Considering all the news lately, if you think working with the government is akin to trying to complete one of those wacky obstacle courses on that silly show Wipeout, it would probably be an understatement.
The quest of some Congressional leaders to drastically eliminate federal spending basically led to a shutdown of the federal government. Constant fights over budgetary issues and debt ceilings seemed to lead off every national newscast the past month; and while the shutdown is thankfully over, the threat of a new stoppage related to government spending still looms.
But even the doom and gloom of political rhetoric and the murky waters of government contracting should not deter you in your quest for success in your security business. The government, in fact, remains as it has since the fallout of the Sept. 11 attacks — a boon for security deployment.
Putting aside federal spending for a moment, consider that one of the latest mass shooting attacks in this country occurred right in Congress’ backyard at the Washington Navy Yard. According to CNN, when a reporter asked Navy Cmdr. Tim Jirus that day whether he felt Building 197 at the Washington Navy Yard was secure, he answered the only way he could: “Not today.”
Indeed, the Navy Yard was thought to be secured, with layers of access control and perimeter protection; still, you can bet the Navy is reassessing its security measures; in fact, a Senate hearing into the nation's security clearance system — stemming from the Navy Yard shootings — opened yesterday. Once it gets beyond talk on the floor of Congress, it may be partially up to security integrators to step up with solutions.
Security Rules the Day
The bottom line is that despite the infighting on the floor of Congress, despite the often-heard calls to decrease spending, our government values security services and technology highly enough to keep the spigots open and the money flowing.
Here’s proof positive: On Oct. 10, during the middle of the government shutdown, the House passed a stopgap bill to restore federal funding to border security that was cut due to the shutdown. It makes sense: the negative fallout for a politician who proposes to cut security funding would be devastating.
As a security integrator, if your firm can wade through the certifications and approvals, and build up a positive reputation as a government contractor — it has the potential to pay the kind of dividends that happen in your greatest dreams. In our cover story, you will read that according to James Cotter, Senior VP of the Government Solutions Sector for Kratos Defense & Security Solutions, government contracting makes up 80 percent of his firm’s business. That would be 800 million bucks.
If government contracting is foreign to you, be sure to check out SD&I's coming November cover story and special section, which will be available soon in your mailbox, or online at www.securityinfowatch.com/magazine/secu (Note: Sign up for a FREE print or digital subscription to SD&I at http://bit.ly/subscribe2SDI). This special section should serve as a guide to launch you into at least considering it as a potential revenue stream. Just as in any market, integrators that have an edge are the ones that are truly full-service, offering a broad range of technologies, design/engineering capabilities, and the ability to maintain and service not only their own installations but existing systems as well.
Much like corporate, retail, education and other customers, government facility managers and procurement directors are looking for a partner — a trusted associate to help them meet their demanding security needs. To them, navigating the obstacle course of security technologies and services is analogous to the one you are running to figure out how to land government contracts. “Integrators can have an advantage depending on their business model,” says Keith Jernigan of G4S Technology — one of the integrators featured in our cover story. “Customers are looking for partners and security experts. If you are truly a vendor-agnostic integrator, you have the ability to take a consultative approach to addressing the customer needs.”