Greg Wenzel, an executive vice president with Booz Allen Hamilton and a two-time Wash100 Award recipient, spoke with ExecutiveBiz for the publication’s latest Executive Spotlight interview discussing the positive results of Booz Allen’s second quarter and new market opportunities for its customers as well as the long term success of JADC2, the impact of emerging technologies on training modernization and more.
“We know the mission at hand and we’re focused on getting the DOD in this space and providing our soldiers, airmen and women what they need to survive and thrive in a near peer environment. We’re proud of the job we’ve done and the work we have towards our mission.”
You can read the full Executive Spotlight interview with Greg Wenzel below:
ExecutiveBiz: Congrats on the recent results of Booz Allen’s second quarter. What can you tell us about the company’s goals moving forward through its VoLT strategy to continue driving growth in the federal space and new market opportunities for your customers?
“Booz Allen brings a legacy of great history and heritage of being a consulting company, and we’ve been through this journey of transformation. Over the past decade, we have made the pivot to become a technology company and applied our culture of innovation to our clients’ most challenging missions. Under the leadership of our CEO Horacio Rozanski, we’re excited to launch the next chapter of our transformation journey through our VoLT – velocity, leadership, and technology – strategy.
We’re looking at how to bring speed to national priorities so that we can build the mission-based solutions our clients need faster and create new growth platforms for Booz Allen. We’re prioritizing solution areas like national cyber and the digital battlespace recognizing these are some of the most critical areas to our clients’ success.
From a personal perspective, I have the opportunity to lead our vision and solutions for the digital battlespace. I’ve built a team focused on delivering the Department of Defense (DoD) a set of networked, joint warfighting force solutions to meet the evolving threat environment facing our nation. In order to increase our velocity for DoD, we must deliver decision advantage at every level of the battlespace.
To create this decision advantage, I’m particularly excited to bring together a team of leaders, technologists and mission experts to build truly joint solutions that are customized to the mission and based on the principles of open, non-proprietary architectures.
I’ve had the opportunity to work across joint missions over the past twenty years and this has given me first-hand insights on the challenge facing defense leaders today. With the pivot toward more technologically sophisticated, near-peer adversaries, we must leverage solutions across the services in a way we’ve never achieved before.
I think the future of warfare will require a more digital/non-kinetic focus. It’ll be about information superiority and dominance. It’s classic Sun Tzu, ‘If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.’
ExecutiveBiz: Why does the DOD need an open and unified network in order to continue to drive tech capabilities for our warfighters in data access, sharing and other areas of battlefield intelligence? How will that unified platform ensure the long-term success of JADC2 as well?
“Today, DoD faces both an enormous challenge – and opportunity – because of the explosion of data available through various sensors, systems, and platforms. The challenge stems from our ability to fuse this information together in a way that gives the warfighter in the operating theatre an advantage.
Beyond the simple challenge of the volume of data, the DoD has also created networks on networks on networks and there are a lot of legacy reasons for that, such as classification levels. However, if one service builds a radio and another builds a similar radio, but the radios don’t connect then a ‘Joint Radio System’ isn’t going to work.
We’re really excited about the potential of the JADC2 concept and how it fits into the broader Joint Warfighting Construct. Over the past two years, Booz Allen has prioritized building solutions that will be imperative to bring this from concept to reality.
We’re looking forward to continuing to partner with DOD to help them apply these joint concepts into their key mission areas. In recent years, we’ve made an investment to create an open, smart data connecting solution that we call DB-Fabric that would allow the warfighter to connect and get data from the enterprise to the very tactical edge.
We’ve used the DB-Fabric to help the Army Futures Command (AFC) create ‘Rainmaker’ that was demonstrated in the recent Project Convergence 21 exercise. It’s that type of data fabric that connects joint sensor data all the way to a kinetic effect. That’s what we’re focusing on as we continue to partner with the Army and other services
In the future, we hope the DoD’s data fabric will be an assembly of several pieces that are open and connected instead of one single solution that can solve it all. That’s what we’re seeing with JADC2 – the importance of open systems that allow the services to connect.
ExecutiveBiz: With emerging technology such as augmented reality, virtual reality and others, what are your thoughts on the future of tech and training modernization to keep our warfighters and military systems ahead of the curve as technology continues to leap forward so rapidly?
“We recognize that in the future digital battlespace, DoD has the opportunity to take advantage of the incredible leaps being made in the consumer market for augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) – or what is now termed XR – extended reality.
For example, the line between training mission rehearsal and mission execution is starting to blur because the technology is evolving so quickly. I’ve been working with VR and its predecessor technologies for over 20 years. What’s evolved today is that the refresh rate and networking have improved so greatly that we can fight the fight ten times over before ever putting boots on the ground, which reduces the fog of war.
We are closing the boundaries from training in a remote location to simulating real environments so our warfighters can feel as if they’ve been to locations before they’ve ever step foot in them. We’re working on training and mission rehearsal. We’re measuring the effectiveness of those training in simulation products and how they assist the warfighter in mission execution.
The questions is: how do we know that our training process is effectively teaching our warfighters what they need to be successful when it’s for real?
DoD leaders today can use these technologies to quickly answer questions like – How fast can a soldier clear a room? Were there casualties? What was the stress level of that soldier in the room? If you’ve trained for that specific room through VR or augmented reality, it’s going to be easier because you’ve been there before and you’ll recognize when something is different.
We have a product called XRAETM – or Extended Reality Analytic Engine – which actually measures the performance of soldiers and training through AR/VR technologies. We’re using these advanced technologies to add more training solutions. Effective applications of these solutions will make the warfighter more effective and lethal for the battles of tomorrow.”