Director-General of Indra*
“The defense and security sectors have given us some very important knowledge and capabilities in basic technologies, methodologies, and the development of highly qualified professionals”
What does it mean for Indra to be a company working not only, but also in the defense industry?
Indra is fundamentally a technology company. Moreover, we deal with very complex technology that takes in the communications sector, IT, electronics, and now contents and process operations. Through defense and security the company has learned how to manage very complex, real-time technologies that we have applied to other sectors of activity over the years, including traffic, transport, infrastructures, and even energy and the financial sector. In the case of a company like ours, the defense and security sectors have given us some very important knowledge and capabilities in basic technologies, methodologies, and the development of highly qualified professionals, as well as in spheres of innovation that have also been decisive in terms of their applications to other sectors of activity.
Do we need to move toward a greater European concentration of defense industries?
The only formula for survival is precisely that of internationalization, of size and competitiveness. In a country the size of Spain, it is clear that this cannot be achieved in all spheres of activity. The army that is being created from a selection of essential capabilities and long-term strategic planning may offer us the possibility of sustaining competitiveness in selected segments. However, when it comes to the set of activities that are required to maintain the defense and security of our country, Spain is already dependent on its allies and partners in NATO (Europe and the United States), and that is where we need to continue to forge industrial alliances that are sufficiently powerful to allow us to maintain some essential capabilities.
Is it possible to continue to do more with less?
We are kind of reaching our limits. We have been experiencing a period of dwindling budgets since 2008. That’s seven years, and that’s almost like losing a generation from the point of view of the development of new programs, and defense projects demand long timeframes. If we do not make it our vocation to develop this new generation, it will be difficult for us to make the grade and be at the cutting edge, not just in order to compete with other companies but even to be able to collaborate with other countries and regions. There have been some encouraging forecasts, with a certain budget increase predicted for 2016. Over the long term, I would reiterate the idea that we are still not ambitious enough.
Why do we need to have our own defense industry?
Because there are a series of threats that are Spain’s responsibility, or linked to its geographic position, that we have to address. Our own industry allows us to tackle these issues with a greater degree of agility, quality, speed, and security. Having a sufficiently strong defense industry allows you to be able to sit around the table and discuss certain geopolitical issues with greater knowledge and skill.
Do we do enough in the fifth dimension, in cyberspace?
No. We are unaware of the extent to which our knowledge and assets are unprotected. This is a sphere in which we need to invest, since it costs money to be protected in the fifth dimension.
*At the time of this interview.