Paul Gentile is engaged in the most exciting and challenging work of his life.
As general manager of ManTech’s Security Solutions business unit, Gentile brings more than 40 years’ experience to bear advancing solutions on behalf of the intelligence community – these days, as cyber threats accelerate at the nation-state level, through deadly malware, ransomware, and DNS hijackings, among other threats.
“Staying ahead of such attacks can be a neck-and-neck race,” says Gentile, who assumed his role with ManTech’s Mission, Cyber and Intelligence Solutions (MCIS) business unit in November 2013. Along the way ManTech has maintained its standing as the leading provider of insider threat protection to the government.
Learn the latest advances Gentile and his team are providing intelligence community customers – in areas such as ManTech’s Full-Spectrum Cyber capabilities – and how such measures speak to one overarching goal: Securing the future.
WashingtonExec: Your career spans 40-plus years – Raytheon, Leidos, SAIC and, since November 2013, ManTech International Corporation. How does your background inform your current role as senior vice president and business unit general manager?
Paul Gentile: I’ve had the opportunity to work with the intelligence community during a period of vast global, technological, and policy change – from the days preceding the dissolution of the USSR to the emergence of a new generation of dangerous totalitarian nation states, the 9/11 attacks by Al-Qaeda, the rise and fall of ISIS in the Middle East, its spread to other parts of the world, and the emergence of an equally ominous threat – the lone wolf terrorist.
During this period, intelligence support systems have ramped up at an incredible rate to keep pace with advances in mobile, IP, RF, satellite, biometric, IP video monitoring and other technologies. Public policy has been equally fluid and complex, requiring the IC and contractors alike to be well-versed in relevant laws and rulings that stretch from the recent Supreme Court decision on mobile call records, to 2015’s USA Freedom Act, all the way back to the Foreign Intelligence Service Act of 1978.
My experience in all these areas has prepared me for the most exciting and challenging job of my life, as general manager of ManTech’s Security Solutions business unit.
WashingtonExec: In 2013 you were tapped to help grow ManTech’s full spectrum of cyber services – what do you see as the most pressing challenges faced by the intelligence community and other federal agencies now, in 2018?
Paul Gentile: The intelligence community recognizes that the outcomes of tomorrow’s global confrontations, or hopefully the ability to head them off, will be determined in a binary universe ruled by the masters of cyber. In that regard, the IC has done a superb job of accelerating digital initiatives that transfer data collection and management to the cloud, protect that data from intrusive elements, and provide critical insights that give our country a vital necessary edge. Other federal agencies are making gains, too, thanks to new funding made possible by passage of the Modernizing Government Technology Act last year, as part of the appropriations bill.
The greatest challenge to all is that tech innovation doesn’t happen in a vacuum. At the nation-state level America faces very sophisticated opponents in the cyber arena, capable of unleashing deadly malware, ransomware, DNS hijacking, man-in-the-middle and other forms of attack. Staying ahead of such attacks can be a neck-and-neck race. That said, the IC, DOD and Department of Homeland Security are very well prepared, and other federal agencies are just as committed to meeting and defeating these challenges.
Of greater concern are critical infrastructure industries, which – with one notable exception – are largely self-governed on the level of cybersecurity measures they deploy, and in the opinion of some industry experts [such as Dr. Michael Carpenter, Senior Director of Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy], are “way behind the curve in combating state-based cyber threats.
WashingtonExec: What are the most innovative technologies and solutions for mission-critical programs that you’re currently advancing to help solve some of the challenges you’ve just outlined?
Paul Gentile: The exception I refer to in critical infrastructure industries is financial services, where many prominent banks currently use ManTech’s Advanced Cyber Range Environment (ACRE), a unique capability that tests customers’ cyber defenses and trains their cyber experts in tactical responses to an attack. Using a close replication of the customer’s network, we proceed to bombard it with real malware to test cyber defenses and personnel. Where weaknesses or vulnerabilities surface, ManTech recommends technology improvements. Cyber personnel come away with increased confidence in their ability to discover attacks, retain or resume control of their networks, and thwart the attacker. This principle of “offense-informed defense” is at the core of ManTech’s approach to Full-Spectrum Cyber.
In addition, ManTech provides leading-edge Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation (CDM) to more than 60 federal agencies, and we are recognized as the No. 1 provider of insider threat protection to the government.
WashingtonExec: In your role, you’re also responsible for the strategy, management and leadership of various divisions and the development of new business opportunities – what advances on these fronts can you share with us, particularly in the new-business arena?
Paul Gentile: One hallmark of working with the intelligence community is that the more successful you are, the less you can say about it. I can tell you that ManTech serves every major branch of the IC; that this year we have scored several very large wins – and we have much more in the pipeline.
WashingtonExec: In a competitive marketplace, what differentiates you and your team’s cyber solutions on behalf of intelligence and other federal agencies?
Paul Gentile: I would cite three key differentiators: mission focus, outstanding people who are well-rewarded for their efforts, and our commitment to continuously testing and deploying best-in-class technology solutions.
Now in our 50th year, ManTech is totally dedicated to serving customers’ missions and to solving their most difficult challenges. We do so through an outstanding group of individuals who share these same principles, and we work just as hard to reward them.
For example, we offer fully company-paid college courses from Purdue Global University in CISSP certification and cloud training. Our “Job Transfers” program expedites finding new jobs for those looking for new challenges and our “Mobility Program” helps find new positions for employees when a contract ends. In addition, we recently launched “Technical Elite” and “Technical Recognition” initiatives that reward innovators with cash bonuses and research dollars.
Finally, as a systems integrator, ManTech focuses on finding, testing and deploying best-in-class solutions tailored to each mission, a process that drives continuous improvements in speed, efficiency and performance. That means – in contrast to products – that our solutions never stand still. As just one example, today’s ACRE capability is lightyears ahead of where it stood in 2017, and advances all the time.
WashingtonExec: Similarly, for investors – what differentiates ManTech’s cybersecurity stocks?
Paul Gentile: Commenting on equities performance is outside my domain, but I believe the numbers speak for themselves. As of July 4, according to Zack’s, ManTech is outperforming the “Computers and Technology” sector this year.
WashingtonExec: What’s a typical day like for you as you operate out of ManTech’s Hanover, Md., facility, leading cyber and intelligence business?
Paul Gentile: One of the most exhilarating aspects of my job at ManTech: There is no such thing as having a “typical day” or reaching the “top of the mountain.” That being said, a typical day can include meeting with customers, managers, staff and of course reading and responding to just a few email messages. When you have the honor of working for and with some of the most brilliant minds in the business, every day presents a fresh opportunity to advance national security objectives in new and exciting ways.
WashingtonExec: What’s next as you and ManTech make greater inroads across your customer base?
We are making a huge push on ManTech’s Full-Spectrum Cyber capabilities, data collection analytics – particularly of the predictive variety – as well as cloud migration, application development and enterprise IT. We expect to grow our business significantly in all these areas. Our capabilities and solutions are closely synced with the mission needs and requirements of our customers. We have earned their trust over a period of many years, and they are eager for what ManTech offers.
WashingtonExec: Is there anything else you’d like to add that we have not covered?
Paul Gentile: Yes, I’d like to challenge all readers of this publication to a test. Pick five government contractors at random and see if you can remember their taglines. Companies spend a great deal of money on outside vendors for these clever phrases, and too often the end result is indistinguishable from its peers and totally forgettable.
ManTech developed ours in-house: Securing the Future. It stands out because it’s true, and is far more than just a tagline. For us, Securing the Future is a guiding principle – what we stand for, and what we do each and every day for all of our customers.