As President Obama looks for support for his ISIS strategy, the defense sector is grappling with a changing landscape. Bobbi Rebell reports.
The ascension of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria heightens the focus on the state of the aerospace and defense sector, which have faced lower U.S. defense spending, an uncertain fate for U.S. export financing and questions about the readiness of the Pentagon's top weapons program. Now, all eyes on President Obama- and what his plan will be. Former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney: SOUNDBITE: FORMER U.S. VICE PRESIDENT DICK CHENEY (ENGLISH) SAYING: "A realistic strategy has to recognize that ISIS is a grave strategic threat to the United States. The situation is dire, and defeating these terrorists will require immediate, sustained, simultaneous action across multiple fronts. Phasing in our actions will not suffice. Such a strategy will only prolong the conflict and increase the casualties." Speaking at the Reuters Aerospace and Defense Summit, U.S. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus would not comment on any specific plan. SOUNDBITE: RAY MABUS, U.S. NAVY SECRETARY (ENGLISH) SAYING: "Whatever he says, whatever decisions he makes we will be ready to carry out. We have those options all the time not just today, but every day and not just for the Middle East but around the world." Shares of defense companies have struggled this year- after surging in 2013- and were mixed on Wednesday. Loren Thomson, Chief Operating Officer of the non-profit Lexington Institute, thinks defense industry revenues will be stable this year- and then rise. SOUNDBITE: LOREN THOMSON, CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER, LEXINGTON INSTITUTE (ENGLISH) SAYING: "I think the decline in demand from the Pentagon is bottoming out. Secondly the companies have managed to increase their overseas sales of weapons and thirdly, many of them are now investing in what they call near adjacencies, in other words markets and product areas that are very close to their traditional military lines." He adds that while he doesn't think it will happen, if the Export-Import Bank which finances purchases from companies like Boeing were to go away, the consequences for the defense industry would be severe.