Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Northrop Grumman's Daniel "Fig" Leaf Calls on Industry to Address the Challenges of Irregular Warfare

Northrop Grumman's Daniel "Fig" Leaf Calls on Industry to Address the Challenges of Irregular Warfare
March 30, 2010

WASHINGTON, D.C. –– Northrop Grumman Corporation's (NYSE:NOC) Daniel "Fig" Leaf, vice president of Full Spectrum Initiatives for Information Systems sector's Defense Systems division, delivered remarks this month during the 2010 Spring East Coast Irregular Warfare (IW) Conference sponsored by the American Institute of Engineers (AIE) in Washington, D.C.

Speaking during a session titled "An Industry Perspective on Irregular Warfare (IW)," Leaf identified three challenges for IW that need to be addressed from an industry perspective. They include the ability to identify friends, foes, and others; the need for rapid adaptation to meet fast-changing and developing situations; and the willingness and readiness to mobilize the nation's forces and technology for operations addressing ever-changing threats to regional or global stability and security.

"Because of the urgency and rapid evolution of these challenges, IW tends to put a premium on 75 percent solutions," said Leaf. "There is no time to develop technologically elegant capabilities providing 99 percent of potential or desired performance. To respond to Joint Urgent Operational Needs and the irregular threats they address, the contractor community will need the ability to see radically new applications for existing technologies, and to collaborate quickly to get a solution to the field."

"While this requires real mind-set and production model changes for the defense contracting community," Leaf continued, "Northrop Grumman gets it when it comes to IW."

Leaf highlighted key systems and capabilities Northrop Grumman has developed that are contributing to the fight and meeting the IW threat head-on. They include the Blue Force Tracking system and the Battlefield Airborne Communications Node (BACN), among others.

Leaf also addressed the issue of instability that threatens the security of the nation's forces worldwide and highlighted that Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief, or HADR, plays a critical and often unheralded role in successful Irregular Warfare efforts. "These HADR capabilities depend on the same mobility, persistent intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, and command and control capabilities that we require for Irregular Warfare."

Leaf concluded with the poignant story of his friend Muharrem, a young man who lost his sister in a 1999 U.S. Air Force bombing raid against Serbian forces. "Muharrem's tragedy happened because we couldn't see and couldn't hear," Leaf said of the technology at the time. "That's what we need to work on."

Leaf, a retired U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen., is currently leading Northrop Grumman's Full Spectrum Operations/Irregular Warfare initiatives. In this role, he serves as a subject matter expert and key point of contact with the company's operational customers.


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