The federal government’s biggest provider of information technology and services is moving to leverage its fast-growing cyber-security business in new areas by creating a senior executive to pursue opportunities in “regulated and adjacent markets.” The new executive, who has not been publicly identified, will report directly to Linda Gooden, the leader of Lockheed’s $10 billion information technology business. Gooden’s franchises were recently streamlined to focus almost exclusively on information services, software and networks, and she is now moving to become the dominant player in all facets of cyber security.
Many companies are trying to grab a piece of the government’s cyber business, which is viewed as one of the few federal-sector growth areas in coming years. However, only a handful of players such as Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics and Raytheon have a real chance of remaining first-tier providers over the long term. The challenge Gooden faces is that Lockheed is already so well positioned in areas such as military space, tactical aircraft, missile defense and information services that she needed to do something unusual in cyber to materially impact company results. The answer was a long-term plan to make Lockheed Martin the most trusted provider of cyber solutions not just in federal markets, but also in the broader economy.
The way Gooden is positioning Lockheed’s cyber business addresses a vital problem confronting the government: how does it secure critical private-sector infrastructure against cyber attack? Most utilities, financial networks and other key components of the economy are privately owned, so establishing national standards for cyber protection is not easy. The problem is made more challenging by the fact that the government’s most advanced cyber capabilities lie within the intelligence community, which is largely prohibited from involvement in domestic operations. But by leveraging national-security expertise in cyber security into civil and commercial markets, Lockheed Martin can participate in protecting infrastructure beyond the government’s reach while potentially generating billions of dollars in new revenues.
The company’s initial forays in working with electric-power companies appear to have proven highly successful, and at least for now the company’s preference is to continue dealing with enterprises that operate in highly regulated markets. However, it is developing such diverse expertise in various facets of cyber security that the growth potential of the new executive’s territory is nearly unlimited. This is the kind of “white space” business development that many federal contractors are contemplating as budget deficits limit future growth in the federal marketplace. But Lockheed Martin appears to have some options outside traditional markets that few competitors can match, a fact reflected in the decision to create a senior cyber executive for adjacent markets.
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