The growth of the government contracting industry ushered in partnerships with the private sector, new market reaches, and job opportunities. On the other hand, this growth also opened the way for threats to come in and wreak havoc on crucial data and supply chain security.
What is supply chain security?
Supply chain security is the aspect of supply chain management centered around identifying, evaluating, managing, and mitigating the risks associated with third-party vendors, suppliers, logistics, and transportation within the local and global markets.
With supply chain threats on the rise, modern supply chain security methods encompass detecting and managing threats linked to hardware, software, and products. Some of the notable supply chain threats include compromised partners, implanted backdoors, and vulnerable software and application codes.
What was the first major global supply chain security initiative?
The first major global supply chain security initiative was the Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (CTPAT) program. Launched in November 2001, CTPAT aimed to reinforce supply chain strategies and United States border security by sharing information and intel with importers, exporters, and the U.S. Customs and Borders Protection (CBP).
CTPAT works by securing agreements with the CBP to help businesses protect their supply chains, identify security risks and gaps, and implement definite security measures and practices. Today, over 100,000 certified businesses within the expansive trade community are part of CTPAT.
What are the best supply chain security practices?
Supply chain security best practices encompass many areas and may vary from company to company. That said, a robust and all-inclusive supply chain security approach should include risk management and cyber defense principles and these practices:
- Vulnerability mitigation and penetration testing with partners
- Data identification and encryption
- Automated notifications for senders and receivers to log and track shipments
- Utilization of tamper-evident seals for shipment
- Adoption of digital processes to secure crucial data transfers
- Regular auditing of open-source and vendor-source codes
- Restriction of third-party programs’ access and permissions
- Optimization, management, and security of internal networks
- Behavioral analysis, intrusion detection, and network-level scanning to track and analyze potential threats
- Response strategies for quickly acting on discovered threats
Notable Supply Chain Security Leaders to Watch in 2023
The changes in markets and supply chains have brought up exemplary professionals whose expertise extends across the supply chain domain. Outlined below are the notable supply chain security leaders to watch in 2023.
Note: The following list features esteemed leaders selected based on a comprehensive evaluation of their accomplishments, including their strategic vision, demonstrated impact on the industry, innovative contributions, and leadership prowess. However, this is in no way an exhaustive list. The industry is filled with talented professionals making significant contributions, warranting close attention for their achievements and potential impact.
Alex Whitworth, Director of Sales at Carahsoft Technologies
Alex Whitworth has been part of Carahsoft Technologies’ sales division since July 2009, with his career beginning as Account Representative. He ascended to the position of Sales Director in 2017 and is responsible for Carahsoft’s public sector sales, marketing strategies, channel development, contracts infrastructure, and supply chain security management.
Whitworth has been actively involved in Carahsoft’s efforts to establish technologies that mitigate cyberattacks on crucial data and supply chains. In a February 2023 blog post, Whitworth discussed the damage ransomware attacks could do to business and supply chain operations, noting that system downtime caused by cyberattacks in 2020 cost $20.9 billion to many businesses across the United States.
For organizations to bolster their ransomware detection and protection measures, Whitworth highlighted that enforcing firewalls, multifactor authentication, zero-trust, network segmentation, data access control, phishing email filters, software license monitoring, and vulnerability tracking are proactive solutions.
By enhancing cybersecurity and ransomware protection methods, companies will safeguard their crucial data across complex networks, secure their supply chain processes, and provide better value to customers.
Barbara Wade, Vice President of Procurement & Supply Chain Management at KBR
Barbara Wade is a distinguished leader in recognizing opportunities and efforts that propel business growth and market value. Since 2021, Wade has held the position of Vice President of Procurement & Supply Chain Management at KBR Inc.
In her current role, Wade draws from her wealth of experience to spur growth for KBR’s government solutions division, build lasting relationships with suppliers and vendors, gain buy-ins, and ensure the successful implementation of company plans.
Wade’s background in securing and managing supply chains contributed to KBR Inc. winning the Dwight D. Eisenhower Award for Excellence in Small Business Utilization. The accolade recognizes the company’s exceptional efforts in managing small business programs, utilizing suppliers and subcontractors, and implementing small business reporting requirements. Wade received the award on behalf of KBR on April 30, 2023, at the National Small Business Week in Washington, D.C.
Andras Szakal, Vice President and Chief Technology Officer at The Open Group
Andras Szakal has been The Open Group’s Vice President and Chief Technology Office since 2020. The Open Group is a global consortium aimed at enabling the achievement of business plans through technology standards.
Szakal is a distinguished leader in cybersecurity, cloud architecture, and supply chain security. He is responsible for the company’s corporate technology and provides strategic oversight on evolving standards in open government, IT and enterprise architecture, and cyber supply chain security.
One of his insights for organizations to secure and manage their supply chains is implementing actionable supply chain security. In an article he wrote in September 2022, Szakal underscored that businesses should analyze and evaluate their cybersecurity and supply chain risk management (SCRM) landscapes.
Some of the actionable supply chain security practices he talked about include:
- Conducting internal assessments of third-party assessment organizations (3PAO) to identify actor threats
- Applying compensating cloud capabilities to mitigate risks and apply achievable security controls and;
- Applying formal quantitative risk analysis strategies to assess ROI for additional security controls and strengthen risk mitigation approaches.
Ann Rusher, Vice President of Supply Chain Management at General Dynamics Mission Systems Unit
General Dynamics appointed Ann Rusher as Vice President of Supply Chain Management of its Mission Systems Unit in March 2022.
She spearheads teams responsible for subcontract management, the procurement of materials, services, and support capabilities across the organization, contract negotiation with suppliers and strategic partners, and solidifying relationships within the government, military, and homeland security communities.
General Dynamics achieved a significant milestone in December 2022 when it cemented its partnerships with eight small businesses. Rusher highlighted that this collaboration bolsters the company’s goals of supporting missions in the defense and federal government landscapes.
She added that the eight small business suppliers and General Dynamics share the same passion for diversifying innovation and delivering results tailored to critical customer needs for the present and future.
Jimmy Norcross, Vice President of Agile Digital Solutions at CACI
James “Jimmy” Norcross has been a vital member of CACI International’s sales and supply chain team since June 2017. He served as Senior Vice President of Supply Chain before assuming the role of Vice President of Agile Digital Solutions in 2021.
Norcross brings to the table over 30 years of experience handling sales, partnerships, and contract procurement operations within the military and federal government spaces. He acquired valuable experience from his previous roles at PricewaterhouseCoopers, Ventera Corporation, and IBM.
Among Norcross’ contributions to CACI is enabling customers to enhance their government data, platforms, and networks through digital modernization efforts. Additionally, he will continue to spearhead the company’s $750 million portfolio focused on sales, solution delivery, strategy development, and product management to spur growth across the Intelligence Community, the U.S. Department of Defense, other civilian agencies, and the federal market.
Joseph Niehaus, Senior Vice President of Logistics Solutions at LMI
Joseph “Joe” Niehaus is an industry leader with nearly 30 years of experience in sales, logistics, market strategies, supply chain management, end-to-end supply chain solutions, and sustainment capabilities. He joined LMI in 2021 and currently leads as Senior Vice President of Logistics Solutions.
Niehaus draws from his extensive professional background to lead teams supporting federal missions across the defense, civilian, public health, and homeland security spaces. Added to that, he currently leads LMI’s supply chain management and security operations.
Looking ahead into the future, Niehaus and his team are committed to supporting federal agencies by providing resilient and stronger supply chain security practices to address evolving changes in global supply chains. He actively contributes to LMI’s delivery of proactive solutions that are seminal to combatting threats to supply chain flows, homeland security, and other mission operations.
Bobby Fisher, Supply Chain Cybersecurity Risk Manager at BAE Systems
Bobby Fisher has been handling cybersecurity supply chain operations at BAE Systems since 2018. He began his career at the multinational defense and aerospace company as Cybersecurity Compliance Manager, then transitioned to Supply Chain Cybersecurity Risk Manager in 2022.
Fisher’s current responsibilities entail leading the company’s cybersecurity supply chain risk management (C-SCRM) and cross-functional enterprise programs. He is also actively involved in supporting the BAE Systems platform, intelligence, and security sectors to maintain supply chain security across the company and ensuring acquisition and procurement efforts comply with government and legal regulations and other necessary C-SCRM frameworks.
Prior to delving into the private sector, Fisher served as a senior enlisted adviser at the U.S. Army’s Program Executive Office, Ground Combat Systems. In this role, he oversaw the total life cycle management of the Army’s battle tanks, armored vehicles, ground weapons, and special howitzer systems.