Gil Guarino is the executive vice president of the Transformation Solutions Business Group at CACI International Inc. He spoke with ExecutiveBiz about his military experience, emerging markets and overcoming challenges.
ExecutiveBiz: How have you drawn on your military experience to help you in your current position?
Gil Guarino: I’ve had a diverse 20 year Air Force career largely focused on major weapon system acquisition and complex program management. Over that period, I was involved in all aspects of program definition leading to creating solicitations and evaluating responses for many different types of weapon system and information systems. During my last 3 years in the Air Force I was the CIO for Air Force Systems Command (AFSC), which was the R&D and acquisition major command of the Air Force. It was through this job that I became interested in information technology and chose to pursue an IT and professional services career after retiring versus continuing to work in the major weapons systems field. Enabling the business of government through the use of information technology was just beginning when I retired and it was an exciting time. Having been responsible for a multi-billion dollar IT program in support of AFSC, much of what I’ve done since has benefited from both my CIO and weapon systems acquisition experience, primarily in the pursuit, capture and execution of IT solution programs and delivery of professional services. That broad experience has enabled me to work with customers and the teams that I’ve led to structure programs to achieve desired outcomes and to reduce delivery risk. Also and because of the diversity of program experience, I been able to tap that learning to address bids/programs in all types of contract environments, including fixed price, cost plus and, and T&M. Looking back on my 20 great years in the Air Force and reflecting on what I’ve done over the past 20+ years in industry, there’s no doubt that my military experience directly translates into what I’m doing today – helping shape and win programs so that we can deliver solutions and services that exceed our customers expectations.
ExecutiveBiz: What is your take on the administration’s approach to looking to cut back on defense spending?
Gil Guarino: First of all, the FY11 President’s budget represents a 4 percent increase over the FY10 budget. Looking ahead and given the economic realities we face as a nation, there will be pressures to reduce defense spending, however, I’d assert that at worst, the FY12 and out budgets will remain flat in base year dollars. That said, within a relatively flat budget there will be significant reductions in unnecessary and duplicative weapon system programs, with a realignment of those savings to the growing need for asymmetrical capabilities to address the real and growing threat to our Nation and allies. I think that we’re going to see a concerted effort to achieve greater efficiency and effectiveness, replacing legacy information systems with integrated, cross functional solutions that will reduced the cost of supporting the defense infrastructure. Government and industry are going to be challenged to innovate and to get more of a return from the same or lesser expenditures. Those firms that can bring innovative solutions to the table; deliver on their commitments and have the diversity of solutions and services to support the defense, intelligence, homeland security and transformation of government markets should still be able to grow in this evolving budget and Federal business environment.
In my view, no matter what party occupies the White House or has the majority in Congress, they’re going to be faced with the realities that we are living in a dangerous world, and we need to be “ever vigilant” in pre-empting and defeating those that would do harm to the United States and its allies/friends. So, while there will be pressure and desires to cut the budget, the realities will keep it flat, increasing capabilities through innovative solutions and services and initiatives to achieve efficiency and effectiveness.
ExecutiveBiz: What are some emerging trends in the market that could make a large impact on the business soon?
Gil Guarino: I believe we’ll see continued and even growing spending in the intelligence, C4ISR, asymmetrical warfare and transformation of government with the defense, intelligence and homeland security markets. These are all areas that CACI has significant presence and is focused on growing. The needs for solutions and services within these markets to integrate information sources and provide timely and accurate information for the war fighters, as well as to catch the “bad guys” is constant and technology’s evolving such that we’ll be able to provide innovative and cost-effective solutions to meet those needs. In the asymmetrical warfare space, we see continued needs to provide solutions and services that will help special operations forces pre-empt and defeat the global terrorist threat. Again, we take great pride in being able to say that we’re helping our customers work in this mission domain. In the area of transformation of government, the need to consolidate and modernize IT infrastructures, make them secure in a Cyber world and enable the business of government through cross-functional technology solutions, becomes the key towards achieving the efficiency and effectiveness objectives of our customers which is an imperative towards being able to subsequently reinvest savings in war fighting and mission capabilities.
ExecutiveBiz: What are some of the challenges that you face in your role and how do you overcome them?
Gil Guarino: First of all, we exist in a very competitive market and I’m happy to be pursuing and winning business as part of CACI because the company has a great record of delivery on our promises and a great range of services and solutions in the markets I commented on previously (intelligence, C4ISR, asymmetrical war fare and transformation of government). That said, one challenge is our ability to differentiate ourselves in the market and we’re working hard to do that by being innovative, delivering on our commitments and quickly addressing issues when they arise. The biggest issue that I deal with and think about constantly is deal flow – will the business opportunities we are targeting to win happen as advertised. We work hard to insure that we’re pursuing the right balance of opportunities, strategic and tactical, that will be funded and actually award and execute to the schedules/scope advertized. While that’s what I worry about from my Business Group’s perspective, it’s assuring to know that from a CACI-wide perspective, we cover enough of the Federal market that across the four CACI Business Groups we’ll continue to see deal flows that will enable us to continue to deliver on our financial guidance to the Street and our commitment to shareholder value. Executing business, getting talented people and delivering on our commitments to our customers is not an issue or challenge for CACI – we do that well.
ExecutiveBiz: My last question is more on a personal note. What are some hobbies or activities that you enjoy in your downtime?
Gil Guarino: For the limited free time I have I enjoy playing golf and doing that on great golf course in the area and across the country. I’m also a wine enthusiast and I’m always looking for the next best bottle of Cabernet. Couple that together with eating in fine restaurants and traveling, and I can fill up any free time I have. Most recently, I’ve joined the Board of Directors for the Wolf Trap Foundation and I’m working with a great group of board members and Wolf Trap executives to extend the reach of Wolf Trap in our community and across the Nation. My wife and I have been avid supporters of the arts for years and I’m delighted to be able to reach out to others in the community to join in supporting a great national treasure.
ExecutiveBiz: What’s your favorite course to play?
Gil Guarino: I think I would say the Links at Spanish Bay, which is part of the Pebble Beach complex. Though, I hope to put Whistling Straights at the American Club in Kholer Wisconsin on the list shortly. And thinking about it a minute more, I’d have to say the Ocean Course at Cabo del Sol in Cabo San Lucas.