S2: Honest and Uncomplicated

Q&A with S2 Analytical Solutions founding partners Steve Bailey and Sam Burton


Q: What is something most people don’t know about S2?

Not only are we managing partners of the company, but the company gets its name from ours—Steve and Sam—S2. This is highly important to us because we stake our personal reputations on the quality of our company—this is a value that is sometimes difficult to find. We took a risk starting our veteran-owned small business in 2011 in a turning market, but we wanted to better the GEOINT mission after both having supported the Department of Defense and Intelligence Community for many years.

Q: Who are S2’s customers?

S2 provides full lifecycle, mission-focused systems engineering, analytical, and business services and capabilities. The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) is our primary customer. We provide NGA with systems engineering and integration, program management, portfolio management, and cloud and agile services. We have capabilities that span the agency’s entire systems engineering lifecycle. We also support the National Reconnaissance Office, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and the Defense Intelligence Agency.

We have had many firsts—S2 was the lead engineer on the implementation of the first IC capability into the cloud. We led the first agile development effort at NGA, we were the first to implement lean startup for a project at NGA, and we led the integration of the first commercial technologies through the GEOINT Solutions Marketplace. We currently lead the activity-based intelligence/structured observation management/next-generation tasking efforts that will bring the first NGA enterprise-wide capabilities in these areas. We continue to take the risk in leaning forward to be the first to try something for our customers, and it’s even better to be the first to succeed in those areas.

Q: What are some GEOINT Community trends you are witnessing?

We see ever-increasing implementations of commercial technologies and best practices. S2 has been on the leading edge of this at NGA and we like to think of ourselves as a company that strives to not only talk about these things, but to execute them—hence our motto, ‘Excellence in Execution.’

The other trend we see is a movement to gap the chasm between the end user and systems engineers and integrators. The closer we are to the end user, the better we can enable the implementation of IT and business capabilities to support their mission needs. This will ensure engineers, integrators, subject matter experts, and project managers fully understand and mentally take ownership of the mission they support, and mission folks understand what technologies and processes exist to support them.

Q: How quickly has S2 grown?

Within NGA, we’ve grown from two to 75 employees in the last five years. We just had our first set of employees hit their five-year mark with S2, which we are very proud of. Our people are our treasure and we invest internally for their professional development. Since we began the company, we’ve doubled in size every two years. We’re currently looking for the best of the best in forward-leaning data and cloud architects, agile engineers, financial auditors, and portfolio and program managers as we continue to develop new capabilities and services for our customers.

Featured image: Sam Burton (right) with Dr. Greg Arnold, an S2 senior account executive, in the company’s booth at the GEOINT 2016 Symposium.


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