Perspecta: Experience Never Looked So New

Q&A with Kent Matlick, senior vice president and general manager, Intelligence Group


What challenges does Perspecta help its customers solve?

Kent Matlick, Perspecta

Perspecta was formed in June as a spinoff of DXC Technology’s U.S. Public Sector business combined with two private equity-backed companies owned by Veritas Capital—Vencore and KeyPoint Government Solutions. The company’s Intelligence Group can be traced back through Vencore to Lockheed Martin and General Electric.

We serve federal customers including the Department of Defense, civilian agencies, and all members of the Intelligence Community. Our intelligence work originated in 1972 doing end-to-end systems integration on a program with the National Reconnaissance Office. Our geospatial work dates back to the Defense Mapping Agency and the National Photographic Interpretation Center, leading up to our work today with the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA). We’re proud of that legacy.

One challenge for our customers is transforming legacy systems to cloud-native systems. Everyone wants to leverage the efficiencies and cost savings associated with the cloud, but that is sometimes difficult and complex. We use Model-Based Systems Engineering to improve integration and reduce timelines.

Another challenge is aligning budget and IT via business architecture to assess return on investment. We provide a dashboard that uses an agile management approach to link strategy, missions, capabilities, value streams, and solutions.

Finally, some of our customers need to integrate increasingly diverse and complex sources across a globally distributed cloud-scalable architecture. We offer high-fidelity modeling and simulation tools for collection and data flow analysis as well as predictive modeling.

What differentiates Perspecta with regard to intelligence systems engineering and data analytics?

We’ve been doing this a long time. One of my favorite lines we’ve used since becoming Perspecta is “experience never looked so new.” This speaks to both our long legacy and our innovative spirit. One differentiating aspect relates to our acquisition of one of the Bell Labs businesses in New Jersey, which is now Perspecta Labs. They do deep, innovative, and applied research in areas like cyber, cloud, and quantum for organizations like the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

We’re also working on big data and machine learning. Two years ago, we used an innovative, open-source advanced analytics technique to monitor activities in Syria and provide intelligence for a number of agencies. In his September 2016 remarks to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, NGA Director Robert Cardillo stated, “The program also serves as a testbed for future ceasefire monitoring around the world, with a goal towards placing fewer peacekeepers’ lives at risk.”

What are some steps that organizations can take to improve their systems integration or data services?

Recognize the value of establishing an approach, a budget, and a schedule. Many companies jump into agile solutions with little to no outline. Agile definitely has its advantages, but it is not the end-all. You have to know what you want out of it.

At Perspecta, we have adaptive systems integration methods that mix agile, spiral, and traditional methodologies to balance flexibility. The market is jumping from traditional legacy systems to cloud systems, and what’s popular now are hybrid clouds—a mix of architecture approaches. It takes a fair amount of diligence and understanding for a company to define what that means for them. You need to know the range of operations in your customer base to make sure you’re servicing everybody correctly.

How are you leveraging emerging technologies to better serve your clients?

Perspecta Labs has a program with DARPA called Learning Using Privileged Information. They have developed a unique machine learning paradigm that enables learning from heterogeneous data and provides higher accuracy than classical supervised machine learning. This is a promising approach that can be applied to image assessment and production.

Also, our Risk Decision group is developing a risk assessment tool called PrimaryGlass, which uses predictive analytics and machine learning to create pattern-of-life profiles. These profiles can be used in both continuous evaluation and insider threat programs.

What excites you about the future of geospatial technology?

There are so many possibilities. I recently read a New York Times article about mobile apps and location tracking. For now, that technology is primarily focused on selling data to advertising companies, but think about the future. Everything will be tagged and portrayed on a geospatial plane. Making this data available to the government’s background investigators, like some of my Perspecta colleagues, will enable a “trusted workforce” construct and may even eliminate the security clearance backlog. And given the shortfall in cleared talent, it could help us find the folks we need to continue to advance the industry. This is an exciting time.

Featured Image Credit: Perspecta


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