Chico Moline, president of PAE‘s national security solutions business, recently spoke with ExecutiveBiz regarding the impact of emerging technologies on the company, the challenges of talent recruitment, security clearances and PAE’s future in new markets.
“We’re increasing our footprint across the Intel community and building upon a legacy of secure construction work.”
ExecutiveBiz: What are some of the biggest challenges facing PAE’s National Security Solutions?
“One of our greatest challenges is the time it takes for staffing people with security clearances. While we attract eager, talented candidates, we are at the mercy of a great economy and a painfully slow clearance process. Additionally, there are hard-to-staff positions that require clearances, but the government’s Service Contract Act and wage determination creates situations where a contractor must pay a less competitive wage than what a job seeker can make at a [non-clearance] commercial job. We may be a candidate’s first choice employer, but between slow clearance times and SCA restrictions, candidates may have to accept alternative positions.
PAE is working with other industry partners to provide solutions to help with the onboarding of cleared employees on U.S. government programs. We’re supporting creating a clearing house of personnel who can be cleared for work at differing security levels throughout the government. Best practices would allow for a growth and development program that provides employees with a five-year plan of work at increasing levels of scope and responsibility. This would instill more investment by both employer and employee.
As clearances are processed at differing levels, employees can be managed through a system that provides coverage and continuity along with on-the-job training and indoctrination into specific skill areas. This solution would allow for better flow between government staff and industrial contract opportunities and it could easily involve both onsite and offsite locations for employees moving through the process.”
ExecutiveBiz: How have emerging technologies such as cloud or AI made a difference in the classified space?
“Emerging tech like big data, the Internet of Things, etc allows us to be innovative and provide better and smarter solutions. By using AI, you continue to be more efficient and evolve the solution. It allows the customer to get more of what they want at a lower cost with fewer errors.
Today Cloud storage has become much more affordable, therefore the solution becomes much more affordable. Moving data storage to the Cloud was huge reduction in cost. It eliminated the need for server farms at every location resulting in a more consistent and secure environment. AI allows us to learn more every day and processes analytics, so we work smarter.
Take for example our Operations and Maintenance contracts, to be able to do predictive maintenance is critical to efficiency. We use dashboards like IBM’s MAXIMO to leverage its full suite of enterprise asset management, workflows and project management tools to optimize our business and our client’s experience and reduce costs.”
ExecutiveBiz: PAE’s CSS Training Program has been officially recognized as an IACET Accredited Provider. What impact has that recognition had to present PAE in a different light?
“It’s huge. There are only two entities that have an IACET [International Association for Continuing Education and Training] accredited program for construction and surveillance technicians. One is PAE and the other one is the Department of State. Understandably, given the limited availability there’s demand for the training. It’s great for PAE because not only can we fill a need in the industry, but it also allows us to stay up on trends in technology and processes for doing construction surveillance technician work.
We can respond and react to emerging threats quickly and customize the training between projects and customers. It’s this type of agility that helps maintain our position as an industry leading expert and thought leader.
Being an IACET provider differentiates us. Our CST staff are all fully trained using the best methods associated with Intelligence Directive 705 and because we provide consistent training programs that are in high demand across this market segment.”
ExecutiveBiz: Where do you see PAE bringing the most value for the rest of 2019 and beyond? What new markets are you pursuing?
“Our overarching value as an organization comes from our diverse teams of experts stationed across seven continents, delivering smarter management services customized to our customer’s objectives. In NSS – we’re increasing our footprint across the Intel community, building upon a legacy of secure construction work. Of course, recent Intel contract wins will also provide us opportunities to expand our success.
Additionally, we’re moving into the health care claims markets, at more broadly providing technical full-spectrum tech security services and we’ve set our sights on greatly expanding our work with the Department of Energy and the National Nuclear Security Administration.”