Amentum VP Seth Eaton Evaluates Changes in GovCon Industry, Technologies & Their Impacts

Amentum VP Seth Eaton Evaluates Changes in GovCon Industry, Technologies & Their Impacts - top government contractors - best government contracting event

Seth Eaton’s career in the technology sector is fueled by a steadfast belief in the power of new tools, programs and systems to transform how comprehensively and how fast missions can be completed. Throughout his nearly three-decade working life, Eaton has helped organizations such as Cisco Systems, SIGMAnet, Active Network and Harris IT Systems (now part of Peraton) implement cloud technologies, set up and sustain sales architectures and optimize growth and technology outcomes for the customer.

From 2016 to 2021, Eaton played an instrumental role in technology leadership at Vectrus (now V2X) as director of technology solutions and executive director of technology. He came to PAE in July 2021 as chief technology officer and vice president of technology innovation for the company’s national security services department. When the organization was acquired by Amentum in 2022, he assumed the same role for the broader company.

For this Spotlight interview, Eaton spoke to ExecutiveBiz about how the government contracting landscape has evolved since he began his career in the 1990s, what impacts the demands of new emergent technologies have on the way Amentum and other companies do business and more.

What emerging technologies do you anticipate will have the greatest impact on our standing in the great power competition in the next few years? Where are you seeing opportunities for accelerated, meaningful tech growth for the U.S.?

I think the most impactful technologies will be in three main areas: environment and energy sustainability/safety; data intelligence and decision making; and modernization efforts related to engineering practices and infrastructure readiness. Historically, GovCon is not the fastest adopter of new technologies. So, we must find ways to take advantage of advancements we see in the market in order to outpace our global competition. We are starting to see options to deliver impactful solutions to customers much faster than in the past. As a leader in global engineering, project management and system integration, Amentum is fiercely committed to our customers, and we will continue to partner with them by working diligently to develop, engineer and implement solutions to support tomorrow’s missions.

What’s the most challenging aspect of transitioning from R&D and prototyping to actually fielding a new technology, and what solution would you propose for this challenge?

One huge hurdle in fielding new technologies is the government’s procurement and acquisition process. At Amentum, we spend a lot of time working to understand contract vehicles, funding cycles and compliance requirements. Thankfully, our legacy of strong customer relationships helps us get through these challenges in many cases. To give credit where it is due, we are seeing a lot of changes in these processes, but we probably all agree that there is work to be done to streamline getting the right technology into the hands of customers to help them succeed in their missions. Emerging technologies like hypersonics and unmanned aerial systems require addressing numerous technical, regulatory, financial, organizational challenges on top of the procurement and acquisition challenges. To successfully navigate these challenges often requires collaboration, effective project management and a deep understanding of the government’s unique operational and compliance requirements.

How has GovCon changed since you began your career, and what’s your take on the market now?

When I first started my career, the market was dominated by fewer and larger companies that the government needed to help deliver in areas that it simply could not. Amentum built a strong reputation by being willing to go to any place to ensure mission success. We remain just as globally agile even at the larger scale of today. Over time, more commercially driven technologies, tools and products became available. We adapted and continued to focus on our customers to implement new tech. Now, Amentum is focused on modernization solutions for our customers to integrate and operate technologies that augment and support the mission-focused workforce.

What’s the most impactful trend you’re currently seeing in the GovCon market? How are you seeing GovCon organizations respond to that trend?

I think the most impactful trend I’m currently seeing is the willingness of government customers to collaborate with industry. This interaction of the government to the defense industrial base was very rigidly structured for a long time, and, because of it, innovation was stifled. Now, it feels like, in many situations, we have a seat at the table with our customers to collaborate better. Amentum has a rich legacy of standing alongside our customers and delivering mission success in some pretty difficult situations. Now that the market environment is changing, we feel like we can take that passion to make a difference and co-create with our customers to create trailblazing solutions.

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