Top 100: Market turbulence doesn't deter Boeing investments

The company continues to make acquisitions and invest in research in new growth markets. Where are they putting their money?

Last October, Boeing Company’s Defense, Space and Security unit opened a 32,000-square-foot Cyber Engagement Center in Annapolis Junction, Md. The state-of-the-art facility is designed to create a collaborative environment in which cybersecurity specialists and research and development teams throughout the defense contractor can work with federal customers to develop ways of protecting their critical infrastructures.

In recent years, Boeing has made substantial investments in cybersecurity R&D and acquisitions, while connecting capabilities from across the organization to bring the best of Boeing to customers, officials said.

The Cyber Engagement Center, they said, underscores Boeing’s intensifying focus on cybersecurity expertise, which it can infuse throughout its entire portfolio, including its Information Solutions business.

“The Information Solutions business at Boeing continues to see an enduring need by customers for cyber-secure solutions that not only collect and share critical information, but also makes all of that information understandable and actionable,” said Dewey Houck, vice president and general manager of Information Solutions.

Boeing's government business is led by Dennis Muilenburg, executive vice president of Boeing Defense, Space & Security. The company is ranked No. 3 on the Top 100 with $7.5 billion in prime contracts.

The Cyber Engagement Center, Houck said, will help provide “dynamic data analysis, information sharing, traffic intelligence, analytics and other secure capabilities.”

In 2009, Boeing acquired eXMeritus, a company that furnished secure data-sharing technologies to federal government and law enforcement agencies, one of several acquisitions in the company's strategy to expand its presence in the cyber and intelligence markets.

Working through its newly designated Canadian reseller, Phirelight Security Solutions, the Information Solutions division recently completed the first international sale of eXMeritus HardwareWall. As a result, Phirelight will deploy a HardwareWall enterprise system that will enhance the secured information-sharing capabilities of Canada's defense and intelligence operations, officials said.

The sale of eXMeritus HardwareWall to a Canadian customer demonstrates Boeing’s “strategic objective to grow internationally,” part of its effort to “compete over the horizon” as the U.S. reduces Defense Department spending, company officials said.

Boeing “has spent several years planning for a decline in overall defense spending,” said Chris Raymond, vice president of business development and strategy for the Boeing Defense, Space and Security business. “Our focus has been and continues to be investing in core technologies such as cyber and information systems, C4ISR, unmanned systems, and logistics command and control. Organic and inorganic growth in these areas is key to our business strategy.”

Raymond added that Boeing “has cut costs and increased productivity in order to better compete over the horizon.”

However, officials stressed that, despite the potential for $1 trillion cuts in DOD’s budget, the company is not “hunkering down.”

They said Boeing will continue to execute on its core programs and aggressively pursue business in international markets and growth areas like cybersecurity, unmanned systems, C4ISR and adjacent areas.

Among other areas of opportunity for Boeing in the days ahead is “big data.” Customers of its Information Solutions unit, for example, say that one of their biggest challenges is a vast and ever-growing amount of data.

“One of our areas of focus is developing solutions that can take in the big data, secure it, analyze it, and then provide customers with situational awareness that will give them an information advantage in decision-making and mission operations,” one Boeing official said.

In addition, Boeing is also investing in areas that address “the macro trends” its customers are facing. They include data proliferation, persistent and asymmetric security threats, the consumerization of information technology, the government’s need for more efficiency, the rapid adoption of mobility and a shift in the business model to move to managed services.