About Our Ethics
At General Dynamics, we know each day our employees will make decisions that are critical to our success. To help ensure those decisions meet our company’s ethical standards, General Dynamics’ Board of Directors and management have devoted significant time and resources to maintaining an active and robust ethics program.
Since the inception of our formal ethics program in 1986, we have maintained a Standards of Business Ethics and Conduct handbook that applies to all employees. The handbook, internally known as the “Blue Book,” has been updated as we have grown over the years and has been translated into several languages as we have expanded internationally.
The handbook states clearly our expectation that all employees will conduct business in accordance with the law, our policies, our values and our business-ethics principles. It contains rules and guidance on how employees are to conduct business, whether dealing with customers, suppliers or each other. It reminds employees to sustain General Dynamics’ ethical business reputation by adhering to our principles of integrity, honesty and respect. An extremely important facet of the Blue Book is the prohibition against retaliation for any person who raises in good faith an ethics or compliance issue. The Blue Book also states that we expect our suppliers, vendors, contractors and joint venture partners to develop ethics and compliance programs that are consistent with our values in all material respects.
We have adopted additional ethics codes specifically applicable to our financial professionals and the Board of Directors to supplement the Blue Book. The Code of Ethics for Financial Professionals applies to the chief executive officer, chief financial officer, controller, and any person performing similar financial functions for General Dynamics. All personnel subject to the Finance Code are required to periodically recertify their compliance. In addition, there is a Code of Conduct for members of the Board of Directors that embodies the board’s commitment to manage our business in accordance with the highest standards of ethical conduct. Copies of the Blue Book, Code of Ethics and Code of Conduct are available in the Corporate Governance section of this website.
Business Ethics Principles
Use Assets Wisely
- How we manage assets reflects our personal values, our company values and determines our ability to earn a fair return.
Offer a Fair Deal
- We offer the best products at a reasonable price.
- We make hard decisions and tackle tough choices.
- How we go about making these decisions reflects our values.
Deliver on Promises
- We are people of our word - we deliver on our promises.
- We are responsible to our stakeholders and earn their trust every day.
Earn a Fair Return
- Our reputation is based on our ability to use our values to generate profits.
- As we deliver on our promises, we must contract for a fair return.
The General Dynamics ethics program provides many resources to help employees “do the right thing.” Day-to-day oversight is provided at the corporate office by an ethics program manager. Overall leadership is provided by a chief ethics officer who reports directly to the Chairman and CEO on all ethics program matters. The ethics officer briefs the Audit Committee of the Board of Directors twice a year at regularly scheduled meetings. In addition, the program is managed at each business unit by a business unit ethics officer, with support from local ethics officers. The 13 business unit ethics officers and 120 local ethics officers implement the ethics program by:
- Distributing the Blue Book and conducting orientation for all new employees;
- Developing policies, procedures and work rules that, in conjunction with the Blue Book, govern employee conduct at the business units;
- Ensuring that all employees receive periodic refresher training regarding the ethics program and any specific topic areas that are critical to the performance of their jobs;
- Responding to questions about interpretation and application of rules and policies;
- Providing advice and guidance to help employees resolve ethical dilemmas and make decisions;
- Receiving reports of employee concerns regarding ethical matters; and
- Conducting and overseeing prompt, thorough and objective investigations of all reported allegations of suspected ethical misconduct and taking corrective action, if necessary.
In addition to communicating our standards in the Blue Book, the ethics program also helps sustain our reputation by detecting and addressing unethical conduct early. Our program includes a 24-hour-a-day, seven-day- a-week, confidential Business Ethics Helpline. Employees can contact the Helpline via telephone or secure website to communicate any business ethics-related concerns or seek guidance on inquiries. Callers may remain anonymous if they wish. The helpline accepts calls in 30 different languages. All matters are investigated and resolved promptly.