Northrop’s Kathy Warden: Air Force’s Urgency to Replace ICBM Keeps GBSD Program on Pace

Kathy Warden
Kathy Warden

Kathy Warden, chairman, president and CEO of Northrop Grumman and a 2020 Wash100 award winner, said she believes future budget pressures as a result of the coronavirus pandemic will not have an impact on the schedule of the U.S. Air Force’s $85B Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent intercontinental ballistic missile program, the Washington Business Journal reported Wednesday.

“We are actually seeing quite the opposite focus, a focus on schedule and the importance of getting through the engineering phase of this program on time,” Warden said Wednesday during a livestream of the Bernstein Strategic Decisions Conference. "The reason is our ICBMs are aging and they need to be replaced. In order to do that, we need to get through the engineering, manufacturing and development phase of this contract.”  

Northrop is the sole bidder for the GBSD contract, which is expected to be awarded in the summer to replace the service’s the Minuteman III ICBM system. The Air Force carried out in late April a three-day preliminary design review of Northrop’s proposed system for the program.

Warden said the company is keeping an eye on COVID-19’s impact on international markets and is focused on serving its defense customers amid the pandemic.

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