New Strategic Imperatives For The Defense Industry

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What business are you really in? This deceptively simple question enjoys special standing in the catechism of corporate strategy. Harvard’s Theodore Levitt used it in a 1960 article to underscore what the Harvard Business Review regarded in 2004 as “the most influential marketing idea of the past half-century: that businesses will do better in the end if they concentrate on meeting customers’ needs rather than on selling products.” Or, as Professor Levitt liked hammering home to his students, “People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill; they want a quarter-inch hole!” Levitt’s commandment came quickly to mind reading Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s recent speech at Pearl Harbor, in which he advanced integrated deterrence, a “new vision of what it means to defend our nation.”

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