Luckily for us, we have internal resources that most companies don’t have.  Over 60% of our employees are former military, with varying degrees of leadership training and skills.  In addition, several of our employees (Tom Lang, Russ Novak, RADM (ret) Ham Tallent) are former “TOPGUN” (the Navy Fighter Weapons School) instructors, one of the most rigorous schools in terms of instructor training.  As a company we perform training across a variety of areas from information security to ethics training.  In short we have the resources to train our people in the skills they need to succeed.

 One training program developed by former Top Gun instructor Tom Lang we have run is a one-day course intended to teach college students or others without any U.S. military background how to speak the language of the military and military procurement programs so that they can add value much more quickly with our Department of Defense customers.  The program is called “DoD 101” (for Department of Defense 101).  That course is designed to help a young, smart person straight from their degree program or from civilian industry to understand the acronyms, the service organizational and rank structures, and some of the complexities of the customers’ programs much more quickly than they would by simply being thrown into the job.  The course helps to eliminate many of the uncertainties and anxieties confronting those new hires that have not been exposed to DoD practices.

We also run an internal training program on information security skills whereby some of our cyber-ninjas pick a particular topic and conduct tailored training for the other members of the team.  This is an effective method of ensuring that perishable skills are kept current, and that the most recent cyber exploitation events are broken down for our information security team members.  Externally, we run a program to teach government employees and other defense contractors the ins and outs of DIACAP – the process by which the DoD helps to secure its information systems against cyber attacks.

Another training program under development is “Leadership 101”.  This program is designed for those employees who aspire to a management role.  This course leverages many leadership best-practices from the military and industry.  This course breaks down management skills and practices into three basic types:  personal skills, the ability to look at oneself; team-focused skills that enhance a manager’s ability to effectively employ small groups; and corporate focused skills or those needed to make your company more successful. Through this course, leaders will develop both day-to-day management skills (time cards, tracking costs, hiring/firing) as well as the classic leadership skills (motivating your people, planting the seeds of a vision, etc.) needed to establish and maintain a corporate culture of excellence.  We have found that while these skills remain in great demand in our industry they tend to be relatively rare and difficult to find.

Cyber Security Federated Model

Cyber Security Federated Model (Photo credit: Argonne National Laboratory)

This program is going to be rolled out in the next few months, to a waiting group of smart future (and some current) managers.  I’m hoping and expecting that this training will help ensure that even as the company grows there will be a consistency of leadership throughout the ranks which will create a stable platform for future growth.