Northrop Grumman CEO Kathy Warden joins ‘Influencers with Andy Serwer’ to discuss business with Russia and providing arms to Ukraine.
ANDY SERWER: I want to drill down a little bit here and talk about what’s going on in Europe and Russia and Ukraine. My understanding is– and correct me if I’m wrong– that you guys are not doing business with the Russians or banned from Russia. Can you talk about that, first of all, at all?
KATHY WARDEN: Well, we were, until very recently, buying rocket engines from Russia. And this was an agreed upon relationship between the US and Russian governments through NASA. And we did just break that relationship and have put in place an alternative source for supplying those rocket engines to allow us to still provide resupply to the International Space Station.
And so now we, Northrop Grumman, no longer have any reliance on Russian supply. And that is a place that we wanted to be in working with the US government, but wanted to do in a way that all parties were involved in a smooth transition. And that’s what we were able to accomplish.
ANDY SERWER: Yeah, I mean, you could argue that it’s too bad. I mean, it seems like the Space Station was one place where the United States and Russia was cooperating in. I gather that seems to be breaking down a little bit.
KATHY WARDEN: Well, I would let NASA comment on the relationship that still exists behind the International Space Station, but it’s been a long-term objective of the US to have our own US-based supply of rocket engines that would support propulsion into space.
And so this was a natural evolution that was bound to happen. And yes, I would say that it broke down a little more rapidly because of the conflict in Ukraine and Russia’s actions there. But there is still a desire. And again, NASA would comment on this more fully for cooperation related to the Space Station.
ANDY SERWER: And that’s fascinating. And what about Ukraine itself, Kathy? Are you guys, is Northrop Grumman supplying arms to the Ukrainians? How are you guys involved in that theater?
KATHY WARDEN: We are supplying arms to the Ukrainians, largely through the US and European allies. And we do that through contracts that we have with those governments, not directly to the government of Ukraine. And we’re proud to be supporting the efforts of the Ukrainian people. It’s very sad to see what has happened in that country and a recognition that innocent people are losing their lives on a daily basis, related to not being able to protect and defend themselves. So we want to give them the opportunity to do so.