Northrop Grumman’s European chief executive, Andrew Tyler, has resorted to an unusual method to raise the level of debate on defense issues in the UK ahead of the planned strategic defense and security review (SDSR) planned for later this year: He purchased space on the Financial Times.com site to air his views.
An advertorial asking whether Britain can remain a world-class fighting force, and a second one on cybersecurity, appeared on the leading national business dot-com Jan 12. A further four subjects, including maritime surveillance and the F-35 combat jet, are planned to be aired over the next six months.
Much of the content has been written by Tyler, the one-time chief operating officer at the Ministry of Defence’s equipment procurement and support arm who moved back into industry and joined Northrop Grumman to run their European operations in 2013.
“We are trying to stimulate debate and broaden exposure on key issues in the sector over the next few months,” said a Northrop Grumman spokesman in London.
As you might expect, the company is not being entirely altruistic.
Maritime surveillance platforms, military networks, the F-35 and cybersecurity all figure prominently in the line-up of key products the company would like to sell and support here.
Defense will struggle for air time as health, immigration and how to repair public finances likely will be the main battlegrounds between the political parties ahead of what is probably going to be a very messy election with coalition or minority government a possible outcome.