Boeing quietly, but aggressively, takes on homeland security
When John Stammreich was appointed to coordinate the Boeing Homeland Security team in December, his marching orders were clear.
"Phil Condit told us our primary job is to restore passenger confidence in the commercial aviation system," Stammreich said, adding "It's clear Boeing has more skin in that game than anybody else."
Immediately after the terrorist strikes, Boeing formed a companywide umbrella organization that includes Boeing Commercial Airplanes, Integrated Defense Systems, the Boeing Washington, D.C., office and other key players. The goal is to identify key customer requirements and to allocate the resources to meet them.
In the short term, Boeing Commercial Airplanes quickly produced designs to enhance jetliner security. In June, Boeing's Integrated Defense Systems business unit, in partnership with Siemens Corp., won a U.S. Transportation Security Administration contract with a potential value of $1.3 billion to install and maintain equipment to screen all checked baggage at U.S. airports.
Boeing believes its biggest contributions to homeland security will come from its skill at integrating large, complex systems, a key to meeting challenges faced by the White House and the emerging cabinet-level U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
The Department of Homeland Security's 2002 budget is nearly $40 billion, and indications point to its eventually having more than 170,000 employees in what will be the largest reorganization of the federal government in 50 years. The Brookings Institute, a Washington, D.C., think tank, estimates the United States could spend $50 billion a year on homeland security "well into the future."
"Our experience in largescale systems integration means we can contribute at all levels," Stammreich said. "National authorities need to identify and address emerging threats. State and local authorities need to get information in time to prevent terrorist strikes whenever possible and to manage worst case scenarios."
Stammreich added that Boeing is well-positioned to address Homeland Security because of the transformation that has taken place during the last five years.
"Today, thanks to the mergers and acquisitions, Boeing has an amazing combination of human capital and technologies relevant to this issue," he said.
Stammreich cited Internet and cyber security and chemical/biological threat detection and mitigation as examples of Boeing expertise (developed long before the terrorist attacks) that have obvious Homeland Security applications.
Stammreich also pointed to Boeing skills in modeling and simulation, which can greatly enhance understanding of potential "cascading effects" an attack on a major element of the economylike banking, Internet or energy gridsmight have on other parts of the United States or the world. "Because of our investments in things like the Boeing Integration Center, Connexion by Boeing, Air Traffic Management and our recent acquisitions like Autometric, we have very significant capability there," he said.
Unlike some other major aerospace companies, Boeing has not taken a high public profile on its Homeland Security activities.
"Boeing doesn't want to get out in front of our customers. We haven't publicly talked a lot about 'solutions' to Homeland Security challenges because, frankly, our customers are still trying to develop their strategy and the budgets and organizations to support it," Stammreich said.
"We're proactively meeting with the Homeland Security customers in dialogue about requirements, capabilitiesthe art of the possible," Stammreich said. "We've met with [Homeland Security Director] Tom Ridge, members of Congress, the Defense Department, state, county and local officials. As a result, we have an excellent and growing understanding of the contributions Boeing can make."
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