Greg Clifton, general manager of Defense & National Security Group at Intel, recently spoke with ExecutiveBiz regarding the top technology needs in the federal government, the state of IT modernization in the public sector, working with trusted partners and Intel’s efforts to restore the U.S. position as a leader in semiconductor manufacturing.
In addition, Clifton touched upon some of the hottest topics on the minds of government technologists, including edge computing and processing, High Performance during the latest Executive Spotlight interview.
You can read the full interview with Greg Clifton below:
ExecutiveBiz: What can you tell us about your background, history with Intel and the work that goes into helping you customers achieve their mission goals?
Greg Clifton: “I’ve been with Intel for a little over 22 years. As General Manager of the Defense & National Security Group, I manage a fast-growing team of mission experts, including retired military veterans, whose responsibility is to match Intel’s technologies to our clients’ mission requirements.
Those missions might be related to command and control, logistics or intelligence gathering. Whatever the need, we provide them with CPUs, data center technology, networking capabilities, and more, to help them succeed. We serve the United States by making sure our government agencies have the right technology tools to meet their goals.
We also work with our clients to help them leverage innovative technology where appropriate. I’m continually asking things like: How can we combine the data and processing power we have today to make big impacts? How can we leverage 5G, edge computing, AI, and other technologies, both from Intel and our partners, to enhance our customers’ missions?”
ExecutiveBiz: How is Intel supporting the DoD and IC’s need for real time intelligence?
Greg Clifton: “Many of our customers are interested in moving data processing to the edge because it helps significantly improve the speed of information gathering and processing.
Historically they’d collect data on a sensor, physically remove the drives, and send the data to an analyst for processing, who would create a report and send it to a mission commander. All of this took an extraordinary amount of time.
Now, data can be collected and analyzed on edge devices and processed in near real-time time at the point of collection, whether that’s a sensor on a plane, collected by a warfighter in the field, or something else.
We enable decision making by delivering processing power at the edge in a form factor that addresses the stringent requirements for size, weight, and power. We do this by leveraging the vast array of compute capabilities of our Intel XPU strategy, including CPUs, GPUs, accelerators, video processing units, and more, to process any type of data from any sensor and at any point in the data flow.
Simultaneously, we provide silicon into base stations, flexible Radio Access Network capabilities, and more. It’s all as part of Intel’s concerted effort to allow High Performance Computing (HPC) at the edge.
At the same time, many of our customers are continuing to demand traditional HPC. We’re always looking to push the envelope in this area and find ways to process high data volumes to get quicker and more accurate answers.
It’s about helping our clients find the right information so they can come to the right conclusions as quickly as possible, regardless of the volume or complexity of the data.”
ExecutiveBiz: Are your customers also still grappling with IT modernization? If so, how are you helping them with their modernization efforts?
Greg Clifton: “IT modernization is still very important and top-of-mind for many of our government customers. When I talk to customers about IT modernization, I ask them to look at their missions. What are their objectives? How can they optimize their applications to meet those objectives? How can they make them run faster and more efficiently?
This is where having the right hardware and software matters. With the right combination, agencies can improve processing, reduce bottlenecks, increase performance, and really optimize their applications to deliver on their mission objectives.
That’s true IT modernization. It’s different from migrating something to the cloud, which, to me, is just like moving the deck furniture around on a ship. True IT modernization is about changing the ship itself, so it’s better suited to meeting long-term needs.”
ExecutiveBiz: Can you tell us a little bit about some of the partners you work with to help customers meet those needs?
Greg Clifton: “We work closely with many different partners, including hardware vendors, cloud service providers, software developers, ISVs, and systems integrators. All of them are critical to our success, and I can honestly say we would not be where we are without them.
Establishing close partnerships is important, for a couple of reasons. First, by working closely with our partners we can ensure that the software and hardware run as efficiently as possible together. Second, our partners, particularly value added resellers and systems integrators, are invaluable in bringing our solutions to the market.
We work with big partners, but we also work with smaller, up-and-coming organizations. In fact, Intel has always prided itself on innovation, so we’ve historically sought out partnerships with innovative startups with cool technologies. We’re always looking at the horizon, keeping an eye out for new ideas and capabilities we can introduce to our customers.
We support these and all of our partners with a number of resources to help them develop and sell their solutions to the government. For example, through the Intel Partner Alliance we provide training materials, collateral, and more. It’s part of our continuous effort to add value to our partners.”
ExecutiveBiz: Any other initiatives that you’re particularly proud of or excited about?
Greg Clifton: “I’m really excited about Intel’s recent multi-billion dollar investments in several new U.S.-based chip manufacturing factories. Late last year we broke ground on two factories in Chandler, Arizona, and earlier this year we announced plans to build two other factories in New Albany, Ohio, just outside of Columbus.
These factories are part of Intel’s effort to restore U.S. semiconductor manufacturing leadership. It couldn’t come at a better time, too, given the recent supply chain shortages we’re facing, particularly with regards to chips. With these U.S.-based factories, we’re going to ensure our customers have access to advanced semiconductor technology for years to come.”