Defense Contractor Refuses to Say What America Needs to Do to Defend Itself
Chicago, IL / Washington, D.C. - A shareholder with the National Center for Public Policy Research's Free Enterprise Project today asked the head of the Boeing Company for his "wish list" of what the Obama Administration can do to counter the threat of a nuclear missile attack on the United States. In response, Boeing president and CEO W. James McNerney, Jr. demurred - essentially stating that his company is merely a servant of the government and would not share its expertise by even suggesting what the American people need.
Acknowledging that the Obama Administration has significantly hobbled American advances in missile defense technology and deployment - particularly the accomplishments of his predecessor in the White House - National Center executive director David W. Almasi asked McNerney to simply provide his expert opinion on what the Obama Administration was lacking with regard to preparing an effective national security strategy against missiles from foreign powers such as North Korea.
In part, Almasi asked: "[D]espite all of this antipathy for missile defense [in the Obama Administration], Kim Jong-un's sabre-rattling in North Korea has suddenly brought the White House to the realization that it might be a good idea to rush 14 interceptors into service in Alaska... We know that a strong missile defense strategy is the only way to keep our homeland safe from a missile attack. What is your wish list for meeting this threat facing our nation? What should we be doing? Where are we behind?... In short, what does the White House need to know?"
The full text of the question asked by Almasi as prepared for delivery is available here.
When posed with the ability to provide a detailed list of what could best serve America, however, McNerney chose to pass the buck to the White House - the source of the problem as posed in Almasi's question.
While boasting of Boeing's "robust suite of technology" with regard to missile defense, McNerney only said that the company was "gratified" to be the leading supplier of missile defense technology to the military. Noting that the government makes the decisions on procurement and development (though not necessarily innovation), McNerney said, "Quite frankly, we stay out of the debate."
"Boeing stays out of the debate on what the government should do about spending its defense dollars and setting priorities? I'm sure there's a lot of head-scratching going on at the Boeing government affairs office right now," said the National Center's Almasi. "I gave McNerney an opportunity to promote his company's best products and technology in a friendly forum. Are they that scared at Boeing that the highly-politicized national security staff at the White House will retaliate against them if they second-guess President Obama?"
Almasi is a personal shareholder of Boeing Company stock. The National Center is the leading conservative organization in shareholder activism at this time - with plans to participate in dozens of corporate shareholder meetings this year.
"Boeing is a leader in protecting our nation from missile attack. But it's not going to do its best to protect anyone or help its employees or shareholders if it is sitting on the sidelines of the national security debate, not even willing to say 'put me in, coach.' When governments that revile our freedom are close to possessing the technology to incinerate our homeland, it's no time to be a shrinking violet."
The National Center for Public Policy Research, founded in 1982, is a non-partisan, free-market independent conservative think tank. Ninety-four percent of its support comes from individuals, less than four percent from foundation and less than two percent from corporations. It receives over 350,000 individual contributions a year from 96,000 active, recent contributors. In 2012, zero percent of its contributions came from the fossil fuel industry or related foundations.
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