We look forward to the new year and new opportunities for innovation and growth in the government contracting community. This past year, the public and private sectors both experienced more emphasis and demand for cybersecurity, merging technology with health care, and how to best mitigate the insider threat.
As a part of an annual series, WashingtonExec reached out to those most knowledgeable and experienced in the federal contracting space. We asked executives in and around the Beltway for insight on the direction they see in the industry. Topics discussed include M&A activity, public/private sector collaboration, cloud computing migration, the incoming millennial workforce in defense/IT/health care, talent retention and more.
First in the series is Mark Heck, director of cyber programs, corporate business development at Raytheon Company.
Recent headlining topics have included merging technology with health care, cloud storage, big data, insider threat, and the internet of things. What will be of most interest in 2019?
From our point of view, we see emerging technology vectors include:
- Advanced manufacturing (includes additive manufacturing, 3D printing, printed electronics)
- Cloud computing
- Big data and analytics
- Advanced cybersecurity (includes component verification and anti-count tools, lightweight encryption modules, data center and cloud computing micro-segmentation, machine-to-machine security)
- Quantum computing (includes quantum cryptography, quantum communications, quantum key distribution)
- Mobility/wireless (includes 5G)
- Artificial intelligence (includes machine learning, deep learning and cognitive computing)
Related market shifts as a result of these emerging technology vectors include:
- Advanced Manufacturing: Shift in labor force because of the more efficient methods would displace construction workers, carpenters, architects, and electrical and plumbing subcontractors
- Cloud Computing: Positively impacts all 16 U.S. critical infrastructure sectors (i.e., cost savings, rapid scalability, enhanced security/protection of the data)
- Big Data & Analytics: Positively impacts industries that include manufacturing and healthcare through application of predictive analytics and condition-based maintenance
- Advanced Cybersecurity: Positively impacts all 16 U.S. critical infrastructures (i.e., enhanced security/protection of the data, associated networks, global cyber supply chain)
- Quantum Computing: Positively impacts industries that include health care (i.e., DNA gene sequencing, such as radiotherapy treatment optimization/brain tumor detection, could be performed in seconds instead of hours or weeks)
- Mobile/Wireless: Positively impacts markets that include IoT, Li-Fi, ubiquitous coverage, intelligent vehicles, 5G, geospatial, virtual reality, situational awareness, personalization, wearables
- Artificial Intelligence: Shift in labor force (i.e., automating routine work allows leveraging resources and people to take on bigger and tougher challenges, beat the competition, and improve life); self-driving cars, power grids, auto traffic, military robots, intelligent planes, vehicles, weapons
- Blockchain: Positively impacts all 16 U.S. critical infrastructures (i.e., enhanced security/protection of the data, associated networks, global cyber supply chain)
What will 2019 hold for government contracting? How’s today’s market affecting how you develop and retain talent?
With respect to the development of the cyber-related talent, we are already dealing with a negative unemployment rate. Although that talent gap is expected to widen, automation of cybersecurity tools/applications are intended to help offset that trend.
What concerns you the most when looking at the future of GovCon? What excites you the most?
When it comes to the negative unemployment rate among the cyber-related talent, it’s a concern that needs to be addressed from a policy, overall educational institution, industrial base hiring and retention point of view.
What future collaboration topics and projects should take place between the public, private and academic sectors?
Cybersecurity-related cross-sector collaboration between the public, private and academic sectors is recommended given the global nature of the (cyber) threat.
Have you seen improvement or disconnect the last 5 years?
Improvement. One good example is what the Department of Homeland Security is doing with the standup of the Cross-Sector Collaboration Tri-Sector Working Group (DHS and the departments of Energy and Justice.)
What is the most important tool or advice to educating the next generation of defense/IC/IT/health care leaders?
Cybersecurity best practices, principles and methodologies need to be designed into the front end of all aspects of business.