Q&A: Ralph Wade, Vice President, Booz Allen Hamilton, on the AFEI Industry Day: Envisioning the Future of Battlespace Awareness - (Archived)

Ralph Wade Vice President, Strategic Innovation Group Booz Allen Hamilton

Ralph Wade
Vice President
Booz Allen Hamilton

In any industry, open dialogue and collaboration facilitate progress and innovation. Technology is changing every aspect of our personal and professional lives, making this kind of communication ever more critical. Because the Association for Enterprise Information (AFEI) understands this need, it sponsors Industry Days that provide open forums to facilitate this communication.

On April 10, Booz Allen Hamilton is hosting the AFEI Industry Day for Battlespace Awareness, which is the ability to understand dispositions and intentions, as well as the characteristics and conditions, of the operational environment. Battlespace Awareness leverages intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, and meteorological and oceanographic information to create a complete picture of the threat. And the threat changes daily, making a forum of this nature more important than ever.

FedPulse sat down with Booz Allen Hamilton Vice President to discuss the key themes of this year’s Battlespace Awareness Industry Day. Ralph is a leader in the firm’s Strategic Innovation Group (SIG) and is focused on Digital Solutions/C4ISR across government and military organizations.

FedPulse: Why do you feel Industry Days in general, and this one in particular, are critical?

Ralph: Bringing together top leaders in industry and government in one place to have an open, honest dialogue benefits everyone. It gives industry an idea of what the priorities and challenges are for government, and it gives government insight into the advances industry is making. Sharing this knowledge helps everyone work more efficiently and holistically toward delivering an agency’s mission — we are stronger whenever we can have an open forum to talk about what is going on.

The Battlespace Awareness Industry Day is a great example of that. We’re bringing together top leaders from the government and industry who are directly involved in Battlespace Awareness. Our theme this year is “Envisioning the Future of Battlespace Awareness,” and our discussions will reflect the critical issues we are all facing.

It’s a very exciting time—we are at an inflection point where we need to make significant investments and draw on new technologies to meet the threats and challenges ahead of us. For example, we have access to an explosion of data with limited analytical resources to analyze it—how can we handle this, and analyze it efficiently? This Industry Day brings together the right people to focus on answers to questions like this and share new ideas.

FedPulse: What inspired this theme?

Ralph: There is no single catalyst or event that inspired the theme of envisioning the future. Rather, there has been a convergence of three major factors.

First, while we’re drawing down from two wars (Afghanistan and Iraq), we are still involved in smaller engagements around the world. The threats we face have changed significantly or are morphing — from country-to-country threats to individual terrorist actors. We need systems that can quickly adapt to these new threats.

Second, the defense budget continues to shrink. That means we have to make strategic choices about where to place future investment.

And third, there has been an explosion of commercial technology that can be leveraged to support Battlespace Awareness. Our adversaries are taking advantage of the new communications and enterprise systems technology and we need to do that as well.

FedPulse: What are the primary topics this Industry Day will focus on?

Ralph: The broad topic is focused on the threat to national security, which is evolving rapidly and continues to transform. Our intelligence, reconnaissance, and surveillance (ISR) systems must evolve to meet these changes. For example, information technology is migrating toward cloud technology which provides instant access to information. We are fully embracing cloud-based systems in our private lives. We need to find a way to do this with military systems and address challenges such as security and the application migration.

The discussion will address initiatives targeted at increasing the effectiveness of Battlespace Awareness, including future platforms, sensors, commercial IT advances, and enterprise initiatives, including the Joint Information Environment (JIE), Intelligence Community Information Technology Enterprise (ICITE) and the Defense Intelligence Information Enterprise (DI2E).

FedPulse: What kind of actionable information can participants expect to take away from this?

Ralph: Our goal is for every attendee to leave with a firm understanding of the criteria, priorities and hard problems agencies face as they transform their Battlespace Awareness to meet future challenges. I believe the panel we have lined up will provide a very rich context for where the Intelligence Community and DoD stand on these issues. From industry, we will have a great picture of where innovation is occurring and how industry and the government can partner to leverage that innovation in the acquisition and fielding of new capabilities. We expect meaningful conversation that every person can take back and incorporate into their work.

FedPulse: Your final thoughts on the event?

Ralph: I am personally excited about this event. We have an amazing group of panelists who will provide great insight into the future of Battlespace Awareness. This is going to be a morning well spent, and I hope to see many colleagues on April 10.

FedPulse would like to thank Ralph for taking the time to speak with us. Learn more about the AFEI Industry Day: Envisioning the Future of Battlespace Awareness, April 10, 2015.

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