Interview with 2014 INSA Achievement Award Winner Josh Markow, Edwin H. Land Industry Award

Josh Markow, Northrop Grumman Corporation

Josh Markow, Northrop Grumman

The Intelligence and National Security Alliance (INSA) will hold its 5th Annual Achievement Awards ceremony Thursday, Nov. 13, at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Washington, D.C. The ceremony will honor six professionals in the intelligence and national security sectors for their professional contributions to the community.

Lt. Gen. Mary Legere, Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence in the U.S. Army, will deliver the keynote address.

WashingtonExec spoke with award recipients about their nominations, what it means to them, their mission and more.

Today’s featured interview is with Josh Markow, recipient of the Edwin H. Land Industry Award. He currently works as a Chief Engineer, Army Programs for Airborne & Terrestrial SIGINT Operating Unit at Northrop Grumman.

WashingtonExec: Did you know you were nominated for the award, or was it a surprise?

Josh Markow: I found out about the nomination about a month before the submission deadline, but I was very surprised to hear I was nominated.

WashingtonExec: Have you prepared a speech, or do you plan on saying the first thing that comes to mind?

Josh Markow: Yes. I have a short speech prepared.

WashingtonExec: How would you describe your mission?

Josh Markow: We build systems that allow an operator to select part of the RF spectrum, listen to anyone who may be communicating across the selected RF spectrum, and geo-locate the person of interest. In other words, we enable warfighters to identify and find individuals of interest by exploiting the RF spectrum from an airborne platform.

WashingtonExec: Finish the sentence: The best part of about my job is…

Josh Markow: The best part of my job is working with a highly talented group of engineers to develop advanced technical solutions that help keep fellow warfighters safe and aid in national security. It is great to know there is a higher purpose to what I produce and that it makes a difference in the fight.

WashingtonExec: Could you name an aspect of your job that you did not expect when you were first brought on?

Josh Markow: One aspect of the job I did not expect was the legacy and the history of the technology. Since joining NGC, I have learned about the more than 40 year history of airborne ISR performed by this group for the Department of Defense and, in particular, the Army.

WashingtonExec: Who is someone you admire or who has been a mentor to you throughout your career?

Josh Markow: Throughout my career in industry I have had several mentors, but the one who stands out the most is my first mentor, Ed Selden. Ed was a Senior Principle Systems Engineer and the Chief Engineer on several large ISR systems. He is now retired. He was a great mentor because he not only taught me about the technical aspects of our system but explained the justification for the design and how it met mission requirements.

WashingtonExec: What is something you are most proud of, personally?

Josh Markow: Professionally, I am proud of a several accomplishments in the past few years. The first was the completion of a capability that truly makes a difference in the cost and availability of ISR systems by enabling our system to be calibrated eight times faster. The second is the research performed on HF direction finding and geolocation. The research helps fill a gap in the capabilities available to warfighters and will make a difference.

WashingtonExec: What organizations are you involved with outside of work?

Josh Markow: Outside of work, I volunteer at my church and spend most of my time with my family. We spend our time hiking, camping, traveling, and doing home improvement projects.

WashingtonExec: What more do you think organizations in the intelligence community should be doing to engage the millennial workforce?

Josh Markow: I find that millennials tends to be more engaged when they understand the impact their work makes to the customer. They want to better understand the mission and how they can have an impact. I think this helps them see the bigger picture and the higher purpose to their work.

WashingtonExec: What is your favorite intelligence movie or book?

Josh Markow: I really enjoy The Hunt for Red October. Throughout the movie, the intelligence analyst uses many different sources, which shows, in part, how data is used to build an intelligence picture and make critical decisions. It is also just a really good movie.

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