question enjoys special standing in the catechism of corporate strategy.  Harvard’s Theodore Levitt used it in a 1960 article to underscore what the Harvard Business Review regarded in 2004 as “the most influential marketing idea of the… 
Read more »

Of Kills Zones, Bear Hugs, and Plant Tours

4 February 2021

The pandemic has accustomed us to living in virtual worlds and hearing speculation about the ways in which our actual lives may never resume as before. Microsoft founder Bill Gates recently said that he believes “over 50 percent of business… 
Read more »

“Efficiencies” Are Not the Answer

25 October 2020

We are not going to “efficiency” our way out of the hard choices which the next administration will face fitting an already straining defense posture under a flatlined budget. In a commentary published in August, I expressed the hope that… 
Read more »

The Outlook for US Defense Spending

5 August 2020

I am surprised by the vigorous hand-wringing this summer over the prospects for defense spending in a Democrat-dominated government beginning in January 2021. There’s every indication that the Democrats who may come to office next year with meaningful power over… 
Read more »

Back to the Future

27 June 2019

The mighty consolidation wave that swept over the aerospace and defense industry after the end of the Cold War is taking another turn. The next inflection in the restructuring story is the proposed merger of United Technologies Corporation (UTC) and… 
Read more »

The Marshall Maxim

10 April 2019

“I’d rather have decent answers to the right question than great answers to irrelevant questions.” This pithy precept appears at the top of page 1 of The Last Warrior, an intellectual history of Andrew Marshall, the furtive, 42-year director of… 
Read more »

Beauty Secrets of Big-Small Companies

20 June 2018

Earlier this spring at the Atlantic Council, I hosted a panel discussion among the chief executives of AM General, Cubic Corporation, and Siemens Government Technologies (SGT). While these three companies—prime contractors predominantly for automotive vehicles, training and transit technologies, and… 
Read more »

Trump’s Unremarkable Defense Playbook

12 January 2018

In a commentary published in Aviation Week on Inauguration Day, I described “signposts and metrics” of force posture, defense spending, and acquisition management that I would be using to gauge the true magnitude and direction of change that would emerge… 
Read more »