Norman R. Augustine was raised in Colorado and attended Princeton University where he graduated with a BSE in Aeronautical Engineering, magna cum laude, and an MSE. He was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, Tau Beta Pi and Sigma Xi.
In 1958 he joined the Douglas Aircraft Company in California where he worked as a Research Engineer, Program Manager and Chief Engineer. Beginning in 1965, he served in the Office of the Secretary of Defense as Assistant Director of Defense Research and Engineering. He joined LTV Missiles and Space Company in 1970, serving as Vice President, Advanced Programs and Marketing. In 1973 he returned to the government as Assistant Secretary of the Army and in 1975 became Under Secretary of the Army, and later Acting Secretary of the Army. Joining Martin Marietta Corporation in 1977 as Vice President of Technical Operations, he was elected as CEO in 1987 and chairman in 1988, having previously been President and COO. He served as president of Lockheed Martin Corporation upon the formation of that company in 1995, and became CEO later that year. He retired as chairman and CEO of Lockheed Martin in August 1997, at which time he became a Lecturer with the Rank of Professor on the faculty of Princeton University where he served until July 1999.
Mr. Augustine was Chairman and Principal Officer of the American Red Cross for nine years, Chairman of the Council of the National Academy of Engineering, President and Chairman of the Association of the United States Army, Chairman of the Aerospace Industries Association, and Chairman of the Defense Science Board. He is a former President of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and the Boy Scouts of America. He is a former member of the Board of Directors of ConocoPhillips, Black & Decker, Proctor & Gamble and Lockheed Martin, and was a member of the Board of Trustees of Colonial Williamsburg. He is a Regent of the University System of Maryland, Trustee Emeritus of Johns Hopkins and a former member of the Board of Trustees of Princeton and MIT. He is a member of the Advisory Board of the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy, was a member of the Hart/Rudman Commission on National Security, and served for 16 years on the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. He is a member of the American Philosophical Society, the National Academy of Sciences and the Council on Foreign Affairs, and is a Fellow of the National Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Explorers Club.
Mr. Augustine has been presented the National Medal of Technology by the President of the United States and received the Joint Chiefs of Staff Distinguished Public Service Award. He has five times received the Department of Defense’s highest civilian decoration, the Distinguished Service Medal. He is co-author of The Defense Revolution and Shakespeare In Charge and author of Augustine’s Laws and Augustine’s Travels. He holds 27 honorary degrees and was selected by Who’s Who in America and the Library of Congress as one of “Fifty Great Americans” on the occasion of Who’s Who’s fiftieth anniversary. He has traveled in 109 countries and stood on both the North and South Poles of the earth.
My ten years in government were among the most rewarding of my career - but I must confess that I am not a fan of big government. It was my observation that government is often at its best when it is helping the private sector do those things that the latter can’t undertake on its own: pursuits that are clearly in the public interest but where the fruits of those pursuits may not accrue to their underwriters and performers or where those pursuits entail high risks and unduly large investments or extend over a prolonged period of time. In such cases, relatively modest government investments can be used to benefit the citizenry as a whole.
Investors often refer to a “Valley of Death” which new initiatives often have to transit. I tend to think of not one but two such valleys; the first when an idea offers considerable promise yet retains substantial risk of technical failure; and the second when the idea’s basic feasibility has been proven but its economic viability at scale is still uncertain. These are the tipping points where constructive government intervention can make all the difference. And these are the points when leaders, government and private sector alike, must think out of the box and persevere in the face of considered risks.
For instance, in the aerospace portion of my career, I observed many of our nation’s greatest aerospace inventions - Hubble Space Telescope, Reconnaissance Satellites and Polaris, to name a few - suffer major early failures only to overcome setbacks and ultimately achieve success. In each of these cases cooperation between government and the private sector - to find creative solutions and overcome difficult technical challenges - eventually produced positive outcomes.
Only by creating win-win partnerships between government and the private sector that encourage American ingenuity and perseverance can we hope to solve such societal challenges as providing clean, affordable, sustainable energy, assuring national security, protecting the natural environment, and maintaining a strong economy.