Pentagon Spokesman Eric Pahon provided the following readout:
Deputy Secretary of Defense Dr. Kathleen H. Hicks; Mr. Andrew Hunter, Performing the Duties of Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment; and other senior Department of Defense leaders held a classified meeting with the Chief Executive Officers of the department’s eight largest prime contractors today at the Pentagon to discuss ongoing security assistance to Ukraine and long-term readiness of U.S., Allied and partner forces.
They included: Boeing Defense, Space & Security; L3Harris Technologies; Raytheon Technologies; BAE Systems; Lockheed Martin Corporation; Huntington Ingalls Industries; General Dynamics; and Northrop Grumman.
Deputy Secretary Hicks delivered opening comments, highlighting that the Biden Administration is working around the clock to fulfill Ukraine’s priority security assistance requests, drawing down weapons from U.S. stocks when they are available, purchasing directly from industry for rapid delivery to Ukraine, and facilitating the transfer of weapons from Allies and partners when their systems better suit Ukraine’s needs.
The deputy secretary emphasized how Russia’s invasion has highlighted the importance of frequent, direct dialogue with industry to ensure we are prepared to support three strategic objectives:
- Delivering critical capabilities to Ukraine;
- Enhancing the preparedness of our own forces; and
- Supporting our Allies and partners in bolstering their defense capabilities.
The dialogue focused on accelerating the production and fielding of systems that are critical to the Department’s ongoing security assistance to Ukraine, as well as broader efforts to increase the readiness of U.S., Ally, and partner forces. Department leaders sought to understand what challenges large companies in the defense industrial base faced in accelerating fielding of critical capabilities, and how the Department might be able to alleviate these issues.
Following the deputy’s remarks, Mr. Hunter and other senior acquisition, sustainment and policy leaders moderated the roundtable portion, which focused primarily on accelerating production and building more capacity across the industrial base for weapons and equipment that can be exported rapidly, deployed with minimal training, and prove effective in the battlefield.
Further discussion covered capabilities within various portfolios, including: air defense, anti-armor, anti-personnel, coastal defense, counter-battery, and communications.
Since 2021, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin III and Deputy Secretary of Defense Dr. Kathleen Hicks have engaged with more than 200 industry leaders as a part of a persistent, open communication strategy to advance the Department’s understanding of industry priorities and challenges.