Nope, it isn't speed, it the ability to specify an upper bound to the response time that is required for deterministic operation. You need to be able to complete your desired task as well (which relates to speed), but the deterministic requirement simply states that you will always have to the opportunity to do your task every N time intervals.
For example, in a modern plane like the B2 or JSF, you may need to adjust the control surfaces every 10 ms in order to guarantee stable flight. You know that this will work because you ran the simulations that showed that 10 ms will work. If the response time exceeds this, the plane may be stable or it may not be, but you don't want to find out while it is flying.
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