Kathy Warden, Northrop Grumman CEO, Explains Defense Tech Development

3 mins read
Kathy Warden
Kathy Warden CEO Northrop Grumman

Kathy Warden, chief executive officer of Northrop Grumman and 2021 Wash100 Award recipient recently addressed how the development of defense technologies will drive industry mergers and acquisition (M&A) activity over the next two decades. Additionally, this development spike will present new entrants in the realm of cyber and artificial intelligence (AI), as well as increase government-industry collaboration.

“As a result I believe the industry will look different in terms of its composition. There’ll be more consolidation,” Warden said. “There will also be more new entrants and so it’s hard to say there will be fewer players, but the ones that exist today will likely continue to consolidate as we have seen in recent years, and we’ve seen in other cycles.”

Warden projected that companies will adapt commercial AI and machine learning (ML) applications for military surveillance and command and control. As the nation competes in the modern-day space race, Warden urged the Biden administration to continue advancements in this market. 

“Many nations are demonstrating the capability to both operate in space but also have anti satellite capability, so what we need to focus on is putting in place the norms and technologies that allow us to have freedom of operation in the space domain,” Warden added.

In Jan. 2021, Northrop Grumman reported that its Space Systems segment led the company’s sales for both the fourth quarter of 2020 and for the full year. The segment was driven by a higher volume of classified programs as well as the Next-Gen Overhead Persistent Infrared and NASA Artemis programs.

Additionally, Warden defended the country’s current track on nuclear modernization, noting that the nation’s triad of nuclear weapons is “very important to keeping the peace.” She added that the aerospace and defense industry provides platforms like the F-35 fighter as “an aid to diplomacy” and interoperability among allies.

“It’s hard for anyone to say what would have happened had we not had ICBMs over the last 50 years,” she said, “but lots of very smart statesman, military personnel and civilians alike have studied this through multiple nuclear posture reviews and come out believing that the best posture for our nation is continuing to move forward with the modernization of all three legs of our triad.”

Warden received her sixth Wash100 Award in 2021 for leading the company’s divestiture of a business segment and continued focus on growth through executive hires and major contracts with federal agencies and the U.S. military. 

Warden’s expertise and strong leadership position her as a significant executive in the GovCon sector throughout the year. To vote for Warden, or your favorite executive of this year’s Wash100 Award selection, visit Wash100.com to cast your ten votes, learn more about the history of the award and read more about the latest class of winners from 2021.

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