Dave Wajsgras, president of Raytheon Intelligence, Information and Services, is a Pinnacle Awards finalist in the Cybersecurity Executive of the Year category. Here, he shares some of his most important accomplishments last year, what makes Raytheon IIS stand out among its competitors, how he helps shape the next generation of GovCon leaders and more.
What key achievements did you have in 2017?
Wajsgras: In 2017, Raytheon IIS secured major wins that make a difference in the safety and security of our country and our allies. For cybersecurity, the most notable achievements included winning the $1 billion DOMino contract from the Department of Homeland Security to help defend against cyber threats targeted at the dot-gov domain. This important mission protects the networks of more than 100 federal government agencies, state and local governments and 16 critical infrastructure sectors.
The team also won a major contract to modernize the Air and Space Operations Center Weapon System, working with the Air Force to standardize, cyber secure, sustain and transform 22 AOCs worldwide into interoperable net-centric weapon systems. In addition, we continued our modernization work — including cyber-hardening services — for military fixed and rotary wing aircraft and subsystems. We also successfully delivered the launch and checkout system for the GPS Next-Generation Operational Control System to the U.S. Air Force, giving the service a fully modernized cyber-secure ground system. The program maintains the highest level of cybersecurity protections of any DOD space system, and for protection against future cyber threats, the system’s open architecture allows it to integrate new capabilities and signals as they become available.
What specifically makes you stand out from your industry counterparts?
Wajsgras: Raytheon has one of the broadest portfolios of cybersecurity capabilities in the world. We provide everything from the sword to the shield — from offensive to defensive cyber solutions. We have invested close to $4 billion over the past 10 years acquiring cybersecurity companies and developing tools.
A key differentiator for Raytheon is that we are bringing the best of commercial technologies to our defense customers, speeding delivery of capabilities and information while reducing risks and costs. For example, we are using DevOps to speed up software builds on some of our cybersecurity programs, reducing weeks of coding and testing down to hours. Even the Washington Business Journal reported that “analysts have praised Raytheon’s efforts to become more like a Silicon Valley startup and less like a traditional Beltway contractor.”
Raytheon has a multitude of partnerships with commercial and cyber companies. We are partnered with incubators and investment companies to bring commercial capabilities to the defense market, particularly in the areas of automation and analytics. Raytheon IIS has merged commercial technologies with our own battle-tested systems to offer the military truly open systems that can be updated regularly with new apps like your smartphone. This gives the military unprecedented flexibility to customize tools as new technologies are delivered.
By partnering and investing in commercial companies, Raytheon is using the latest in automation, cyber and data analytics to reduce cyber risks for customers.
How do you help shape the next-generation GovCon leaders?
Wajsgras: At Raytheon, we are passionate about supporting education and building a pipeline of talented employees, as well as giving back to service members, veterans and military families. We recognize the importance of developing young talent and the need for more students to choose STEM careers. To help in that effort, Raytheon IIS sponsors the largest annual cyber defense competition of its kind, giving college students from across the country the opportunity to test their skills at protecting a network against cyber threats.
In addition, in 2017 we opened a Center of Innovation at the Tutt Boys & Girls Club in Colorado Springs. This site was chosen due to the large number of military families living in the area as a way to offer STEM programs and provide students with greater insight into new technologies to enhance their education outside the classroom.