In this week’s episode of Building the Base, Hondo and Lauren join Steffanie Easter, Senior Vice President
and Chief Sustainability Officer at Cobham Advanced Electronic Solutions, to discuss the future of the defense industrial network.
Steffanie’s vast experience in acquisition across the services leads her to emphasize the need for communication not only among the services, but also among industry partners. She explains that DoD must learn to balance information sharing with strategic competition when working with industry to innovate defense technologies. To that end, the DoD must share its needs and encourage teaming with small businesses, who are flexibly poised to produce disruptive capabilities for the warfighter.
Hondo, Lauren, and Steffanie go on to discuss a variety of topics, including:
- DoD’s risk-averse culture
- Small businesses in the defense industrial base
- Teaming for small business integration
- The services’ language barriers
- Skillset development v. acquisition
BENS Intro 00:00
The business executives for national security welcomes you to building the base here thought leaders and practitioners discuss how we can ensure our shared security and prosperity. They’re shaping the future of the national security industrial base. Your hosts or Silicon Valley defense expert Lauren Bedula, along with Ben’s Distinguished Fellow and former head of acquisition for the Navy, Marines and special operators, Hondo Geurts.
Lauren Bedula 00:30
Welcome back to building the base, Lauren Bedula. And Hondo Geurts here, and we are so excited to have Steffanie Easter with us today. Stephanie was the first civilian director of Navy staff was principal deputy Acting Assistant Secretary of the Army for acquisition logistics and technology, and spent many years in the Navy prior to that, including as the executive director of the F 35. Program also is a brilliant engineer. And Stephanie, I was listening to your remarks from 2017 at a USA to prepare for this. And you told a funny story about the Army Navy game, and who to root for. And we were about a month in at the army and folks are asking you to say Go army. So I’m curious. Who do you root for last weekend?
Steffanie Easter 01:14
Oh, wow. Well, I thank you so much for having me today. I will tell you I had to root for navy. Yeah, I definitely tell everybody, you know that robberies been gone on for a very long time. And there was a streak when Navy one every year. And then I went to work for the army, and miraculously, army one. So I took full credit for that saying that army one because I was now part of the Army team. But unfortunately, that didn’t play out when I left two years later, because they still beat Navy. But that’s awesome.
Lauren Bedula 01:44
Well, thanks so much, Stephanie, for joining us all stuff.
Hondo Geurts 01:47
It’s, it’s great to have you here. And you’ve got one of those remarkable careers where it seems like as soon as you you made your mark, you made the change and went somewhere else. And and really kept challenging yourself multiple services. Industry now in government, how did how did you get involved in NASA? How did you go from a chemical engineer to coming in and national security? And then, you know, what’s your story? How did you get here?
Steffanie Easter 02:17
Oh, wow, it is a very unusual story for sure. Um, as you mentioned, I graduated with a degree in Chemical Engineering from our kind of State University go Wolfpack. And when I graduated, my plan was to get a job in a Research Triangle area working for Dow Chemical or pharmaceutical company. But I had a friend who had graduated the December before I did, and she went to work for the Department of the Navy. And they had actually recruited at NC State, but I didn’t visit their table because I thought you had to join the Navy to work for what I know now to be NAVAIR. And so she said, You got to come here. It’s the coolest place in the world. And so I came up to visit her. I interviewed as a long story, because I was first told they weren’t hiring chemical engineers. And then I went down to OPM, and this was back early in the 80s. When, you know, you had to do a SF 171. So I posted my application and things like that. But then I ended up, you know, getting a job at NAVAIR. And I fell in love with it. Engineering was where I started mostly in aerospace and mechanical even though I was a Kimmie. But I realized right away that I really liked program management. So I transitioned to that. But that’s how I ended up working for the Navy. My plan was to work for three years, get some experience and moved back to North Carolina, but 3536 years later, I was still there.
Lauren Bedula 03:44
That’s amazing. And what drew you to acquisitions, specifically?
Steffanie Easter 03:48
Oh, well, I knew that. I didn’t want to be what I call a hardcore engineer. And as I was coming up, and being exposed to having the opportunity to connect, you know, cost, schedule and performance together with the outcome of providing capability to sailors and marines. It was exciting. You know, it was like to be able to work on something I’ll never forget, my first job was working avionics support equipment. And we were having this big debate about how big it needed to be. And I remember this officer and our office saying, you know, a half an inch makes a difference, Stephanie and I’m thinking a half an inch can’t be that big of a deal. And so he arranged a trip for us to go out on a carrier, so that I can see firsthand the conditions that our sailors operate in. And it hit me very hard that had half an inch makes a big difference. And that was almost a life changing event from a career perspective. And I realized right then and there that I wanted to make sure I had an opportunity to get capability in the hands of the warfighters and that they could use and that worked well on their environment. So
Lauren Bedula 04:58
that’s fantastic. And so you spent several decades working on some of the nation’s most important national security programs. And the focus of our show is on what we call the National Security industrial network. So creating this strong connectivity between the industrial base and the national security community. And over the time, you were in these roles, there has been a lot of changes in the industrial base and a lot of manufacturing jobs, for example, have left the country. And there’s been kind of a decreasing number of suppliers in the DOD and industrial network. Can you talk about that trend? And are you seeing it reversing at all?
Steffanie Easter 05:41
I don’t know that it’s reversing is definitely evolving. I thought back to you got your big five, you know, but when you think about what they’re doing today versus what they were doing decades ago, they’re serving more as integrators. So there are a lot more dependent on that second tier, and third tier, some of them are even operating in that environment. Like, look at f 35. You got Lockheed Martin is fine. But Northrop Grumman, Bill’s a big part of that, and you got the BAS and everybody. So now with the focus on getting small business and major business and to the government, I think that’s giving the industrial base, a different look. But it’s pretty much the same. And I also believe that we can’t forget about what I call the organic industrial base, our services have capabilities that we often forget about when we’re talking about industrial base, like you look at Indian Head, you know, what they’re doing, you look at some of the depots, and naval aviation and their ability to produce product, you know, at lower scale, of course, then our prime industry partners, but, but definitely there. So my point is, the industrial base is evolving, and everybody has a role to play, I believe.
Hondo Geurts 06:58
So Stefan, last time, we were in the earring together, I actually tried to recruit you to come, come be the Navy civilian acquisition leader, based on all the great stuff we did and your ability to do push ups on the earring when we needed to do push ups. More for your your just your outstanding leadership skills and ability to bring people together. And you said something to me, you know, I’d love to come do that. But I want to go challenge myself in industry, I want to go see, see what it’s like there and see how I can perform there. What have you learned since you’ve gotten out? And and what lessons do you have you taken that you think other government leaders can can learn from an experience like working in industry for a while?
Steffanie Easter 07:43
Wow, I’ve learned so much. I tell. And you probably remember this, we used to always be told, you know, why can’t we be more like industry when we went to government? So that created a visual in my head of what industry was agile, worked with speed, um, no bureaucracy. And I’m learning that that’s not always true. Okay. So I coined this phrase that sometimes I believe industry takes on the character of its customers. So if you’re a big industry, and you’re dealing with the Department of Defense, you have just as much bureaucracy as your customer does. So that was a big surprise for me, to be honest with you. And the other thing that really shocked me was when I saw it was like on the other side to respond to an RFI and RFP, I had no idea the amount of money time and effort it took to respond to an RFI and RFP. I mean, it was really eye opening, the amount of energy and effort that industry puts into that with the possibility of not even winning, right, and the Planning and Investment that goes into that. And on a lighter note, just the timing, you know, I’m in the government, we have this tendency to drop an RFP, like, now in December, you know, or in November, it’s like our responses reduced because the January, but that impacts people, you know, being on the other side, it’s like, wait a minute, I’ve got to pull a team, I’ve got to get this stuff going. Somebody’s got to work over the holidays. So things like that have been very eye opening. But like I said, the biggest one is that industry does a lot of things. Right. But it’s not the answer to everything. I guess, sir. I think a lot of government professionals think it is. And the other thing I will say is that industry is full of a lot of patriots who support our country just as much as people who work as civil servants.
Hondo Geurts 09:40
Yeah, there you can contribute lots of different ways. You’re gonna have to be in uniform
Steffanie Easter 09:44
zactly Exactly. And industry is not the enemy. They are truly partners and they desire to be more partners. So that was an eye opener.
Hondo Geurts 09:53
Did I think a lot of government folks think they’re communicating effectively with industry. You And my guess is when you see it from the other side, maybe that communication isn’t as robust or deep as we maybe thought we were doing while we were in government.
Steffanie Easter 10:11
Definitely. I, I can’t even tell you how many times I said, Oh, my gosh, I had no idea. You know, because we have our talk in government, we have our speaking our language. And we use that and we assume that industry understands that. But that’s been the other I guess, surprise, is that the inner workings of the government is not as well understood. Outside as it is inside language, and everything matters. And we we be in the government can be a lot more inclusive, I will say, and transparent. And we tend not to do that, especially in the acquisition space. I know when I was growing up, you know, it was kind of like, well, no, you can’t tell industry certain things, you know, because that creates an unfair advantage. I think we have to get past that, like way past that and figure out how we can be transparent about budgets, about requirements, about things of that nature, because it helps industry respond better and more effectively.
Hondo Geurts 11:09
Yeah, I think sometimes we confuse exclusion, you don’t want to give somebody exclusive information. That doesn’t mean you don’t want to give everybody useful information.
Steffanie Easter 11:19
Exactly. That’s a perfect way to put it, right, because we get caught up. And that’s like, well, and then we psych ourselves out, because I, I’ll confess, I dealt with this in a couple of jobs like, well, if I share with one I got to share with all you know, and you kind of you can easily talk yourself out of it. But I think that’s why forums like Industry Days, and you know, just having those engagements, even outside of an RFI and RFP and getting industry involved in the requirements conversation can be very beneficial to DOD,
Lauren Bedula 11:50
increased transparency and dialogue is something we’re pushing quite a bit for a strengthened industrial network, because we just see it goes both ways, too, I think for industry to help inform requirements by showing and displaying the technologies that they’re creating is very helpful. And to get that guidance from the US government helps even product roadmaps and strengthens just the the technologies that the private sector is building to know the details of applicability and the like. And definitely something you talked about in your leadership roles was the importance of and you hit on this little bit earlier, bringing in disruptive technology players, startups and the non traditional commercial technology companies to support defense missions, especially as we’ve pivoted to focus on near peer competition. And there’s a new national defense strategy out which echoes that same message. Can you talk a little bit about your perspective on how we can better integrate startups into the national security ecosystem? And perhaps steps that we can take on the policy side? Is it Congress? Is it DOD? Or is it the startups who can help here? Any thoughts on strengthening
Steffanie Easter 12:57
that? Wow, I got lots of and it’s all from different perspectives. I’ll start with the policy. A lot of times we blame policy for not doing things. I think we have a lot more, I think the government or something, I think DOD has a lot more flexibility than they exercise. Okay, so I just want to make that point is you don’t always need congressional or legislative change to do some of the things that we’re talking about here. So when you talk about startups, I mean, there’s the, you know, small Mom Pop, you know, can’t even begin to work with DoD because they can’t even get past a bureaucracy that we require that they require. Sorry, I apologize for that. No part of us. Okay. All right. Okay, thank you for allowing me to do that. So I think one way to address that is teaming, okay to have those mid tier systems, integrator companies, and we have plenty of them around that are very experienced with working with the government, kind of like a mentor protege, but at a different level, you know, and team them up, help them get into the space, because they have lots of disruptive and great technology. But a lot of times they just don’t have the resources to get into the game. So I believe if you team them up and a mentor protege or I call it mentor protege, 1.0 or 2.0 that goes above and beyond, but actually usher them through the process. You know, if you’re a system integrator, and you have a small, you know, startup, you don’t just make a relationship with them and share things. You walk them through the process. I think that will be beneficial. That allows the small, small business to leverage what the midsize a larger business has to offer, without them having to fundamentally change who they are. Because that’s one of my biggest concerns when we started talking about leveraging this disruptive tech capability and the smaller businesses that they turn into To the larger business, and they lose the very thing that we are after. Okay, so to me, that’s that delicate balance when we start creating this network. And I love the fact that you guys use the term network, because it represents that each node is independent, but connected, so they don’t lose what they offer, and what they bring to the table, but you leverage it to the best extent that you can. So I think there’s opportunity there, I think we don’t need a lot of policy change to start that I think we just need the mindset. And what I call, you know, just having a risk averse, you know, mindset and just kind of go for it.
Lauren Bedula 15:41
And a lot of folks on our show, agree with you and say, it’s not policy, it’s more cultural barriers that hold us back here. Any thoughts on that?
Steffanie Easter 15:50
Oh, I agree wholeheartedly, I can tell you from being a program manager myself, at one point in my career, there’s a lot of pressure to deliver cost, schedule performance, right? And it tends to lead you to be risk averse, right? Because if it’s contrary to popular belief that there’s no accountability and DOD, when a program doesn’t deliver on time on schedule, I don’t buy there are consequences. And you want to avoid those to the maximum extent possible. So whenever there’s a risk, you know, if you take on risk, from a technology perspective, you risk impacting costs and schedule. So it’s just that mindset away from that risk averse mindset to say, Hey, I’m gonna take the rest to go faster. And we’re gonna, you know, this is so calm. I think that’s what made SOCOM different than some of the other commands is, you took risk and challenged assumptions. And that’s the culture that we need. And I think the whole consequence conversation has to be had a little bit more robustly because there was a time not too long ago, you may remember when the hill want to give me names, I want names of the people whose programs did not deliver. When we come out like that, we’re sending a message not to take risk. Okay, so we have to be very careful about that, we have to see risk as opportunity. And we have to be okay with failure, we just have to fail fast, which is something used to always say, fail fast. Just go out there, do it, do it fast, we can learn from it and move on.
Hondo Geurts 17:33
And other I think key element, I certainly learned it so calm. And I learned a lot from you. And you’re the director, the Navy staff was the key of partnering. And, you know, shockingly, you might not know that sometimes the Navy Secretariat and the Navy operations, you know, the Navy CNO staff didn’t always get along so well. And and you made it a point. And then and I think I tried on my side as well to bridge that gap. And how do we bring the strengths of both teams together to kind of break down some of the sub cultural myths that also exists in organizations? What What made you comfortable with doing that? What, how did you? Where did you get that skill? I mean, that you were the first civilian ever to be the director, the Navy staff, which was, was a huge undertaking. But I think that bringing folks together to solve because the either side doesn’t know the other actually has the authority to actually go do something different.
Steffanie Easter 18:34
Yeah. Oh, wow. That one it started way before the DNS job. So I grew up in acquisition, as I was saying NAVAIR mostly naval aviation, went on to become an executive PEO WP and things of that nature. But then I had the opportunity to go be the N one B, and it’s Military Manpower, personnel training, education completely out of my wheelhouse has nothing to do with acquisition. I’ve never served in uniform. So it’s not like I knew a lot about that. But that was my first true immersion into the operational side of the Navy. And what I learned even in that role, even though it wasn’t an acquisition role is that there was a lack of understanding about what the other side did. Because like I could get involved in the, you know, from a different angle from the PBV and a process. I mean, it’s one thing to be a program manager and a PEO. Given your requirements and your budget information up. It’s another thing to be on the other side as a resource sponsor trying to balance the books, trying to determine what priorities are it I know when I was a PW PL is like, just give me what I need. I know what I need. Just give me the money. When I saw it from the other perspective, I realized it’s not that easy, is not that simple. So that gap I saw was a lack of understanding and appreciation for what the other side did. So when I started, I’ll say, engaging with the operational side of the Navy, I realized that they knew what acquisition was, but it was those guys, right. And they really didn’t have a clear understanding of what it took to run a program. So I took it upon myself like, okay, I can educate here, you know, both sides are right, both sides have value. It’s not a you’re right, you’re wrong. It was what do we need to do to work better together? And I think you did a great job of that as well. You know, I mean, and I know when VCNs Miranda was the I mean, just the connection between the Secretariat and the CNO operational part of the Navy is critical. It is absolutely critical to the path forward. And it’s not just in the Navy is across DOD, because I saw the same thing in army. Right as the Acton acquisition executive for the army, dealing with the Chief of Staff of the Army. Again, I tried to take on the role as educator, we did not agree on a lot of things. But my thing was, if you can understand why I’m taking my position, we’re a lot better off than you just think. And I’m being obstinate about it.
Lauren Bedula 21:08
So Stephanie, since you left government, you’ve worked for two different private sector companies, neither was part of the defense prime, the big five at the top, something we talked about quite a bit on our show is just worries about the trends of consolidation. With those large primes, you talked about teaming, which I completely agree, I think is an important strategy to help the primes, take some smaller companies along mentor them, I think that angle is a great way to talk about it. But what’s your take on consolidation specifically? And is there anything we should be doing to enable an industrial base that’s a bit more balanced and agile in nature?
Steffanie Easter 21:48
Yeah. Consolidation to some extent, is good. But we can’t overdo it. I mean, if you look, I don’t think we can ever go below the top five, right, it used to be a top 10. That you know, so there’s been a lot of consolidation leading up to this point. And it’s not bad. You’ve all seen in the news, you know, the added attention on acquisitions and mergers. And I think that’s necessary. And it goes back to the conversation we were having earlier. As you get bought up into larger company, you kind of lose, you have the potential to lose the very thing that may be beneficial in the first place. And that’s why I think, more consolidation of the industrial base is something we have to worry about. The other thing is just competition. I mean, we we live on competition. And I to be very candid with you, I go back and forth on this every six months or so, you know, competition is good. And it does help us and one maintain an industrial base. And sometimes it helps the government get a better value. But there’s times when you don’t need to do that. You can just go sole source and knowing that balance, you know when to strike that balance, I think is just as important as just having that everything has to be competed mindset.
Hondo Geurts 23:12
Yeah, I think we could do a whole show just on that. I mean, it’s a it’s, it’s one of those really interesting struggles you have as a CIO as a leader and acquisition is what’s the right balance here. I think the other balance we’re struggling with is how much r&d Should we do versus actually going in buying stuff? And, you know, we’ve got, I think, the largest r&d budget in history, the DOD, probably over performing on prototyping, but not really buying anything, are you seeing the same thing kind of from industry side, and you know, you can’t really make up the business model, if all you’re doing is developing one offs and not ever actually buying at scale. And, and unfortunately, the, the soldier or sailor airman, if we’re not buying things doesn’t actually improve their capability. Yeah,
Steffanie Easter 24:01
so another complex conversation, that can be a whole day conversation. But I look at that from two angles. One, there’s the desire for the department to do his own rd TNA efforts, and I think IP drives a lot of that, okay, this concept and desire to own the intellectual property, because industry, you know, invest a lot of money, need to own it, and things of that nature, but the government wants to own a lot. So striking that balance between owning and that own and I think drives a lot of that heavy investment in r&d TNA again, I can see both sides of that coin. You know, from a national security perspective, I definitely see the need and the desire for the government to want to own a lot of IP but also when you look at where we are technology, technologically, and how fast things are migrating and changing Let’s think about that. I mean, we’re now at the point where we’re in a lot of software driven systems, you know, so I don’t know, how do you balance that I haven’t cracked that code yet. If I had, I’d probably be doing something totally different right now.
Lauren Bedula 25:14
So it’s definitely I want to pivot to talk about your career, and particularly because you’re known for Breaking Through Barriers, we talked about how you were the first civilian director of the Navy staff, can you talk about skills and approaches you found to be most helpful when approaching these challenges?
Steffanie Easter 25:30
Well, first, I’ll say have an open mind, recognize what you know what you don’t know. And for me, that’s being able to ask questions, I everybody tell you like, Oh, my You so many questions. And it’s like, I don’t ask questions, you know, to challenge I ask questions to better understand. And that’s what I had to do in every new job I took. And the other thing is to understand where I was at any given time, and to be able to surround myself with talent, and the people who could fill those gaps, you know, and taking risk. I tell you, when I left Navy, after over 20 plus years and went to army, you know, people like Are you crazy? You know, how can you do that. And I was very fortunate my first army, XO, which is equivalent of a navy EA, had a navy background, he had to command a Navy Test Pilot School. So he could speak the language, but I relied on him heavily to I call it translate. Because even though I went into the jobs and acquisition is acquisition, you know, so if I did it for Navy, I can do it in army, I still had to learn the culture, I had to learn the way they did business. And so I had to ask a lot of questions. And I had to rely on a lot of people. As an engineer, that was hard. Okay, because throughout my career, I had been in what I’ll call naturally progressive jobs. So an engineer to IPT, li to a program manager to a deputy PE L. So in each case, I found myself in a position where I knew about what people below me were doing. So if caught in a bind, I could go on the door in my office, close the door and figure things out for myself. When I took that in one job, all bets
Hondo Geurts 27:21
are off the table. I already out there and one is personnel
Steffanie Easter 27:25
personnel. Yes. So when I went into military personnel, I mean, that whole my whole way of progressing through jobs changed. So I had to learn a different skill set. I had to learn how to rely on other people, I had to rely on my gut a lot more I had to delegate and things of that nature. So just having an open mind to continue to learn. And to leverage talent and ask questions, I guess is the way I did it. I never really thought about it. Really,
Lauren Bedula 27:52
that’s awesome. And I’ll steal this one from Honda. But something he talks about that makes a great leader is curiosity. And being comfortable to ask those questions, and then learn and develop from, from what you’re hearing, I think is so critical. So I think that’s a great tip for our listeners. And on that note, something we like to dig in to as well as workforce issues, talent issues, because we talk a lot about technology. But at the end of the day, this issue here is a human endeavor. Can you talk a little bit about how we might drive more talent towards national security missions?
Steffanie Easter 28:25
Uh, definitely, I think, and I mentioned this briefly, when I was talking about when I graduated from college, how I didn’t really understand there was an opportunity for me in the national security space working for DOD, a lot that still exists today. A lot of college graduates do not know that you can come work for department defense without wearing the uniform. So I think we have to get the word out. And that’s why I try to stay connected with my alma mater and other places and just say, Hey, if you’re a stem person or non stem person, I mean, DOD is his own world, right? I mean, it’s his own organization, its own ecosystem. So you can be in engineering, you can be in finance, you know, you could be a lawyer, but there’s work for you and the national security space. So I think that’s very important. Just letting people know that opportunity exists. And I’ll tell you, nothing better than that. Having the opportunity to support the men and women in uniform, who defend our freedoms every day is probably the most amazing thing you ever get to do. And I don’t just say that as worse. I mean, that from the bottom of my heart. So I, to me, it’s an easy decision. But I we also need to make sure that we are developing that workforce. And one of the challenges I saw in DOD is the training and education. I mean, you know, a lot of people get into their jobs. They’re so focused on delivering on their jobs, they don’t take time to develop themselves. And I think we have to do that. And finally, the DOD has to decide what talent they want to grow. versus what talent they want to acquire. Okay. And that’s a hard, I think you’ve probably dealt with some of this handout. But, you know, and this is on the uniform side and a civilian side, you know, I remember having conversations way back about, you know, do we need to look at the military structure to see if we can side lobe people in for lack of a better term, right? Do you have to grow everybody from scratch? You know, do you grow a cyber expert in the Navy? Or do you set up away for a great cyber person from a Google or something as reservists to come in and fill that role? I think we have to get creative and Talent Management the same way we are creative in our technology.
Hondo Geurts 30:41
Yes. Stephanie, one, I mean, you and I think have some really bizarre careers of just, you know, bouncing between multiple services and, and whatnot. And, and I like what you said a little bit about this, you know, it was easy when you had a serial career path. But I think to the listeners out there, whether you’re in, in an industry or in government, how does it bouncing across these, you know, multiple things? How does it mean, it helps to challenge it, but what is it? What does it allow you to do as a leader that you don’t think you would have achieved in a more traditional serial path? And what kind of superpower does that bring out of you? That that you that you’ve been able to leverage over the years?
Steffanie Easter 31:25
Definitely, the superpower is kind of like a people connect or superpower. Right? Because as I was saying, the, the technical part is the same, regardless of where you do it. I mean, acquisition is acquisition, whether they’re doing in the Air Force, and Navy, the Marine Corps or the army, but the cultures are different. So by pollinating across like a hot think of a bump, you’re just kind of go pollinated across, you have to learn to meet people where they are in their environment. And that drives you to have to develop a skill set, to be able to connect at different levels, just not on a communication, but an understanding, that is very different being on an aircraft carrier than it is being out in the desert. Hook a is very different, seeing the world from the sky as it is from the ground. So understanding that it allows you to not only broaden yourself, but to bring different perspectives. And it all comes together. Because what I think the ultimate goodness is, is that we fight as a unit, we don’t fight as individual services, we fight as a unit, and not just with our services, but with our allies. Right. So the more we understand what the other brings to the table. And from a leadership perspective, it helps develop that superpower. So you can take it to the next level from a national security perspective. So that when you’re having a conversation, when you’re reading, the national defense strategy, which is all about, you know, coming together as one unit, to deliver what we need to deliver from a national security perspective,
Hondo Geurts 33:01
I really enjoy that. I mean, we’ve we are the only nation that really, truly fights jointly. And the way we mature that and in the same sense, I think we’re going to have to do that between government and industry, we can no longer have an on so I think the opportunity for all of us is how do we if we’re going to create that future industrial network, or you’ve got to create common understanding, so that you can then get to respect once you get that, then you can figure out how to leverage it. So it’s a really powerful message for every one of you know, get uncomfortable, but that will over time allow you to become much more comfortable in uncomfortable situations.
Steffanie Easter 33:41
Oh, definitely. Definitely. And I’ll just stop that part about industry and the government. Transparency is the key. And I’m not saying selling the farm, believe me, that’s not what I’m saying. I know people like you turned to the dark side, Stephanie. But no, it’s just sharing enough. Like you alluded to, you know, you don’t have to be esclusiva be inclusive, right? What can I share? And just think of a what do I need industry to do for me, so that I can be more effective, and enrich like, what do I need from my customer to be more effective, and just remembering that it’s all about the customer? Because the ultimate customer are the men and women in uniform every day. They do what they do. That’s the only reason we all do this from either side. I know there’s financial incentives and things of that. But when it comes down to it, it’s about the men and women in uniform, who go out there every day to protect our freedoms. put it very simply.
Lauren Bedula 34:39
Well, on that note, Stephanie, I think your message around the importance of teaming is clear whether it’s between functions, the services, and certainly between the US government and industry. So thank you so much for taking the time today to share those insights. And I think there are a lot of great ideas here that we can push on to strengthen collaboration here.
Steffanie Easter 34:57
Thank you. Thanks again for the opportunity. Thank you guys for the great work you’re doing and trying to bring the two entities together and I wish you the very best.
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