Boeing Employee Information Hotline at 1-800-899-6431

This site will look much better in a browser that supports web standards, but it is accessible to any browser or Internet device.

Merchandise | Corporate Governance | Employee/Retiree/Emergency Information | Ethics | Suppliers
2004 Speeches
Jim Albaugh

Jim Albaugh


Chief Executive

Boeing Integrated Defense Systems

"Integrating non-US Elements into a Global BMDS"

AIAA 2nd Annual Missile Defense Conference

Reagan Center, Washington, DC

March 24, 2004

You've heard a lot about missile defense over the past three days - from the highest levels of national policy to the details of development, test and deployment. Each aspect has its own unique challenges. Right now I can't think of anything more important than integrating our friends and allies into an effective Ballistic Missile Defense System. And that's what I'd like to address this morning.

I'm going to pose a few questions about the future of Ballistic Missile Defense and how it might fit into a global framework.

One year ago, I addressed this conference and talked about missile defense as "doable, affordable, and critical."

Twelve days later: we were at war with Iraq. So, on top of our war on terror and our engagement in Afghanistan, we had committed hundreds of thousands of men and women to combat. Once again, the world had changed.

Is it true when they say "What a difference a year makes?"

Is missile defense still relevant in a world that - in addition to suitcase bombs - finds us facing weapons of choice like rocket-propelled grenades, homemade explosive devices and missiles launched from old water heaters on the back of donkey carts?

Can a Ballistic Missile Defense System protect us in a world that can be ignited by the death of a militant religious leader?

I say that the threat has not change. The global threat of weapons of mass destruction has not eased. The danger of missiles launched against the United States is as real today as before.

In fact, during the Cold War we knew who our enemies were and we trusted them not to launch weapons of mass destruction against us. Today, often we don't know who the enemy is... but we do know that - if given the chance - they will use weapons of mass destruction against us.

We can spend billions on homeland security and protect against the suitcase bomb, but it does nothing to protect against a missile launched from a rogue-state or a sea-going barge.

Stunning and welcome developments in Libya notwithstanding, tensions still remain with other armed and dangerous nations. We have heard startling revelations of an international trade in nuclear technology by elements within Pakistan. Iran, North Korea and others continue to be of great concern.

So... what has changed? Perhaps it's the nature of our international relationships.

Certainly there has been a strong show of support from Britain and our other coalition partners. But there's no denying that there are strained relations with nations that before "Iraqi Freedom" would have been viewed as strong "friends and allies." Up until that point we would have thought of them as potential partners in a missile defense network.

The world can change in a day. Just ask anyone on the Kentucky or Stanford basketball teams. How did seemingly weak, non-threatening forces become a powerhouse... even if just for a day?

But the world can also change significantly many times over during a span of years and decades. Who in 1944 would have thought that Germany would become one of our staunchest allies in the Cold War? And then who would have thought that Germany in 2003 would be unwilling to stand at our side as we went to war with Iraq? Who would have thought that Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder would be closer to Vladimir Putin than to George W. Bush?

I'm sure you're thinking that all of this just adds fuel to the fire for the critics of Ballistic Missile Defense and the skeptics of international teaming. I disagree. The uncertainty of global relationships actually adds to the importance of working with our friends and allies on a missile defense network.

The mission of the Ballistic Missile Defense System has not changed. It is still to protect our homeland. It is still to protect our forces deployed overseas. It is still to protect our friends and allies.

It does not eliminate all threats. But it does remove from the table one threat: that of long-range missiles that can be launched with impunity and hit us without warning. It does remove a deadly form of blackmail against the United States by threatening our allies.

Certainly the danger from sudden and unprovoked launch of weapons of mass destruction is universal. I firmly believe that our friends and allies appreciate this fact despite the differences we might have on how to wage a war on terror. The question becomes: How can we come together to support this?

I believe that missile defense can be a NATO-like rallying point that can restore cooperation and forge a renewed mutual commitment to regional and global security. It will happen not because we want it to - it will happen because we have to.

From my perspective, I also believe that defense companies will play a significant role in creating these partnerships.

Just as NATO spawned industrial teams for developing platforms for regional security, a global missile defense network will foster closer collaboration between defense companies across the world. Defense companies are cooperating and involved in the Ballistic Missile Defense System national team defining the Continental United States BMDS architecture. Similarly we must include industrial partners from around the world in developing a global architecture.

Granted... there have been many obstacles on the national scale. There will be many more... much more daunting as missile defense goes global.

For instance, the challenge of funding?

Who will pay for it? Will it be "pay to play" or will the US be forced to bear the brunt of the cost of a global missile defense network? The answer to this question will, in all probability, have serious implications for the structure of the network.

What technologies will each participating nation bring to the table? Do our international partners even have applicable technologies or will we have to provide the technology to them?

Can we overcome difficult technology transfer obstacles? Our experience in program after program has demonstrated an inability to do this. If we can't get an ITAR waiver for the United Kingdom, I have serious doubts in our ability to address the technology transfer issues involved in working with tens of countries from around the world.

Already, Congress is taking a hard look at this. Legislation like Senator Allard's fast track technology transfer bill is a hopeful step in the right direction and a strong signal to our friends and allies. But we all know that we have been down this road before.

Meanwhile, companies involved in the U.S. missile defense area are forging Memoranda of Understanding for identifying available technology and capabilities with foreign contractors. This is a strong first step toward a globally-integrated missile defense system.

Finally, can we overcome perhaps the biggest challenge that such a missile defense system might pose?

Keep in mind that decisions to respond to missile attacks will no longer just impact the United States but will involve many, many countries. What will be the concept of operations allowing us to instantaneously engage our defense system?

I believe that we can create the global network we require.

Not only do I believe that such a network is possible, the process has already begun with the Ground-Based Mid-Course program.

And how about our friends and allies? What is the view from across the sea? Even here I am hopeful. Despite the tensions of the past year, there has been a dramatic shift in attitude. NATO is committed to studying options for protecting alliance territory.

Certainly, we must take into account such things as the Franco/German-centric European Defense Initiative. But I'm optimistic that we can overcome our differences in the name of cooperation on missile defense.

One year ago, I said that there were "three simple facts about Missile Defense that call for our attention?"

"One, Missile Defense is not the whole answer. We should never pretend otherwise."

"Two, Missile Defense is a necessary and critical part of a prudent defense strategy."

"Three, there will be ongoing and spirited debate on this subject."

None of this has changed. And today? as we look at the integration of our friends and allies into a missile defense network, I can add a forth simple fact?

"Our enemies are global and their threats deadly serious. Our friends and allies face the same threats and require the same solutions. Together we can make it happen."

But inspiring support and cooperation will require demonstrated success. We must do what we have committed to do and execute our deployment and our testing.

As General Kadish said the other day, "The best way to communicate the need for this program is to have more successes. Only then will we inspire confidence in what we're doing."

That applies not just to Capitol Hill or the American taxpayer and voter? but also to our friends and allies watching us with deep interest.

And so, let us keep moving forward to completion of our initial deployment at Fort Greeley on September 30th.

That's a date, I might add, that marks the 66th anniversary of one of those dark turning points in world history. On that date, Britain and France acted unilaterally and with no real understanding of the true threat to peace and stability posed by the Nazis. On that date, Prime Minister Chamberlain turned a blind eye to the Nazi threat and said he had achieved "peace in our time." Will any world leader want to make the same grave mistake today?

Let's make September 30th, 2004, also a landmark date. A day that inspires confidence among our friends and allies in our ability to bring an effective missile defense system on line.

And a day that inspires a willingness to participate in a global missile defense network. A network where we work together in full recognition of the threats we face? and the capability we need to meet that threat.