The Company Man: Interview with Lockheed Martin Executive
Bob Trono, vice president and chief security officer for Lockheed Martin Corporation, discusses how a cooperative relationship with the FBI is beneficial in combating economic espionage.
Bob Trono, Vice President and Chief Security Officer, Lockheed Martin Corporation:
Well it’s a very serious issue for our company and certainly, I think, the entire defense industrial base.
The military base is being targeted virtually every single day by foreign nation states, we understand that. And we've taken a lot of steps to try to mitigate the risk.
What our office has tried to do, our counterintelligence office within Lockheed Martin, is to understand the nature of the threat against Lockheed Martin. That is, what products, what services, what technology is high on the list of adversaries to steal?
And one of the principle ways we understand that is through the cooperative efforts with the FBI.
Once we are able to identify the threat, we then try to develop mitigation plans around that, such that we reduce our risk. Because ultimately the risk can affect a number of things at a company like Lockheed Martin.
First of all, current and future revenues, shareholder confidence, and in our case, because many times we are providing a product or service for the U.S. military, it ultimately can affect the national security and even potentially harm the war fighter on the battlefield.
The Bureau, I think, a number of years ago recognized that it’s very important to partner with companies, particularly in the defense base, because that’s a serious threat to our national security.
And so it has been a mutually designed effort on the part of the Bureau and a company like Lockheed Martin to make sure that we have established relationships at the national level, and—because we have facilities throughout the country—even at the local level.
So, our folks in places like Fort Worth, Texas and Sunnyvale, California have established and developed some very, very close relationships with the FBI field offices in those areas.
I see our relationship with the Bureau really in three separate ways.
And first of all, it’s in that sharing. So the Bureau, I believe, has been really proactive in helping us understand the nature of the threat and understanding how adversaries might look to steal our intellectual property.
Second, the Bureau has been very, very good in working with us to help educate our employee base about just how serious that threat is to a company like ours. So on many occasions all around the country at many of our facilities, FBI agents have come out, who are experts in the field, and talked to our employees about the threat, about how real it is, and how potentially dangerous it is.
And then thirdly, in the instance where there’s a suspected case of wrongdoing, we have worked our investigators internally very closely with the FBI in understanding the facts of that particular situation. And that relationship has been very, very good and positive.
I can understand, I think, why some companies would be a little leery about inviting the FBI in to look at the inner workings of their company.
But in the event that a company has information stolen, either by a foreign adversary or an insider, ultimately, the company is a victim of a crime. And the FBI has a long history—and a very positive history—of understanding the concerns of a victim and working with that victim to do what a victim would want and hope for, which is the vindication of their rights and, ultimately, a just result.
So I think that’s very much in the FBI’s wheelhouse, even in this different sort of crime.
It’s a multi-faceted approach, really. Everything from insuring that our clearance process and our background investigation process of our employees is really, really robust.
All the way to making sure that the security professionals within an organization are engaged with the employee base such that we understand what’s going on with them in their lives.
And it’s also important to cultivate, I believe, a culture of an engagement so that employees understand what the threat is and are able to work with and be engaged with their fellow employees to try to mitigate that risk.
I think it’s really important that companies are sophisticated and diligent about properly marking proprietary information at the outset.
It’s important that robust counterintelligence and security training and awareness is delivered to all employees.
It’s important that that continues throughout the course of their employment.
The biggest surprise in working with the FBI is just how proactive they've been in terms of providing really useful, actionable information to us, both at the classified and unclassified level. That was a bit of a surprise for me, frankly, when I came into the company, just how proactive the FBI has been.
Well, understand, we make leading-edge military technology—military aircraft, missiles, among a whole variety of other leading technology—and so we're targeted every single day.
Sometimes a foreign adversary is a nation-state and sometimes it’s a company and sometimes it’s one in the same.
We take the threat very, very seriously, and the risk to the company and to the national security could be really severe.
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