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General Dynamics CEO Phebe Novakovic Cites ‘Moral Imperative’ to Support US, Allies

Phebe Novakovic, chairman and CEO of General Dynamics (NYSE: GD) and a 2021 Wash100 Award winner, believes in the patriotism of her role as head of the Reston, Virginia-based aerospace and defense company that supports U.S. policy and the mission of the Department of Defense, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday.

“It is our moral imperative to support our nation and to support our nation’s allies in the work they do to keep democracies safe,” Novakovic, a CIA veteran, told WSJ in an interview.

She noted that the company has the duty to help defend the liberties that people often fail to recognize and appreciate, adding that those are “principles, not politics.” 

In May, Novakovic responded to an activist’s remarks during a shareholder meeting, saying the company’s armored vehicles, nuclear-powered submarines and other systems are meant to “deter evil—and there is evil in this world.” 

Novakovic stressed that “there’s a fundamental consistency about the importance of national security” despite considerable policy shifts associated with administration changes. She also highlighted the need for the U.S. to engage with allies.

“Great nations survive when they have lots of allies, despite how difficult they are, despite how unfair or unequal in contribution they may be,” she told WSJ. “No nation is an island, successfully.” 

In December 2019, General Dynamics Electric Boat received a potential $22.2 billion contract to build nine Block V Virginia-class submarines. The multiyear contract includes an option for one additional ship, which could bring the total contract value to about $24.1 billion.

Novakovic said submarines “are securing our borders every day in ways you don’t even know because they can’t be found.”

She also discussed the importance of resilience and how the company’s corporate ethos that values trust, honesty and transparency helped General Dynamics improve morale and navigate the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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