Mike Roberts leads GLOBAL Integrated Security, the U.S. security services arm of Global Strategies Group, as president and works to grow the division’s presence in areas including security, intelligence, training and logistics.
He led USIS‘ global security and solutions division as president before joining GIS and oversaw more than 3,000 employees that provided information security services to defense and intelligence agencies in the U.S.
Roberts discussed his decision to join GIS in this conversation with ExecutiveBiz and outlined how his organization fits into the overall structure and strategy of GLOBAL Strategies Group. He also described the U.S. government’s increased emphasis on how its security contractors meet compliance with international standards.
ExecutiveBiz: What attracted you to join GLOBAL Integrated Security (GIS), the U.S. security services division of Global Strategies Group (GLOBAL), earlier this year?
Mike Roberts: I knew of the excellent reputation and rich history of GLOBAL from working as a subcontractor to them on a major Department of State program while I was at USIS.
I’ve been involved throughout my career in international projects supporting the US national security mission overseas. GLOBAL was renowned for running major programs in some very challenging environments around the world – programs that have had a major positive impact both for the U.S. and the communities in which GLOBAL has worked. I think of the company’s work on the first Afghan elections, for example, its counter-narcotics training and capacity building projects, its contribution to strengthening aviation security, and, of course, its successful investments in vital counter-terrorism capability through GTEC.
Working in such areas is all about managing complexity to ensure the security and effectiveness of customer operations, and all done with acute sensitivity to the communities in which you’re operating, and maintaining good standing with host governments. GLOBAL excels at that. As the U.S. security services division of GLOBAL, the vast majority of the work of GIS is international, in the areas of counterterrorism, counternarcotics and critical infrastructure protection. GIS performs this work in some of the most challenging environments in the world, and its license to operate comes from its reputation, the values and behaviors of its people, and operational excellence. Those were the key factors that convinced me to join. My experience since joining has entirely vindicated my decision!
ExecutiveBiz: What are your priorities at GIS moving forward?
Mike Roberts: For me, the priorities are clear: growth, performance and compliance.
I want to build on our great track record for growth through innovation in the services we provide. I am working with some of the brightest people in the industry, with a deep understanding of the threat environments that our customers are faced with. I am bringing in new people with complementary skill sets to further strengthen our ability to win new business and continue delivering world class solutions to our customers. I will also ensure that we continue to invest to ensure that our capabilities are aligned to customer priorities in the areas of defense, intelligence, diplomacy and development where we have a very strong grounding.
Of course, our success is based on well over a decade of operational excellence that GIS has worked hard to maintain. Again , we will invest to ensure that we have the people, systems and processes in place to ensure those levels of excellence are sustained through the next ten years and beyond. That applies equally to our ability to support major programs and smaller, more expeditionary projects wherever the U.S. government requires us to be.
Underpinning all of that is our relentless commitment as a leader in the areas of ethics and compliance, and I will continue to place great emphasis on that aspect as central to our license to operate. As an example of that, GIS is proud to be a founding member of the ICOC Association and the International Code of Conduct for private security contractors. The U.S. government will increasingly require its security partners to adhere to these international standards. GIS, as a founding member, is well positioned to be at the forefront of this important initiative.
ExecutiveBiz: How does the company work to differentiate itself in the national security market?
Mike Roberts: I’ve been in the defense industry for a long time. One of the most important lessons I’ve learned is that if a Company has a great reputation based on excellent, assured performance, and that you are flexible and committed, then future work will come your way.
Of course, there are a lot of other things that have to happen for a Company to get from point A to point B, but maintaining operational excellence and a great reputation is the key to long term success. I believe GLOBAL has a reputation for being one of the most reliable, dependable performers in the industry, never having created reputational issues for our customers and, ready to go ‘always a little further’ as our company mantra puts it. We are very proud of that. When Customers think of GLOBAL I believe they perceive a Company of professionals who can get the job done in any challenging environment. We need to ensure that continues to be the case.
What GIS wants to do is partner with our customers to deliver success – success for customers and for the communities in which they and we operate. We always take time to understand the customer’s s criteria for success and then build a program to achieve it. Our people are driven to do just that, using innovation to define our approach. So ultimately, it’s our values and behaviors that help to differentiate us in the industry.
ExecutiveBiz: What is the structure of GIS and how does it fit into the larger Global Strategies Group?
Mike Roberts: Global Strategies Group is our parent , and GIS is the U.S. security services division of the company . Global Strategies Group is an international defense and national security organization that supports commercial and government projects worldwide. GIS is focused on supporting the U.S. national security mission . GIS maintains a top secret security clearance, working for many years under a Special Security Agreement governance arrangement with an independent Board of Directors. I sit on the Board as President of the company.
ExecutiveBiz: What are some ways that your company and the GovCon industry can improve the solutions you provide?
Mike Roberts: I think it is very important to always strive to develop a collaborative approach with the government. Our industry has a deep understanding of the evolving threat environment, which, combined with that of the government, provides a comprehensive picture. We constantly seek to work more closely together with our customers, and earlier in the process to develop and implement comprehensive and robust operational solutions. Engaging early and helping shape the requirement, using our experience, can ultimately lead to better, more innovative solutions for long term, sustainable success.