Greg Muhlner, vice president of sales and customer engagement with Rebellion Defense, recently spoke with ExecutiveBiz regarding the core values that drive the company’s culture as well as the challenges of implementing the latest emerging technologies and achieving its growth goals heading into 2023 during the latest Executive Spotlight interview.
You can read the full interview with Greg Muhlner below.
ExecutiveBiz: What are the core values that are important to your Rebellion Defense’s culture?
Greg Muhlner: “To understand our values, you have to understand why Rebellion Defense was founded. Simply put, software has redefined commercial industries as well as the world we live in. But the defense and national security sector has yet to bring the full force of modern software to bear at scale for military operations.
Rebellion was founded to change this by bringing mission-driven, unconventional, and imaginative minds to collaborate alongside the military to solve the most complex national security challenges with modern software.
We are a venture capital-backed company that builds mission-focused software products for the defense and security of the United States, the United Kingdom, and our allies.
Our core values are a critical aspect of what makes Rebellion Defense unique: Like many companies, we emphasize ownership, being mission-driven, and prioritizing customer needs.
Rebellion takes these values a step further by doubling down on speed and action to deliver the best outcomes for our customers. These operational values are underpinned by more human values that define what it means to be a Rebel.
We look for people who lead with empathy and courage, practice transparency and embrace diversity and difference. Everything we do internally and how we seek to show up to customers and partners reinforces these values.
An important additional point about that last value: embracing diversity and difference. The defense and tech industries are historically a monolith in terms of diversity, and we feel a strong sense of responsibility to change this.
Our recruiting team is committed to tapping into the extraordinarily diverse talent pools that may have never considered working in defense and national security. It is incredibly important that we bring diverse perspectives and experiences together to innovate on this mission.
At the end of the day, Rebellion is building a mission-driven software company that is ‘all in’ on defense and national security. Our unique venture capital backing leverages the “move fast” mentality you would expect from a Silicon Valley start-up.
Our mission, culture, and talented team continue to attract people to our company and we’re excited about the impact our products will have on national security.”
ExecutiveBiz: With federal agencies working to implement the latest trends in technology such as AI, 5G, cloud and many others, what are your thoughts on the success and challenges that government agencies are dealing with to stay ahead of innovation to establish the U.S. as THE global leader?
Greg Muhlner: “First and foremost, Rebellion Defense is very fortunate to have the backing of some of the best venture capital companies and investors in the world. Our board members have grown and scaled some of the most successful global software companies and helped build much of the tech that we use in our daily lives.
But I am reminded daily how challenging this mission is and simply overcoming the numerous barriers to entry into the Department of Defense (DoD) and Intelligence Community (IC) requires incredible levels of persistence and patience.
A maze of security and compliance requirements coupled with a lengthy and arcane budgeting and acquisition process makes gaining a meaningful foothold into this industry and delivering real outcomes extremely difficult – even for the best-capitalized start-up.
Despite these challenges, Rebellion Defense has done an extraordinarily good job over the last three years in learning, pivoting, and delivering to an initial set of defense and national security customers in the United States and the United Kingdom. We’re thankful that these customers see and share our vision: to deliver AI-enabled mission software that helps decision makers and operators sense, make sense, decide, and act at the speed of relevance.
There’s no denying that so much remains undone with regard to defense innovation. Rebellion seeks to be a trusted partner to the DoD, IC, and Federal civilian agencies because we will only see true progress if we do this together.”
ExecutiveBiz: What operational problems does Rebellion Defense software aim to solve?
Greg Muhlner: “We are investing $200+ million to build products that solve three critical defense and national security challenges: (1) comprehensive battlespace awareness: analyzing multi-source sensor data at speed and scale; (2) autonomous mission execution: automating task capabilities for joint operations to deliver better, faster mission outcomes; and (3) cyber readiness: emulating adversarial cyber tactics to empower organizations to continuously test their networks.
Regarding cyber readiness, we’ve seen recently a ton of interest from senior leaders who want to shift the Department’s cybersecurity approach from a check-list compliance mentality to one of continuous readiness.
The DoD has incredible red team operators but humans simply cannot scale across the entire military network. Our mission-built software – Rebellion Nova – helps red teams and network defenders detect and contextualize network vulnerabilities by running automated exploits against these vulnerabilities.”
ExecutiveBiz: With Rebellion Defense’s strategic goals and initiatives clear, what and how are you looking to grow your footprint in our industry for the rest of the year and into 2023?
Greg Muhlner: “We’re striving to do something completely different that has yet to be done in the defense and national security domain. We are building continuously updated, open API and interoperable mission software – delivered as a service – across multiple warfighting domains and across multiple services both in the United States and in the United Kingdom.
We’re growing fast and scaling faster, and we’re ecstatic about the reception we’re getting from customers and prospects who see the need for change and want to partner with a software company that is focused on its mission.
As far as benchmarks and growth objectives go, our investors expect that we will continue to scale. Our investors know that this is hard but they also deeply understand the strategic imperative of modern software to our national defense and are fiercely committed to making Rebellion a success.
They understand that success will come slowly, but each step will be meaningful for our warfighters. At the end of the day, that’s why Rebellion Defense exists: To deliver the critical capabilities that will enable us to maintain our competitive advantage on the battlefield.
Another key aspect is that we’re not alone in this challenge. We have a huge community of like-minded companies in this ecosystem that are also committed to changing the existing paradigm.
Recently, Rebellion Defense co-signed a letter to Congress with numerous other start-up companies to provide recommendations on how the DoD can more effectively adopt software-as-a-service (SaaS) capabilities in critical programs and systems in addition to other acquisition modernization recommendations.
This letter has since received quite a bit of positive attention on the Hill, as well as within the Department of Defense. We fundamentally believe in the “it takes a village” approach to change the mindset and the bureaucracy to enable defense entrants and start-up companies to respond to emerging national security threats.
Ultimately, our collective goal is for the warfighter to have access to the best software when and where they need it most.”