It has become an article of faith among defense experts in both parties that defense companies, even the biggest ones, are not innovative. If you want something creative, the thinking goes, you should turn to Silicon Valley. However, the evidence suggests otherwise: big military contractors are among the most innovative enterprises in the world, because that is what their federal customer demands. So why doesn’t most of official Washington grasp that fact? Because the technologies involved are often arcane and secret, the media seldom reports positive news about programs, and it is too easy to confuse the results of byzantine government processes with the performance of contractors. Companies like Lockheed and Raytheon regularly achieve outcomes that no purely commercial company could accomplish. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.
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