Kent Kresa, Chairman and CEO of Northrop Grumman

This is a partial transcript from Your World with Neil Cavuto, February 11, 2003, that was edited for clarity. Click here for complete access to all of Neil Cavuto's CEO interviews.

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NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: To hear military experts tell it, Usama bin Laden all but guaranteed a war with Iraq. His voice purportedly urging Muslims to rally around Iraq, rallying many to the notion that war is inevitable there, now that the Usama-Saddam and that connection seems so clear. Time now for defense industry reaction. And for that we've saved our biggest gun. With us now, Kent Kresa, the man who runs defense giant Northrop Grumman, whose B-2 bomber leads a high-tech arsenal at the forefront of any U.S. attack.

Mr. Kresa, good to have you, thanks for coming in.


CAVUTO: I don't want to put you on the spot on this tape, but a lot of people are saying it sort of coalesces this Al Qaeda-Iraq connection, doesn't it?

KRESA: Certainly. It does show a connection. It certainly says that Al Qaeda is looking at this war and feels that is it going to be inevitable and is clearly rallying the people to stand firm against the United States. What the total connection is, I can't say. But I haven't seen the transcript so I really can't comment in detail.

CAVUTO: As one of the largest defense contractors on the planet, and we suspect that Usama bin Laden is still alive -- just leave Saddam out of the equation -- this means that the terror war goes on and on and on; right?

KRESA: Absolutely. The terror war is going to go on, must go on. We have to deal with this thing. And it's probably going to take many, many years to finish it. And I think we, the American public, have to be prepared to support a very strong military and support continuing this until we have really annihilated the threat.

CAVUTO: Are you surprised that in this country and certainly throughout much of Europe that support is not universal, that there are serious doubts about how much more we should commit to defense or for that matter, how much we should commit to Iraq?

KRESA: I think that is troubling to me. I don't quite understand it all. One thing I could is that they have been living in terror for years in various parts of Europe. As we know, they have had a lot more of it than we have. And maybe they are immune to the problem. But I frankly don't see why they are not getting behind and rallying behind us a lot more than they are.

CAVUTO: Do you worry as a defense contractor, Kent, if we go into Iraq without the French, without the Germans, without the Russians who said that any serious move on our part violently in Iraq would be a mortal mistake, that that handicaps us?

KRESA: Well, certainly from a technical point of view, a military point of view, we can handle this by ourselves. There is a strong desire politically, however, to have all of our allies with us, because we are all in this together. And if we have division between the allies, I think that's a difficult problem. But technically, we have the very strong military to be able to handle this problem. And if we have got to go, if the president says we are going, we're ready.

CAVUTO: You're everything, you've got the warships, the satellites, the technical capabilities, the B-2, of course, which you're well-known for, handicap it for me, we go in, how long is it?

KRESA: That's a very hard thing to say. I hope it is very, very short.

CAVUTO: What is very short?

KRESA: A few weeks.

CAVUTO: Really?

KRESA: Yes, I mean, I think that there's certainly a possibility, but it depend on what the plan is. And I.

CAVUTO: What about chemical warfare response?

KRESA: Well, if there is chemical warfare, if there is chemical response, we have got to deal with it. I think we can deal with it. It slows things down, but we have the ability to do that as well.

CAVUTO: Do you have a sense that the rest of the world will come and support us on this?

KRESA: I am the wrong one to ask. I think you have to talk to people in the government.

CAVUTO: They have a pretty good read of what is going on, right?

KRESA: Well, we're really supporting the military and we're making sure that everything that they have is going to work well. When they need equipment, we want to make sure it is ready. And so the whole industry, not just Northrop Grumman, but all of us are behind our fighting people, making sure that whatever they need they are going to get, whether we have to work 24 hours a day on Saturday and Sunday, we're ready.

CAVUTO: Which I have a feeling you've already been doing. Thank you very much. Good seeing you again.

KRESA: Good seeing you, Neil.

CAVUTO: Kent Kresa, the man who runs Northrop Grumman, among the largest defense contractors anywhere.

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