Todd Borkey, chief technology officer of HII Mission Technologies, recently spoke with ExecutiveBiz regarding the current set of challenges to keep pace with the speed of innovation as well as the significant contributions that HII Mission Technologies has made to the federal landscape and what the future holds during the latest Executive Spotlight interview.
You can read the full interview with Todd Borkey below.
ExecutiveBiz: What does HII Mission Technologies do? What are your markets?
Todd Borkey: “As you know, HII is a trusted producer of the U.S. Navy’s most complex warships. We have been advancing the HII business portfolio to become a thought leader for the all-domain force.
A product of our multi-billion dollar acquisition strategy, we formed the Mission Technologies division. Today we are a leader at transitioning new technology into the DoD mission. Making up about 25 percent of all HII revenue, we manage over $1 billion of RDT&E work alone.
We are a fast-growing business with market-leading positions in LVC (live, virtual, constructive) simulation and training; artificial intelligence and machine learning; C5ISR; cyber and electronic warfare; autonomy; and nuclear services.
Our portfolio is ideally suited for the needs of the coming decade, and our work tempo for the last few years has reinforced that. We think of ourselves as tech-agnostic integrators; however, we develop advanced technical capability when the client requires it.
We were an early mover in AI and Big Data, where we created several ‘first of their kind’ programs. We also develop and operate the world’s largest LVC enterprise.”
ExecutiveBiz: What is new and exciting at HII Mission Technologies?
Todd Borkey: “We are witnessing and helping create the data revolution, an industrial inflection equal to that of the internet. Almost every one of our markets is becoming data-driven, predictive and increasingly autonomous.
There is a combination of tech, never seen before, making it all possible. We have secure, affordable clouds, open-source models, high-performance computing to the edge, and commercial space offering global sensing and data distribution.
It’s a very exciting time where data is now strategic. We are now ‘finding needles in fast-moving haystacks.’”
ExecutiveBiz: What contribution to HII Mission Technologies are you most proud of?
Todd Borkey: “My team saw the AI revolution coming in 2017 at the Silicon Valley tech conferences. We began studying the breakthroughs and substantially moved our IRAD into creating AI-powered processes for our clients.
We now have AI/ML project applications in every one of our business groups. We were one of the first to deploy computer vision in autonomous ISR and perhaps the first to deploy multi-lingual natural language processing (NLP) at a massive scale.
As a result of our organic efforts, we have been ranked in the top 10 federal AI contractors by Deltek (GovWin) since 2019. The agility of the team, and its cultural effect, will always be a great point of pride for me.”
ExecutiveBiz: What are the challenges to keeping pace with this rate of technical change?
Todd Borkey: “Culturally we must stay curious, externally focused and opportunistic. But it’s all about people. The new force required to deliver the data revolution needs to be built.
Everything is new, and talent is in short supply. In this domain, defense primes must compete with Silicon Valley and fintech for resources. We invest in training and recruiting creatively; however, it is the quality of our work that brings and keeps people to HII Mission Technologies.
We get to work on the hardest and most modern problem sets within the DoD. That is very motivating and attracts talent.”
ExecutiveBiz: What does the future look like for Mission Technologies?
Todd Borkey: “We see commercial space, distributed processing and AI/ML having a massive impact on the way we operate within the next five years. Humans are moving from ‘in the loop’ to ‘on the loop.’
We will improve operational availability, detect threats sooner, increase resiliency, remove clutter, and make better decisions under dynamic and contested conditions. We are driving our portfolio of capabilities, and our clients, toward these new possibilities.
The demands on national security resources are extraordinary, and we are working intensely to give them an edge with the new tech. I see our division deploying even more expeditionary technology in the form of critical new data systems and analytic processes.
We are confident in our vision yet acutely focused on the customer need for the mission.”
About Todd Borkey
Todd Borkey is the chief technology officer at HII’s Mission Technologies division. Named to this position in August 2021, he is responsible for the division’s technology strategy, along with its developments and technical operations. Borkey supports HII’s growth by leading R&D investment, developing new technologies and advancing customer solutions that meet the changing needs of HII’s clients. He also leads HII’s Artificial Intelligence campaign, creating market-leading AI/ML solutions for the defense and intelligence markets.
HII is an all-domain defense and technologies partner, recognized worldwide as America’s largest shipbuilder. With a 135-year history of trusted partnerships in advancing U.S. national security, HII delivers critical capabilities ranging from the most powerful and survivable naval ships ever built, to unmanned systems, ISR and AI/ML analytics. HII leads the industry in mission-driven solutions that support and enable an all-domain force. Headquartered in Virginia, HII’s skilled workforce is 44,000 strong.