For the common defense

A Raytheon executive's preview of the Munich Security Conference

John Harris of Raytheon

John Harris, Raytheon's vice president of business development and CEO of Raytheon International.

The annual Munich Security Conference, taking place Feb. 15-17, presents heads of state, defense ministers, and global policy experts with an opportunity to gather and discuss international security matters. John Harris, Raytheon’s vice president of Business Development and CEO of Raytheon International, will be there. In the following Q&A, Harris previews the larger conversation:  

Q. What has changed since Munich 2018?
JH: There have been a number of leadership changes over the last year. A number of elections have happened, internationally and domestically. We now have the 116th Congress, so the representatives from the Congressional delegation are going to be different from last year. This gives me the opportunity to meet with them and find out what is important to them.

Q. The Department of Defense recently released its Missile Defense Review, which, among other subjects, referenced the ways adversaries are working to enhance their missile capabilities. Do you expect this to be a focus at Munich?
JH: With the new threats that were first highlighted in the National Defense Strategy and restated in the Missile Defense Review, the need for us to continue to strengthen the transatlantic alliances, to be able to detect and defeat the threats we’re now facing, is going to be even more important.

Q: What other topics will receive focus?
JH: There will continue to be a discussion around integrated air and missile defense. I would expect a number of people will ask us about the success we’ve had over the past year adding Poland, Sweden and Romania to the Patriot community. A number of allies that are still making decisions will be asking us how they may be able to become a part of that community.

Q: The number of nations with Patriot, or buying Patriot, continues to grow, particularly in Europe. What does this mean for collective defense?
JH: I think it goes a long way to improving interoperability. The more countries we have with a common system, the better off we will be with respect to defeating common threats. Having that kind of capability, and also having many more nations share in the continued development and refresh of the system; I think we’re better off.

Q. 2018 was a successful year for a couple of Raytheon’s trans-Atlantic partnerships. How do these joint investments benefit the U.S. and allies?
JH: I’ll give you a good case in point. This past year, we were awarded the Naval Strike Missile, which was part of a competition by the U.S. government to find the next-generation replacement for the Harpoon missile. Instead of going off and recreating the wheel, spending billions of dollars and adding risk and time to the process, we proposed [Kongsberg’s Naval Strike Missile] to the Navy. And they made a decision to go with that, as opposed to using the typical approach of a separate design and development program. I think it’s great because it does two things: It saves money, it saves time, it
reduces risk, but it also improves relationships with our allies.

Q: A recent survey found that U.S. CEOs ranked cyber as their number-one external concern for 2019. Are European CEOs and government leaders experiencing the same threat level that we see here?
JH: The short answer is yes. Because in today’s world, everything that happens locally happens globally. Our responsibility, in both the public and private sectors, is to ensure that our systems are hardened against potential attacks and are resilient so that operations can continue when attacks do occur. The cyber threat continues to be a common challenge and we must work together on both sides of the Atlantic to mitigate this security risk.

Published On: 02/11/2019
Last Updated: 02/14/2019