Third Consecutive Superior Security Rating for Meads Prime Contractor
ORLANDO/MUNICH/ROME, 11/14/2007 --
For the third consecutive year, MEADS International (MI) has received Superior ratings in an annual audit by the U.S. Defense Security Service (DSS). DSS completed a three-day review in October and rated the multiple classified program areas that support the Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS) program.
MEADS is the 21st century replacement for Patriot air and missile defense systems in the United States and Germany, and for the Nike Hercules system in Italy.
DSS has responsibility for approximately 12,000 cleared contractor facilities. Of them, fewer than five percent demonstrate Superior performance, which is the highest rating for an industrial security program.
A Superior rating is reserved for contractors that consistently and fully implement the requirements of the National Industrial Security Program Operating Manual in an effective fashion resulting in a superior security posture, compared with other contractors of similar size and complexity. The facility must have documented procedures that heighten the security awareness of employees and foster a spirit of cooperation within the security community. This rating requires a sustained high level of management support for the security program and the absence of any serious security issues.
In announcing the results, DSS team leader Rob Gerardi noted that although MI received a Superior rating in 2006, the inspection team found several improvements to the security program this year. Gerardi complimented the MI security team and acknowledged the additional requirements MI must implement in support of tri-national development of the MEADS system. The inspectors noted widespread employee awareness and active control of classified information throughout the program.
MEADS International Security Manager Ron Walls said, The success of this week's review is a credit to the 200 Orlando-based employees of MI. Even as our personnel base continues to grow, every employee has been absolutely committed to protection of sensitive program information. Through their sustained efforts, we have demonstrated successive Superior ratings in multiple program areas.
We also recognize the continuing support we receive from Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control at our host facility in Orlando. We benefit greatly from their strong security support, and from our European partner companies LFK and MBDA, he added.
MEADS International President Jim Cravens said, Our unique international organization has a special mission to develop a system that will protect Warfighters from Germany, Italy and the United States against future air and missile defense threats. All MEADS employees know how important it is to protect vital information that will make certain MEADS cannot be compromised and will improve protection for our soldiers and airmen in the years ahead.
In June, DSS announced that MEADS International was among 30 companies selected to receive the 2007 James S. Cogswell Outstanding Industrial Security Achievement Award. The award is the most prestigious honor DSS bestows on a cleared facility and is presented annually. It is presented to defense contractors that demonstrate excellence in industrial security, including a security program that goes well beyond basic National Industrial Security Program requirements. It was the second time that MI has received the award.
MEADS will provide capabilities beyond any other fielded or planned air and missile defense system. It will be easily deployed to a theater of operations and once there, will keep pace with fast-moving maneuver forces. When completed, MEADS will be the only air and missile defense system able to roll off tactical transports with the troops and almost immediately begin operations. More importantly, its open architecture will provide for 21st century air and missile defense system-of-system integration capabilities that allow operational mission-tailoring for homeland defense or defense of maneuver forces. MEADS will also provide greater firepower with less manpower than current systems, producing dramatic operation and support cost savings.
In May 2005, MEADS International signed a definitized contract valued at $2 billion plus €1.4 billion for MEADS design and development. A multinational joint venture headquartered in Orlando, FL, MI's participating companies are MBDA Italia, Lenkflugkörpersysteme (LFK) in Germany and Lockheed Martin in the United States. Together, these companies have focused an international engineering team in Orlando to develop systems and technologies for the MEADS program, which is closely watched as a model for collaborative transatlantic development. The United States funds 58 percent of the MEADS program, and European partners Germany and Italy provide 25 percent and 17 percent respectively.