John Serafini, CEO of Hawkeye 360, recently sat down for an Executive Spotlight interview to discuss the company’s recent expansion of its executive team and new advisory board members, a new contract award from the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency to focus on commercial GEOINT services and RF insights as well as the company’s commercial sector satellite capabilities and greater growth strategies heading towards bigger goals for 2025.
“We care deeply about supporting operations for our government and close allies. We also care about stopping horrible humanitarian abuses that exist around us…We can help bring light to dark circumstances…We’re using our technology to help solve the most difficult problems and circumstances around the globe.”
You can read the full Executive Spotlight with John Serafini below:
ExecutiveBiz: Earlier this year, Hawkeye 360 made a number of moves to expand its executive team and advisory board. How have recent executive hires and the building of your teams and culture helped establish the company as one of the top innovators in space technology?
“We have been blessed with a phenomenal management team and advisory board at Hawkeye 360. Back in February, we added Kari Bingen, who was previously the Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence, as our Chief Strategy Officer to help us derive our long term vision for the company’s expansion and growth as well as define how we can meet the requirements and future needs of our federal government clients.
I’m equally as excited about the newest members of our Advisory Board. In March, we added retired Air Force General Kevin P. Chilton, retired Navy Admiral Scott Swift, former Deputy Director of Naval Intelligence B. Lynn Wright, former Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence Stephanie O’Sullivan and former U.S. Representative Mac Thornberry.
Our Advisory Board meets on a quarterly basis and we solicit feedback from our advisors who work with us on individual engagements. We’re able to extract helpful information and value from their collective wisdom.
I think as a company, we’re different because we believe in the mantra of ‘mission first, people always.’ This is a company that predominantly focuses on the Department of Defense, the intelligence community, the homeland security ecosystem and all their international equivalents.
To effectively serve these organizations, and to meet the very high thresholds for performance and quality to be trusted as a vendor, we feel that you have to maintain a mission-first mentality. We recognize that customers rely on our products, so we want to deliver analytics and services that work and contribute to the customer’s mission. That thesis underpins the entire culture of the company.
We also look at our people as the most important and significant resource that we have. All of our 123 employees are a precious commodity to us. We treat our people like family and work to make their work conditions as comfortable as possible.”
ExecutiveBiz: Congrats on the recently announced new contract with NGA. What can you tell us about the dynamic between Hawkeye and the NGA and the work you’re doing together to continue expanding the commercial GEOINT sector to advance RF insights for our warfighters?
“We have been piloting and conducting early-stage development, testing and evaluation with early adopters within NGA who have recognized the value of commercial phenomenology in space. These early adopters consider commercial RF an important new tool in the analyst toolbox and we have been able to validate the demand for it.
Through this contract vehicle, which institutionalizes the relationship between Hawkeye 360 and the NGA, we are able to support them with RF mapping. This is effectively dots on a map that we generate from the data we collect with our satellites.
With our technology, we can effectively detect signals above 1 watt in power between 150 megahertz and 18 gigahertz, then process and analyze those signals to develop insights about activity. Eventually, we can track those signals over time and forecast where items like vessels will be in the future.
We care deeply about supporting operations for our government and close allies. We also care about stopping horrible humanitarian abuses that exist around us, as well as environmental crimes like illegal fishing, deforestation and animal poaching.
We can help bring light to dark circumstances, including human tragedies that have existed for hundreds of years. We’re using our technology to help solve the most difficult problems and circumstances around the globe.”
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ExecutiveBiz: What can you tell us about the expansion of commercial sector satellite capabilities? How does HawkEye 360 structure its development process to speed innovation?
“There are hardware challenges, and then there are software-related challenges. When you’re launching something into orbit, you know that you won’t be able to change the hardware once it’s up.
So we’ve structured our satellite development to be iteratively improved, with new capabilities available on each launch that will allow us to do more over time. That’s how we’ve addressed the physical evolution to maintain a proven foundation but also incorporate innovation.
But it is our processing and geolocation algorithms that provide us with the ability to perform data fusion and data analytics, converting huge amounts of RF data into actionable insights.
So many of our core competencies are focused on RF processing, RF machine learning, RF visualization, and data fusion. We are devoting considerable effort into improving the kind of output that you can only get from analyzing RF data.”
ExecutiveBiz: What are your thoughts on Hawkeye 360’s growth strategies to continue its operational and capacity requirements while also reaching its expansion efforts into 2022 and towards your bigger goals for 2025?
“We’re focused on getting to ten satellite clusters into orbit. Then we will aim to get to twenty satellite clusters, so we can reduce our revisit rate to about fifteen minutes, which would give us the capability to meet just about any foreseeable mission requirement that our customers could ask of us.
Hawkeye 360 is also heavily focused on becoming extremely proficient at fusing together different modalities and creating an orchestration platform on orbit to allow a tip-and-cue strategy with other modalities like optical and synthetic aperture radar.
This will allow us to detect anomalous RF activity and then tip another asset to take an image. We then fuse that data together and provide the data analytics to the customer.
The last objective is to invest in additional data science, machine learning and artificial intelligence capabilities to better understand the enormous amount of RF data that we’re collecting and — especially once we fuse it with other modalities — all the geospatial information that we have in our hands.
We need to contextualize all that information and convert it into a solution that the customer can ingest and actually be able to use. This is where we’d like to be in the near future.”