I am impressed that real change is taking place and, "sure, it is painfully slow at times", but being an optimistic realist, I believe we should give credit where it's due. The NSA has gone out of their way to not only reach-out to small businesses (to a greater extent than any other IC agency) but is reshaping how they do their job, organizationally. They are also shifting the direction of their IA mission. They stand out—relative to the other fifteen, as the most responsive to market pressures and the need for change.
This is a loaded question. I do not mean to suggest that we should take advantage of another's misfortune, even when it is the Department of Defense's. Real harm has been done by the Wikileaks perpetrators and the incident has certainly affected national security. Alliances and perhaps lives, may be at risk in real ways. However, my point in asking the question is this: the functionality offered by 'insider security monitoring' and role based cyber security has taken-on a new priority in the IC...and perhaps the entire federal government. And so it should. The implication is that in all federal agencies, big events (or screw-ups) typically precede big changes as well as big spending in certain categories.
On our best day, we create a team target that is aligned horizontally and vertically throughout an organization. For instance, if I was targeting the Army Intelligence organizations (as a sales and BD professional), this could easily dictate which trade shows at which I would exhibit or attend, which magazines I would spend time perusing, which phone calls I may make, and which web sites I monitor. As anyone over 30 will attest, this is a lot harder than it seems. Yet, without this kind of focus, I may never get deep enough to see opportunities. Incidentally, this is the problem with following the news (at least a challenge I have...)... even news on the IC. Washington is famous for spilling ink and hosting conferences to do little more that jam five hundred folks into a ball room to talk about problems. (Another cyber conference... you've got to be kidding...?!?) My passion is with those who talk... and then act!
The intelligence community (IC) is a $75 billion submarket within the federal complex. This alone is staggering. Being close to Washington DC, we tend to forget just how much money this really is. If this figure were a nation's gross domestic product (GDP), it would be the 60th largest country in the world and larger than 2/3 of all nations and their respective GDP output (there are currently 181 nations in the world).
Well, how did you do this fiscal year? The intell budgets have not really been cut, as much as they've been adjusted away from Cold War programs towards counterinsurgency and modern tools that more directly support the global war on terror (GWOT). Fred Kaplan, in a recent Foreign Policy Online Magazine article, points out that SECDEF Robert Gates "favors spending tens of billions of dollars to maintain, and somewhat upgrade, the nuclear arsenal. He opposes any slacking off in America's global military presence." And the NRO is preparing for "the most aggressive launch campaign we've had in 20 years." Gates has seen that the transformation from a Cold War machine is by no means complete and we don't need to shrink budgets, but adjust priorities within budget. These couple of examples are typical to the current environment as FY10 closes.
In keeping with the format of this blog, I like to occasionally profile intell agencies to provide a bit of focus. Now is a good time to explore the NRO. One of the best ways to become familiar with this elusive agency is to attend the SPACE ISR Conference that AFCEA is hosting - a.k.a. the Fall Intelligence Symposium in mid October in Chantilly.
I just finished (again) a portion of Jeff Thull's Mastering the Complex Sale (see www.primeresource.com to order a copy). I see direct applicability to the intell community sales process, which - as readers of this blog know, typically the ultimate in complex selling.
Whether your firm is a services provider or a product company, you must clearly differentiate your offering or personnel. Perhaps this is true in any market during any economic cycle, but since our focus is on the IC, here are some of my thoughts on how to accomplish this mission towards the intell agencies.
I see some true leadership coming out of selected individuals in the IC and it is inspiring. Sure, there are a million things that could be better and nobody would deny this. However, my philosophy is that we need to support the ones who are in charge, and help them do their job. This is the system we have. Working against it won’t help you reach your goals and certainly will not help the nation reach its goals.
One of the Big Six IC agencies is the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). For a pretty good introductory video, browse here: http://www.dia.mil/video.html In an honest moment, I will admit that I vacillate between frustration and passion for this critically important agency. Rather than venting about my impressions of the Agency I will keep this blog entry positive and focus on "how you and I can provide real solutions" to an organization that really does need them, and how we can help them to be everything they should be as a vital member of the IC.