Rome '08 Workshop

Opening Remarks: An Industrial View On the International Security Scenario 

Dr. Giorgio Zappa

Alenia Aeronautica Chairman 

Dr. Giorgio Zappa

I am really glad to welcome you in Rome. We are honored that the 2008 edition of the Global Security Conference is being held in the city where Finmeccanica has its headquarters. Finmeccanica, as you know, is one of the major international groups operating globally in the aerospace defense and security sector and is one of the world’s leading groups in the field of helicopters and defense electronics. Now that we recently purchased a U.S. company, Finmeccanica has three major markets: Italy, the U.K., and the United States. 


The 2008 international scenario in which global industrial companies like Finmeccanica play shows specific phenomena that can be grouped into two main categories. In the first category, we have the well-known dynamics related to the changes in the geopolitical equilibrium. In the second category, we have globalization issues that are becoming very important. There is also growing diversity, both in the type of players—new actors such as the Briga countries, sovereign funds, international organizations including NGOs, transnational corporations, and terrorist groups—and in the type of methods and strategies adopted to pursue actions, violent or non-violent, based on lobbying or seeking support from the public. 

The growing instability in the contemporary international context gives new shape to the defense industry, whose new role involves the need to ensure not only homeland security but economic security. The effect of this change includes a continuing attempt to improve the quality and the innovation of products already in use and to set up new commodities for the global market. If the defense industry does not reach these goals, it will probably miss an important opportunity. 

The emerging concept of security, which includes homeland security or territorial control, now represents a top priority for us. Facing the current international scenario of instability, it definitely has many implications for the high-tech industry. The post-September 11 environment dramatically highlights Western countries’ weaknesses and their increasing demand for security. At the same time, it is involved in an accelerated process for developing new technology able to improve collective security standards. These new systems, whether already available or still being tested, are instrumental to responding to any possible threats. They have been identified as integrated operative missions, civil and military missions such as border control, transport security, sensitive infrastructure protection, and energy and procurement security. 


This environment produces two side effects. One, there is a need to undertake specific measures to ensure the operational capability of the police and armed forces, civilian protectors, and firefighters. Two, to provide security to citizens, we need to increase technological capability in terms of telecommunications, transportation, services, IT systems, and the integrated components in every public administration sector committed to this task. We must also invest in developing a few selected areas in order to maintain the industrial system at the highest level of high-tech. 

Finmeccanica, for example, is present in the everyday life of many people. System integration and technology innovation are the keystones of Finmeccanica’s success, as they are of other international companies’ competitive edge. For this reason, Finmeccanica invests about $1 billion a year in research and development activities—14% of revenues—which puts Finmeccanica in the best position in the international high-tech sector. We are, in other words, investing in strategic technology, anticipating market needs and customer expectations, and announcing industrial efficiency with the objective of improving our competitive advantage and cooperating with other key players—states, international organizations, institutions, and armed and paramilitary forces in the new global scenario. 


To conclude, I would like to wish you all the best at this important event. I really care about this initiative and I have cooperated with its creation and organization since the first workshop. I believe that even greater attention should be paid to this kind of event to promote the importance of the topical issues it discusses. 

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