Simon Everett, Ltd.

Simon Everett is an analytic design firm. We structure and implement analytic engagements to help government agencies, businesses, and non-profits solve problems, large and small. Whether our clients seek to create capabilities, improve processes, or inform decisions, we offer the proven ability to address their needs. Our consultative approach blends analytic agility with interdisciplinary expertise to produce functionally and aesthetically impactful results. We are successful when our clients tell us they can achieve better outcomes.

Filtering by Tag: defense

Net effect

Several weeks ago, I had the pleasure of participating in a panel discussion at the University of Maryland’s first annual Executive Cybersecurity Summit. There, I was able to share some insights our team has gained through supporting several statewide and regional efforts focused on advancing cybersecurity industry ecosystems. Notably, many of these insights run contrary to what we’re used to seeing in the DMV (for our non-Washingtonian friends, that refers to the DC, Maryland, and Virginia nexus). For example:

  • Cyber industry growth across the US isn’t always sparked by cybersecurity concerns. In our beltway backyard, cyber industry growth is mostly responsive to technical needs, particularly to fulfill network security requirements for federal agencies. But outside of the DC area, many cyber ecosystems have flourished in response to concentrated economic and workforce development initiatives. Cybersecurity professionals earn more than double the average salary in many parts of the country, indicating the industry’s effectiveness as a targeted lever for advancing a community’s workforce and economy. Accordingly, the Commonwealth of Kentucky commissioned us to conduct a statewide cybersecurity industry analysis as a means of assessing the career field’s viability for targeted workforce diversification. Similarly, California’s cyber initiative is as focused on education, innovation, and workforce development as it is on technical implementation.   

  • Cybersecurity initiatives aren’t always driven from the top. Just as federal government requirements play an outsized role in shaping the direction of the DC-area cyber industry, governors’ offices often drive successful statewide initiatives such as those seen in Virginia and Indiana. But in other areas, more localized efforts — often with the leadership and support of academic institutions — are making a splash. The Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Corporation, in partnership with Pikes Peak Community College, engaged us to map out the area’s cyber ecosystem and develop a strategic plan aimed at attracting cyber executives, investors, and workers to the region. And South Carolina’s statewide cyber initiative was born out of organic efforts within the University of South Carolina.

  • Just “doing cyber” won’t put you on the map — but specialization will. We’ve all heard about executives who decide they need to “get some of that social media” without having a plan for why — and the same goes for locales that plan to “get into the cyber game.” But areas that carve out a niche cyber application, a targeted industry angle, or a differentiating value proposition can more effectively coordinate resources and stakeholders according to a coherent strategic plan. Once again, DC’s federal (and security clearance-heavy) market serves as its own differentiator. But absent such an inbuilt distinction, Michigan has become known for its Cyber Civilian Corps and Cyber Range; San Antonio has built a strong cyber education system to complement its defense assets; and Augusta (Georgia) and Colorado Springs both advertise quality-of-life as a differentiating factor for cybersecurity professionals seeking a new home.

It’s worth pointing out that there is no single correct pathway for building a cybersecurity ecosystem. At one end of the spectrum are jurisdictions that test the waters by commissioning exploratory studies to assess the industry’s economic impact before determining whether a next step is even prudent. Moving along that spectrum, we find highly sequenced initiatives such as California’s CASCADE program, which began with supply chain mapping; then moved to strengthen the provider network through diversification efforts; and now leverages that improved network to offer more robust cybersecurity services, workshops, and assessments to wider industry across California. And at the other end of the spectrum, New York’s cyber thrust comprises an interconnected series of initiatives that marshal the unparalleled wealth and diversity of its economic resources. 

If there has been a consistent factor for success, it might be the assistance of the Department of Defense’s Office of Economic Adjustment (OEA). Through one of several types of grant programs it offers communities, OEA has funded efforts in many states aimed at enhancing the resilience of the defense supply chain — in which cybersecurity companies play an important role. Whether seeking to help separating military personnel find a second career in the cybersecurity industry, or to help the cybersecurity industry itself decrease its reliance upon defense spending, OEA has enabled many cyber economy initiatives across the country to initiate and grow towards self-sustainability. And no matter your personal thoughts on the right amount of US defense spending, decreasing our national workforce’s reliance upon it — while also improving cybersecurity capacity and capability in dozens of states — is a good thing.   

The changing of the cards

This past month, we welcomed Bill Eldard to the Simon Everett team. We’d already worked alongside Bill on a previous project when he operated under a different corporate banner, and we’re very pleased to add his expertise and camaraderie to our own squad.   

Bill is representing us at the strategic level of the Intelligence Community (IC), where he supports initiatives to improve the effectiveness and transparency of information sharing policies and processes with IC partners. He’s able to draw upon decades of experience supporting defense and intelligence activities, to include serving more than 20 years in the U.S. military, where he began in the Army and retired as a Commander in Naval Intelligence. Over the past 15 years, he has served in a variety of consulting roles to support intelligence production, operational and strategic planning, policy analysis, and interagency information sharing.    

Just as importantly, Bill is a true professional while making the workday more lighthearted for his colleagues. He also adds much depth to our team’s knowledge of strategy games both old and new – so we’ll be careful about initiating internal contests!

Welcome aboard, Bill!

Reply hazy, try again

Projecting the future can be a thankless task – not because you might get it wrong, but because someone might mistakenly think you’re expecting to get it right. In our business, it’s worth understanding the difference between the art & science of “projection” (for the sake of being prepared for what may come) and the magic 8-ball of “prediction” (for the sake of bragging about your Super Bowl pick).

Happily for the security of America and its allies, many US Department of Defense (DoD) organizations recognize the value of projecting how drivers may advance in the coming years so that they can prepare for a range of potential outcomes and stand ready to meet future challenges. In support of one such defense client, we recently teamed with prime contractor Barbaricum, LLC, to develop a suite of scenarios that explore how certain technologies might be employed by friendly forces, adversaries, civilian populations, and private organizations throughout Latin America over the next fifteen years. Barbaricum’s cadre of experienced military professionals, technology subject matter experts (SMEs), and regional specialists provided the “science” part of the equation. We tended to the “art” of designing structured exercises through which to elicit SME insights, constructing creative settings for the application of specified technologies, and developing compelling narratives to present potential outcomes and implications for DoD planners.

The resulting product may serve as a common framework for consideration of future force structure needs, recruitment strategies, training requirements, and capability gaps in a region that is traditionally underserved in the field of security studies. Each of these long-range planning aspects will undoubtedly be impacted by the rapid advance of technology – and this framework will help DoD better prepare for a complex future.

We’re proud of our projections and are working with Barbaricum to provide further support to our defense client. As for predictions, my season-opening call for Super Bowl LI was Steelers vs. Seahawks; outlook not so good.

 

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