Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce

Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce
June 19, 2018

Good evening, Everyone. Thank you, for that kind introduction, Horace.

It’s wonderful to be back home in Alabama.

I am grateful to the “Committee of 100” for this opportunity to speak to all of you.

I am deeply honored to see so many distinguished leaders who are helping drive Alabama’s economy and future.

It’s a pleasure to share this evening with Secretary Canfield, Mayor Strange, Judge Price, and Colonel Sparrow.

I know that tonight, Alabama’s congressional delegation is in Washington hard at work. So, I am delighted to have members of their staffs here with us.

It’s also a pleasure to be in the company of so many Montgomery-area business and community leaders.

I would like to extend a special “thank you” to Ellen McNair and the team here at the Chamber who handled all the arrangements for this evening.

Alabama is a truly special place.

Across this state, elected leaders and citizens understand the importance of the Armed Forces to our nation – and the communities here know how to support our men and women in uniform.

Just west of here is Dannelly Field – home of the Alabama Air National Guard, and the 187th Fighter Wing “Red Tails.” Also in the area is Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base – home of the 908th Airlift Wing, Air University, and the International Officers School.

Thanks to these military installations and strategic institutions Alabama is not only home to men and women who safeguard our nation’s security, you are training the leaders of tomorrow who will advance peace and progress for decades to come.

Of course, at Lockheed Martin, we know that Alabama is supporting our nation in another important way.

Thanks to strong leadership, sound policies, and low taxes, the people and economy of Alabama are a place of energy and innovation – helping to produce technologies and capabilities that are critical to protecting our nation and those serving in harm’s way.

It’s for all these reasons, that we as a company are proud to live, to work, and to invest in Alabama.

Tonight, I want to talk a little bit about Lockheed Martin’s operations across the state.

Then, I’ll talk about the importance of the F-35 advanced fighter jet, which will soon be a major part of life here in Montgomery.

Finally, I’ll talk about the future and how our successes together here in Alabama should be an example for our country and for the world.

After these brief remarks, I’ll be delighted to take your questions.

Let me begin with a brief overview of Lockheed Martin.

We are the global leader in aerospace and defense. We employ approximately 100,000 men and women around the world. Our people – and our products – can be found in more than 70 nations across the globe.

And the state of Alabama plays a critical role in our successes.

Here in Alabama, we have operations representing three out of our four business areas, including Missiles and Fire Control, Rotary and Mission Systems, and Space.

At Lockheed Martin, we employ more than 1,700 men and women across the state.

More than 800 of those people are located in Pike County – just about 30 miles south of here.

Our Pike County Operations are home to the final assembly for several of our signature products, the Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile, or “JASSM,” the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system, or “THAAD,” and the Javelin anti-armor missile.

These technologies show the range of our capabilities – from advanced missiles to ballistic missile defense.

Just last month, we were delighted to have both Governor Ivey and Congressman Byrne visit our Pike County Operations. They each had the opportunity to see our JASSM and THAAD production up close.

About six miles southeast of our Pike County Operations, you’ll find our Troy Operations.

There, we have more than 400 Sikorsky employees who assemble new airframes for the Navy’s MH-60R “Seahawk” helicopter, and make modifications to the highly sophisticated Cyclone helicopter for the Canadian Maritime Force.

Just two weeks ago, we delivered 15 Cyclones to the Canadian government to strengthen their maritime defense capabilities.

Going north in the state, you’ll find our Huntsville Operations, where we employ close to 800 employees.

Our company has a long history in “Rocket City.”

It was on May 22, 1963 that we broke ground on our first building on Bradford Drive in Cummings Research Park.

Our location in Huntsville continues to be significant.

It is close to our customers in the Army and at the Missile Defense Agency who work at Redstone Arsenal. It also helps us serve our NASA customers at Marshall Space Flight Center.

After five decades of continuous operations, we are still doing exciting things in Huntsville.

For example, in April, the Department of Defense awarded us a new program that will be headquartered in Huntsville.

Under a potentially $1 billion-dollar contract, Lockheed Martin will help the U.S. Air Force develop their Hypersonic Conventional Strike Weapon.

With hypersonic technology, missiles will fly at speeds greater than Mach 5 to overcome enemy defenses. This innovation could forever change the way that the U.S. and its allies are able to deter and, if necessary, respond to conflict.

But Huntsville isn’t the only place in Alabama where Lockheed Martin Space is doing groundbreaking work.

Forty-five minutes west of Huntsville, in the town of Courtland – population 600 – we employ more than 70 people. While Courtland may seem small by the numbers, it’s big on emerging technology.

We began our operations there in 1994 on the site of a World War II-era U.S. Army Corps base – one of the Army’s most active World War II aviation-training grounds. Now we produce parts for a wide range of programs in Courtland, including commercial, military, civil, and U.S. Air Force projects.

For instance, we work on the Space Based Infrared Surveillance satellites, or SBIRS, which use powerful sensors to provide early missile warning for the U.S. military. At Courtland, we also work on NASA’s Orion, the advanced spacecraft which will carry astronauts to the moon and even Mars.

So that’s just a quick glimpse into a few of the extraordinary projects and capabilities Lockheed Martin is working on in your state.

In many ways, because of the work being done here, Alabama is both the launching pad for new innovations, and the last line of defense for protecting America and our allies.

And, at Lockheed Martin, we are deeply proud of how this energy and ingenuity has created thousands of jobs, supported tens of thousands more, and led to approximately $1.7 billion in sales annually across the state in recent years.

Here in Montgomery, there is even more reason for optimism about the future.

As was recently announced, this area is a future home for the F-35A Lightning II. In 2023, Dannelly Field will welcome the most advanced fighter jet in the world.

This is truly significant.

The F-35 program is already one of the most important programs in the history of our nation. It is the direct result of shared values and strong relationships among free nations all over the world – from Australia to Norway, from Korea to the United Kingdom.

Simply put, the globe-spanning innovation and technological leadership of the F-35 flows from decades of cooperation, collaboration, and commitment. And with the F-35 program, the United States and our allies are already benefiting from a revolutionary aircraft.

It is no secret that the world faces threats that are more complex, more volatile, and more uncertain than at any time since the end of the Cold War.

The F-35 will be critical in meeting these challenges in the 21st century.

With its stealth capabilities, its speed, its flexibility, and its interoperability, the F-35 is a game-changing aircraft in the modern battlespace.

It is a force multiplier not just for in the air, but for every part of our armed forces. And it is an aircraft – and a program – that will strengthen our allies and our ability to work together.

Since the F-35 program launched, we have made tremendous progress.

We recently celebrated the delivery of our 300th aircraft on June 8th. F-35s now operate from 15 different bases around the world.

The U.S. Marines, the U.S. Air Force, and the Israeli Air Force have all declared the F-35 Initial Operational Capability – a major milestone, indicating the aircraft is ready for combat.

The F-35 program is also important in terms of its economic impact.

In the United States alone, we work with more than 1,500 U.S.-based suppliers and employ more than 194,000 people across the U.S. – either directly or indirectly – through the F-35. The program spans 46 states and Puerto Rico.

In 2018, work for the F-35 program will result in more than $31 billion in economic impact across the country.

Here in Alabama, the F-35 will bring approximately $10.8 million in total economic impact and will support approximately 150 jobs statewide this year alone.

The progress and impact of the international F-35 program helps bring home how transformational the Air Force’s decision will be to Montgomery. By making Dannelly Field a preferred basing location for the F-35, Montgomery and the state of Alabama are positioned to benefit for decades to come.

The decision is a tribute to the state’s history of service and support for the military – and the bright future ahead. It is also a testament to the leadership of Governor Ivey, Senator Shelby, Representatives Roby and Sewell, and the entire Alabama congressional delegation.

It will lead to high-quality, well-paying jobs that will be sustained over the lifetime of the aircraft. And it will result in hundreds of additional indirect jobs.

At Lockheed Martin, we appreciate the role of Alabama in our successes.

From Troy to Huntsville, from Courtland to right here in Montgomery, we see elected leaders at every level and business leaders of companies of every size committed to cultivating an environment that enables innovation, growth, and job creation.

Alabama’s low taxes, efficient regulations, and stable policies make it a great place to plan, invest, and do business.

It is also a place where government, industry, and local communities come together to leverage each other’s strengths. This will be critical to our nation’s future.

One of the most important challenges we will face in the years ahead is building the pipeline of talent in science and engineering needed to strengthen our national security, power economic growth, and make U.S. companies globally competitive.

We will need to work together to promote science, technology, engineering, and math in the earliest grades.

We will need to encourage and mentor students, so they continue their studies through high school and college.

And we will need to create apprenticeships and internships to open up the doors of opportunity, whether a young worker goes to college, attends technical school, or goes directly into the workforce.

At Lockheed Martin, we know the decisive role talent plays in creating the innovations of the future. And we know the potential of the people of Alabama. That’s why we have partnered with Alabama Industrial Development Training.

Together, we have established the Advanced Manufacturing & Technology Center – a state-of-the-art training center at our Pike County Operations.

This $2 million-dollar project, funded by Alabama Industrial Development Training, provides worker-training opportunities for more than 450 employees and serves as a training ground for local military and state agencies.

The impact of Alabama’s workers are also why we are expanding our investments here.

Next month in Courtland we’re launching a new apprenticeship program – the Advanced Manufacturing Technician Apprenticeship Program. It will enable us to develop the highly-skilled, technical talent we need while serving an underemployed population.

When we look around the room tonight, we can see a diverse array of industries and a shared commitment to make a positive impact on the communities where we live and work.

And together, I am confident that we can implement our vision to build a strong economy and a robust Alabama workforce, ready to compete in the 21st century.

Alabama has always been “home” for me, and I am thankful that I now get to work for a company that has made such an impact on this state, and the state of Alabama on Lockheed Martin.

Lockheed Martin remains committed to partnering with Alabama on driving innovation and growth for years to come.

I would like to once again thank the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce for your invitation and hospitality. And I thank all of you for your kind attention this evening.

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