Washington Technology Top 100 Conference and Awards Luncheon
Remarks By Linda Gooden
Executive Vice President,
Information Systems & Global Services,
Lockheed Martin Corporation
McLean, VA - 06/25/2008
Thank you, Nick. It's great to be part of this Top 100 celebration.
When most Americans think of any Top 100 list, they probably think of something like People magazine's Most Beautiful People. At Lockheed Martin, we know Washington Technology has the hottest Top 100 in town. And, we're honored to celebrate our 14th year at #1, which we like to think makes Lockheed Martin the Angelina Jolie of government IT contracting!
The real honor, though, isn't topping the list, but sharing it with so many other great companies. Our firms may be competitors, but many of us are friends, and we all have a lot to be proud of.
It's tempting to spend my time here today just talking about all of our achievements. But as the great engineer Charles Kettering once said, "My interest is in the future because I am going to spend the rest of my life there."
So instead of celebrating where we've been, I'd like to look ahead to where we're going - exploring the challenges our government customers face and how we, as an industry, can turn those common challenges into shared successes.
I also want to point out that we're meeting at a very special anniversary.
It was 165 years ago this spring that a portrait painter named Samuel Morse secured $30,000 from the U.S. Congress to build an experimental telegraph line between Washington and Baltimore.
And why is this notable? Because Samuel Morse should be a hero to us all. He was more than an artist. He was more than an inventor. He was the government's first IT contractor!
Of course, back then, all the digital information in the world could be captured in a single sentence -- the immortal words of the first official telegraph message: "What hath God wrought?"
Those were indeed simpler times. Today, Americans send more than a billion text messages every day.
Digital technology has become an integral part of our daily lives, whether we're connecting on Face Book, listening to our IPods, or living out our dreams on "Second Life."
It's transformed our work. It's transformed how we communicate. It's even transformed our democracy - as the millions of citizens joining the presidential debates and watching Obama Girl on YouTube will confirm!
And the magnitude of the digital universe is growing every day.
In fact, according to one estimate, the digital information conveyed last year alone from emails and blogs to photos, mobile phone calls, and TV signals was enough "to fill a dozen stacks of hardback books stretching from the earth to the sun."
Now, as all of you know, this information explosion creates tremendous opportunities. But it also carries challenges that require us to partner with our government customers.
To give just one example, earlier this year, a top U.S. intelligence official noted that 90 percent of U.S. intelligence could eventually come from open sources like websites. That sounds pretty good - no spies, no surveillance flights, no risky overseas missions - until you realize that there are more than 155 million websites to sort through. Maybe being James Bond isn't so tough after all!
Agent 007 aside, with all of that data available, information "on demand" also brings the risk of information overload. And extracting decision-quality knowledge can be like searching for a needle in a haystack - except the haystack our government customers must deal with is measured in Exabytes, not bales.
At the same time, access to information has heightened public expectations. Today, citizens expect their government to act faster, more efficiently, and more effectively than ever - demanding real-time responses to patterns that once only seemed clear in retrospect, whether it be a suspect group of entry visas or the potential for a cascading power failure.
But if the public is asking more of our government customers, that means our customers need more from us.
And broadly speaking, I see three key areas where we collectively can contribute at a higher level -- areas where common challenges can be turned into shared successes.
The first area is security-how do we help our customers ensure our national and personal security in an interconnected world?
The second is resources-how do we use technology to help our customers do more with less?
And the third area is talent-how do we and our customers deal with the hard reality that the pool of qualified technical professionals is shrinking, even as demand for their skills is growing?
Let me start with security. In an age when we face so many complex threats… from global terrorist networks… to nuclear proliferation… to the risk of pandemic disease… it's clear that information is more important to national security than ever.
The world is moving at Internet-speed, and we as leaders must too. Government needs the right data… in the right hands… at the right time in order to make the right decisions to keep our citizens safe.
In conflict environments, where our troops confront enemies who appear in one moment and disappear in the next, our military customers are looking to us to enhance their situational awareness - for example, by integrating and delivering the imagery that satellites, aircraft, and other sensors provide or enabling seamless, real-time communication to facilitate joint operations.
And, at home, our customers are enlisting our help to collect and connect the dots that can make the crucial difference between public safety and disaster.
That can mean systems like the FBI's automated fingerprint database and its Next Generation Identification system, which uses biometric data to help law enforcement take criminals off the street.
But it also means providing technology solutions that help bring different agencies together, so they can get the big picture analysis that allows for pin-point response.
Nick, you've noted that "data is one of the weapons of choice in the fight against bioterrorism and infectious disease."
Imagine if we could link hospital records, ER visits, and lab results to border control information and law enforcement databases. It might prevent a public health crisis before it starts.
But, as all of us know, feeling truly secure is about more than feeling safe from your enemies. On a day to day basis, it's personal security that counts - being able to care for your family, retire in comfort, and deal with medical crises.
Technology plays an integral part in this kind of security too - like the systems Health and Human Services uses to collect over $20 billion a year for child support payments and the systems the Social Security Administration uses to ensure 50 million Americans get their social security checks on time.
Providing this kind of personal security is another area for expanding our role.
Yet, the fastest growing area of demand may be securing information itself - whether we're talking about the privacy of a personal health record or some of our nation's most classified secrets.
Last year, government agencies reported a 70 percent increase in unauthorized access to their networks compared to 2006. Attacks on the military's networks were up 55 percent.
Almost one in four Federal Chief Information Officers surveyed said the IT infrastructure that supports their department or agency's mission has become more vulnerable. And six in ten said security was an area where their IT workforce had gaps in skill and knowledge.
As some of you may know, Lockheed Martin recently established a Wireless Cyber Security Lab to help prevent future cyber attacks on classified government networks. The urgency of the challenge recently hit home for me when one of our researchers in this lab demonstrated how you could use a group of PlayStation 3's to hack into a secure Wi-Fi network.
If you could do that with hardware you could purchase at Toys "R" Us, imagine what cyber attackers could do with the backing of a hostile state sponsor. Grand Theft Auto is indeed child's play compared to the dangers we'd face.
So there's an open invitation - and frankly an obligation -- for our sector to meet these twin challenges: to deliver cutting-edge systems that provide our customers with decision-quality information to the right people at the right time, and, at the same time, to ensure the systems we deliver and support are secure from unauthorized intruders.
The second area where we can contribute more to our customers is in supplying technology solutions to address their resource challenges.
We all know that, more than ever, government agencies are being asked to do more with less. Consider the mounting interest on the federal debt, the cost of the global war on terrorism, and the increased spending for Medicaid and Medicare in the years ahead.
Again, this challenge presents an opportunity for us to better serve our customers. One of the ways we can do that is by finding innovative ways to improve efficiencies in delivering services to citizens.
In 2005, the FAA outsourced its flight service stations, which help the general aviation community plan and troubleshoot their trips. By implementing new technology and restructuring the work effort, the government is expected to save over $1 billion over the first ten years, even as the public now benefits from a system that's not just leaner, but also safer.
I think projects like these are clearly a growing area of opportunity. Because when we help federal agencies improve their service delivery and quality, it frees their leadership to focus more resources on mission outcomes. In other words, reducing the burden on government isn't about taking over government's role - it's about doing what the IT sector does best, so government can do more while saving taxpayer dollars and improving service to citizens.
There's another resource challenge anyone who stopped at the gas station on the way here today can appreciate - and that is the challenge of energy. With oil prices topping $130 a barrel, using less energy is a bottom line concern for all of us.
But, it isn't just about saving money. It's also about saving the environment. Despite the recent discovery of water on Mars, the fact is, good planets are still hard to find!
All of us here have an opportunity to make a positive difference. We can drive IT eco-efficiency in a way that helps us, our customers, and our world.
For example, we can consolidate our labs and our data centers - a step that will shrink our physical footprint and lower our energy consumption. Even something as simple as standardizing on LCD displays can achieve a 50 percent energy savings. And we can employ desktop power management software and thin client technologies that use a fraction of the power of traditional desktop computers.
But, of course, to succeed in meeting these first two challenges - security and resources - we must be able to hire, train, and retain the most capable people. After all, innovation is the core of our business, and people are the core of innovation.
So, talent is a high stakes challenge under any circumstances, but especially today and especially for the IT industry.
The competition for new talent is intense, even as enrollments in technical disciplines are falling. So it's not surprising that last year, when federal IT managers were asked about the top challenges they faced, the number one response was "hiring and retaining skilled professionals."
One way industry can make a difference in this area is by applying new technology approaches to recruit, manage, and train employees - in other words, not just taking HR systems online, but transforming HR practices.
The Air Force, for example, is working in partnership with industry to transform the way they deliver personnel services - using IT to streamline transactional processes and to allow service personnel to access their records at any time and from any place.
A second way we can help is by designing technologies that appeal to men and women who've grown up in the information age. These "digital natives" are bringing a new set of expectations to the workplace. And, at the same time, they're bringing a new set of attributes and skills. While their managers may gather around the water cooler, young employees congregate around wikis. And it turns out wikis are a much better way to share ideas and get things done!
That's why many of us in industry are developing social networking tools for ourselves and for our government customers to help improve the sharing of ideas and information.
Because forums like these are much more in keeping with how younger employees interact. And if companies like ours can provide the right tools to our own and to our customers' employees, we all can attract the best talent and unleash it to the greatest effect.
These are all big challenges. But I'm convinced our sector can help our government clients meet them--in part, because these are challenges we in industry grapple with each day.
After all, we all face cyber threats that demand our constant vigilance. Statistically speaking, someone is trying to hack into our networks even as we meet. Protecting not only our own information but that of our customers, suppliers, and partners is really about protecting the bond of trust on which our business depends.
All of our companies also understand the importance of reducing our environmental impact. We know it's not only the right thing to do, but the smart thing to do as well - to stay competitive, to recruit the best people, and to earn the goodwill of the communities we serve. That's why our industry is "going green," with the aim of reducing our environmental impact.
Of course, we all want to make sure we can attract and develop the greatest talent. At Lockheed Martin, we have to hire 14,000 people every year for the next decade.
That's why we're putting a premium on diversity, mentoring, and career development, and working in our nation's K-12 schools to inspire the next generation of engineers and computer scientists.
We've made these three challenges--security, resources and talent-- priorities because they position us to address the future. And, by taking them on, we are better able to partner with our customers in addressing their future.
But for all of us here to make the most of this moment, and to do the best job for our customers, we're not only going to have to work harder. We'll also have to work differently.
Because, while I began by mentioning the anniversary of Samuel Morse's telegraph, the truth is, we don't need to look that far back to see how much the world - and our role - have changed.
Think about it. In 1994, when Washington Technology published its first Top 100 ranking, fishing was something you did with a rod and reel, and Google wasn't a verb.
Today, information technology underpins every system, every weapon, every process, and every activity our government customers undertake. In this new age, our industry is on the front lines.
Being on the front lines means we have to perform with excellence and continually raise the bar.
We need to be forward-looking, with solutions ready before our customers know they have needs.
We need to be agile, able to adapt as fast as the environment and changing threat situations.
We need to not only adopt new systems, but also embrace new strategies - so the business of government can be performed with excellence, as well as efficiency.
And, we need to be responsible citizens ourselves - ethically, socially, and environmentally.
In fact, maybe it isn't such a stretch after all to say we need to be like Angelina Jolie - lead actors, who know that doing well and doing good are two sides of the same coin.
If we can do all that, we will be partners in helping our customers achieve their mission.
And more importantly, we will help make the many missions we serve successful, and help make our country, and the world, a better, safer place.