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SAIC’s John Jumper Talks Government Contracting, Sequestration and Cybersecurity at NVTC Titans Breakfast

On Thursday, Sept. 27, more than 600 attendees gathered at The Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner for the first NVTC Titans breakfast of the 2012-2013 series. The event featured SAIC Chair of the Board and CEO John Jumper, who discussed government contracting, sequestration and cybersecurity in a fireside chat with NVTC Chair Brad Antle of Salient Federal Solutions.

SAIC Chair of the Board and CEO John Jumper addressing more than 600 attendees during a fireside chat with NVTC Chair Brad Antle at the Titans event.
SAIC Chair of the Board and CEO John Jumper addressing more than 600 attendees during a fireside chat with NVTC Chair Brad Antle at the Titans event.

During the event, Jumper addressed SAIC’s recently announced plan to separate into two independent, publicly traded companies, saying the split will allow each company to grow by lowering overhead and increasing competitiveness, eliminating organizational conflicts of interest and providing greater market alignment. Regarding impending decisions regarding location and names for the new companies, Jumper stated “It’s safe to say that we’ll be very close to where we are right now.”

On the topic of sequestration, Jumper expressed his belief that Congress will find a way to delay the automatic cuts, which he explained would make many government programs “unexecutable.” To prepare for sequestration, he believes companies should get their costs under control and explained that SAIC would comply with the WARN Act, while attempting not to be disruptive to employees and customers.

Describing technology as “a core competency” of our nation, Jumper expressed concern that government budget cuts would jeopardize fragile technologies used by the military in the field and hurt future investments in research and development.

When discussing SAIC’s small business development efforts, Jumper urged small businesses interested in teaming with SAIC or other big companies to contact them early in the process and clearly explain their core competencies, since teams are often formed months before the RFP is released

Jumper also addressed cybersecurity, warning the commercial sector that waiting for a cataclysmic event before focusing on cyber threats is dangerous because “if you are worth somebody’s attention, they’re already there.” Rather than “playing goalie” against cyber threats, companies must manage their security in a cyber world.

Titans gift presentation to Jumper.
Titans gift presentation to Jumper.

The morning ended with a lively question-and-answer session during which Jumper discussed sequestration’s potential impacts on recruiting and retaining top talent as well as U.S. foreign strategy, particularly in Asia. He explained that the new environment caused by budget cuts requires a shift in focus from building new platforms to a capabilities-based process in which the government should break down barriers and network all available wisdom to be more effective.

Jumper also shared that SAIC has signed up to participate in the Commonwealth STEM Industry Internship Program, which connects college and university students majoring in science, engineering, technology and math (STEM) related fields with Virginia companies offering internships.