CSC’s Larry Prior on Finding Growth in the Defense and Intelligence Communities

Larry Prior, CSC

Larry Prior, CSC

Last month, Larry Prior was named Vice President and General Manager of CSC’s Defense and Intelligence Group.

Before joining CSC, Prior served as COO of BAE Systems, Inc. and as COO and President of ManTech International Corporation.

The former Marine Corps intelligence officer spoke to WashingtonExec to discuss his new role, his outlook of the marketplace in the next 12-18 months, and growth areas for the defense and intelligence communities.

WashingtonExec:  Could you describe your new role and what CSC’s new plan is in terms of realignment?

Larry Prior:  I’m leading the defense and intelligence businesses of CSC. They had been two separately managed groups and are now combined to leverage the natural synergies across the various businesses. One of my key goals is to drive collaboration across the business and across networks to support missions for customers that naturally work together and would benefit from it.

WashingtonExec:  What do you think we will see in the marketplace in the next twelve to eighteen months in terms of sequestration and the outlying budgets?

Larry Prior:  I think the market is going to be incredibly dynamic and that sequestration is here to stay. There will be some good reprogramming efforts on top of it but it’s been a fundamental shift and an inflection point in our marketplace. I think it reflects a couple of cycles but a fundamental change from what we saw in the decade after 9/11.

All of us in the industry have to manage efficiently and effectively for our customers. At the same time, we have to look for investments in new technologies and opportunities to bring growth back to our companies after working through the early days of sequestration.

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“I really believe it’s a brave new world in terms of the next generation technologies that are going to define our networks, how we think about data and how we help all of our customers globally use the power of processing and transport to be really successful”

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WashingtonExec:  What opportunities are you seeing out there specifically in the defense and intelligence industries for growth?

Larry Prior:  I really believe it’s a brave new world in terms of the next generation technologies that are going to define our networks, how we think about data and how we help all of our customers globally use the power of processing and transport to be really successful. What it’s not is, after 9/11 there was a huge rush to fill that void around mission; things like analysis and targeting that was so desperately needed as we ramped for hot wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. I think that world is forever changed now with the budget cuts, sequestration and just the stresses on the economies. A lot of that will go back, I think rightfully, to government where our government partners that wear those blue badges will once again assert a lot more of their effort around analysis, targeting and collection.

Those of us in industry will help our client’s mission by moving to cloud architectures, working through big data, and helping them out to the edge of the network with mobility.

WashingtonExec:  Are you seeing more small business set aside contract that you are looking to partner with?

Larry Prior:  There are several government agencies that are so good at helping small business. CSC has been a brilliant partner in helping these customers. I think it’s also important to recognize when we come to sequestration and areas where there are sudden cuts in O&M, a large corporation with a strong balance sheet can help from its prime position to sustain both itself as well as work with its partners to best manage through those challenges. I think it’s absolutely imperative that we work closely with small business and look for strong teaming relationships that really foster innovation.

WashingtonExec:  Where do you see the balance of maintaining individual privacy when paired with national security threats?

Larry Prior:  I think you have to do both. We’ve had a wonderful distinction for decades between what the Intelligence Community does globally versus what it does domestically.  There has always been a very significant line drawn where the community is much more flexible defending the nation’s interest in foreign waters. What 9/11 taught us is, with some of the “lone wolf attacks” that have taken place since then, that we need to be very thoughtful about how terrorists threats cross those artificial boundaries and spend a lot of time working across defense, intelligence and with law enforcement to do it properly under the rule of law.

When we think about privacy, much of that has changed dramatically thanks to corporations like Google and Facebook; and it’s fundamentally changed how we think about privacy. We also have to be careful – there is a real difference between privacy and unreasonable search and seizure. Even then, there is a high standard for respect for the law and the commitment by leaders in all branches of our government to the rule of law. There will be many hearings and debates, but that is a nice foundation to begin with as we protect the nation, try to balance the rule of law, the fourth amendment rights, as well as the general uncharted waters of privacy and a global e-connect to the world.

WashingtonExec:  What has been the best piece of advice that you have ever received?

Larry Prior:  From the Marine Corps, we were taught the proper way to think about leadership.  Just think of the best teacher you ever had and how they inspired you and helped you do more than you thought possible. How a coach made you run that extra hard 440, or just imagine as a parent all of the drama of seeing your kid succeed and survive through high school. There is something around that emotional commitment that at times we forget to bring that to work. I think that’s probably the best advice that I’ve ever been given – bring leadership to work every day.

WashingtonExec:  What advice do you have for young Marine Officers and executives in the Intel community?

Larry Prior:  I think it would be to stay committed to the mission and have a great network of friends; both the official ones that you work with every day and the unofficial ones that are in your iPhone that you connect with all of the time. Over the course of decades, those relationships will sustain you and you will do great things for your nation, family and for yourself.

 

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