The Land Combat Systems (LCS) industry has significantly changed over the last decade. The days when production lines and factories hummed at peak capacity are gone. Orders for land combat systems have been reduced by nearly two-thirds since 1990, and competition for what few procurement dollars remain is stiff. Despite the overall decline in business for land combat systems, firms that have survived have shown a remarkable ability to adapt to this new environment. The industry has moved toward wholly owned subsidiaries, joint ventures, and government to government programs to cut costs, improve profit margins, and better serve customers. These changes represent a new way in which the defense industry works. Meeting customer requirements and improving profitability have become the new corporate benchmarks for measuring success. The LCS industry has also sharpened the focus of its research and development (R&D) to exploit key technology capabilities and performance niches. Those in the industry with the foresight to invest in human capital, to allocate resources to R&D, to take advantage of information technology, to expand their markets beyond traditional boundaries, and to analyze national strategic direction will be the ones that develop competitive advantage. Land combat systems will always be needed as long as there are threats to national security. The challenge for the LCS industry is how well it can provide cost-effective solutions for today's threats while anticipating tomorrow's dangers.
Industry Studies 2001