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Who's in the Video
Steven R. Loranger is the Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer ITT Corporation.  A former U.S. Navy pilot, he currently sits on the board of FedEx Corporation.

Protecting the troops with the latest equipment is first on the list of priorities.

Question: What advice do you have for the administration?

Steve Loranger: Well, from our perspective, the first thing that needs to be addressed is taking care of the troops.  We got a lot of men and women that, bless their hearts, are doing dangerous work for the United States to defend freedom.  And I think it’s important that we make sure that they have the latest technology.  You heard about reset or recharge.  What those words mean is that some of our arm service personnel, particularly those in conflict, have used up some of their equipment.  They don’t have all the modern and all the latest of the equipment that they need.  And I think it’s important that we make sure that they have the latest technology and the best equipment to be able to position appropriately around the world.  So taking care of the troops and making sure that they’re recharged with equipment. 

You know, the second policy, you know, I would have to say, and this get, somewhat, political is that we have to understand the military and the military industrial component very, very well before we get involved in future conflicts.  And it’s not to say that we don’t do the very best job we can but, obviously, you know, we got into Iraq.  It’s going to be hard to get out of Iraq both from a political standpoint and a sociological standpoint.  And so, understanding these components of the foreign policy equation, I think, are very, very important.  The other thing, I think, we have to learn as Americans, and so I would offer this advice to our administration, and that is we are a participant in a broad, global, political network.  And I think it’s very, very important for us to make sure that we bring along the other key global constituents of that network as we think about foreign policy.  This is a change for the United States.  It’s, obviously, very complex to think through.  But nonetheless, I think if we can advance together with our, you know, arms lock together with other global partners with respect to foreign policy, that would ultimately be beneficial. 

Question: Why did the defense industry get a bad name in Iraq?

Steve Loranger: There were a few, there were, you know, some highlighted examples of something like time card charging or, you know, some events which occurred that, I think, were somewhat surgical in nature.  And in the grand scheme of things, we’re relatively small.  Unfortunately, I believe that the defense industry was painted unfairly with respect to what you refer to as a disequilibrium.  I think it’s important to recognize that the defense industry is comprised of a very, very strongly dedicated, patriotic group of people.  Many of our companies, 30%, 40% of them are ex-military members in the defense private sector today.  And, you know, this is an industry that not only is doing very, very essential things for the US defense of freedom, for everything that we have in this country, but doing things in a very compliant and a very socially responsible and philanthropic way.  And so, when you look at the defense industry in the aggregate, it’s a wonderful industry.  It’s populated with a great group of high quality, high character individuals.  And as a consequence, I would like to see more of a positive brush painted over this industry ‘cause this is the industry that’s creating the technology and the know-how to allow the United States to operate as effectively as it does. 

Recorded on: May 13, 2009