Top 100 executives share insights into key technology trends
Top of the list of technology needs for government agencies are cloud, cybersecurity and software-defined anything, said a panel of executives from state tech companies.
“They (all) want to move faster,” said Glenn Kurowski, CACI senior vice president and chief technology officer, during the What’s Driving Today’s Tech Trends panel that was part of Washington Technology’s Top 100 Celebration on June 18 .
Watchtower Top 100 placements in 2021 were also published as part of the virtual event.
“The opponents are shifting. If we look at the mission and corporate sectors, they need to move faster as efficiency, cyber and citizen service imperatives, ”Kurowski said.
More specifically, government agencies are always moving forward with cloud adoption, with some agencies advancing faster than others, said Sharon Hays, CTO of LMI.
One topic she sees consistently is the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning to solve mission problems, which boils down to challenging the data – whether it’s the right data, in the right format, clean enough to use, and whether it’s the people understand it.
Kurowski agreed, “I know we have a climate insensitive metaphor when we say, ‘Data is the oil of the new economy,’ but the reality is investing in technologies that unlock data, democratize data, use data and Being able to present data to make this possible Getting actionable information faster is important. This includes, for example, all variants of artificial intelligence. “
In addition, the increasing complexity of cyberattacks and the behavior of adverse actors have caught the attention of authorities, especially in light of recent major security breaches such as the SolarWinds hack and the Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack.
“It’s clear that defense is not enough,” said Derrick Pledger, Leidos vice president of digital modernization. “We have to go on the offensive”
This is in line with the accelerated pursuit of zero trust approaches highlighted in the May 12 Executive Order on Improving the Nation’s Cybersecurity. Pledger said it also aligns with Leidos’ three tenets that drive the company’s investments – speed, size and security.
“This year we did something differently than in previous years, in which we increased our investments by orders of magnitude or a few hundred percent,” said Pledger. “The reason is that there is a lot going on in the marketplace in terms of digital transformation and digital modernization, but the underlying theme that runs through it all is security.”
Leidos sees opportunities in four main areas. The first is running AI, or managing IT environments in companies on a large scale – a tedious task for humans. A second is full-spectrum cyber, including cyber-physical and defensive cyber, while a third is automation for secure IT and, in particular, facilitates the provision of work environments. Fourth is Zero Trust, which, according to Pledger, can secure everything from start to finish.
“Networks may not be secure, but you still need to have software that runs on that network in order for us to be able to develop software that is inherently trustworthy,” he said.
Software-defined everything – what makes technology more flexible by abstracting workloads from hardware – is the third area they name. But “software” also means the agile, DevOps, and scale methods used to develop technology, as well as the design principles and practices that go into a software-defined architecture, Kurowski said.
The combination of the methodology with the architecture and design principles for the development of modern software enables software-defined solutions.
“This means that some of the mission equipment can be dynamically adjusted with its software to serve more than one mission,” said Kurowski.
For example, a fighter puts one piece of gear in the foxhole instead of five.
But more important is the ability to counter enemy threats, added Kurowski. CACI delivered a software upgrade to the field service within five days of receiving a call about a new threat. In the past, such changes took years, but the shift to software models and agile methods results in speed without compromising existing capabilities.
“When we look at the world and our mission and enterprise customers, software is at the heart of almost everything they do,” said Kurowski.
But even if the pace accelerates, the pace at which the government is adopting new technologies is challenging. For example, the Agile Manifesto was published 20 years ago, but many agencies have not yet adopted the methodology. Cloud has been a hot topic for a decade, but only about a fifth of agencies have taken it over, Kurowski said.
“When something provides such convincing evidence of its utility, its scalability utility, its serverless construct advantage, its reduced attack surface from a cyber perspective, its ability to reduce the amount of touch work required, you have to do it all and you have to tear off the plaster, ”said Kurowski. “I think the willingness to take this risk and do anything and work with the industry is an important construct that we need to familiarize our customers with.”