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The Future of Cyber Depends on You

How one leader is addressing tomorrow’s threats today

Meet Mark Smyth-Roberts, Lockheed Martin’s new leader of the Cyber Works Centre in Gloucester, UK. In this interview, Mark discusses what drew him to the role and what excites him about the future of cyber work at Lockheed Martin UK. Interested in joining his team? See all available positions here!


What is the Cyber Works Centre?
The Cyber Works Centre is a centre of excellence for Lockheed Martin in the UK where we have an incredibly talented team of people working to support our national security and defence customers and to contribute to a wide portfolio of Lockheed Martin programmes.  It is a key site in reinforcing our company’s recognised position as being integral to the UK’s industrial and export base and supports the UK/US defence and intelligence communities. Our portfolio includes an integrated suite of capabilities across cybersecurity, electronic warfare, data analytics and intelligence products.  And we place our focus on emerging technology related to security and safety in an environment that can be described as ‘always on, always connected and always online’.

Tell us about your background.
I have a military background, having spent 20 years as an officer in the British Army, serving with the Royal Corps of Signals. For the last 12 years I have been working in industry where I have held a combination of innovation, capability delivery and business growth roles. My military service gave me valuable insight into the challenges our customers face and the capabilities they seek to develop. In industry, I have been working in customer-facing roles in the defence, security, law enforcement and critical national infrastructure sectors in the UK and overseas markets. I have learned a great deal about listening to the customer and achieving business success in an increasingly challenging defence and security market.  I have also learned what makes a team successful, especially the importance of people, who are the priority for my role here at Lockheed Martin.

What brought you to Lockheed Martin?
Lockheed Martin offers so much value to our customers based on our talent, technology and research investments. I knew I wanted to be part of that success story. I joined because I felt I could add value to an already successful team by taking them to the next stage of growth and beyond. I hope to bring knowledge and experience both in my understanding of the market and in leadership of talented people. My goal is to ensure that each individual is rewarded for their efforts and realises their potential.

"We have an incredibly talented team of people working to support our national security and defence customers at Lockheed Martin’s Cyber Works Centre."

What are some of the Cyber Work Centre’s upcoming projects and/or focus areas?
First and foremost, we will be maintaining the already excellent relationship we have with our current customers, while looking for areas to broaden our portfolio of support. Our other projects focus on novel capability areas to help our customers exploit new technologies.  For example, we just stood up our Global Cyber Range, an exciting system that allows our customers to rapidly plan, design and build a virtual enterprise IT network, including network features such as web sites, applications and IoT devices.  The innovation in the range is that we can do this quickly and dynamically using bespoke design, automation and virtual object configuration tools.

We are also developing expertise in new programming languages to work with Software Defined Radios in complex electro-magnetic environments. This is an emerging and novel technology area linked to future defence and security programmes, in which Lockheed Martin can demonstrate innovation coupled with first class system engineering principles.  The resultant capabilities combine radio frequency monitoring with data analytics, machine learning, radio controls and antenna theory.

What concerns you about the cyber environment?
Firstly, our customers face an uphill battle of keeping on top of the latest threats and behaviours, in a world that doesn’t follow predetermined rules. This doesn’t just affect technology but also its use. We need to remain mindful of the legal, ethical and financial constraints that our customers face.

Secondly is the availability of talent. There is some excellent work being done through STEM, university engagement and apprenticeship schemes to identify and support individuals with the potential to succeed. We cannot take our foot off the pedal, and I am looking forward to supporting and increasing efforts to engage with the cyber community, to increase diversity and play a part in developing those individuals.

What excites you about the future of that environment?
Lockheed Martin’s combination of artificial intelligence, machine learning, spectrum analysis, platform sensors, advanced programming and associated security technologies puts Lockheed Martin at the forefront of the fifth industrial revolution. Every individual involved, including me, can play a part in shaping our response to that revolution. Government, law enforcement and military agencies cannot keep us safe without industry support and by delivering the right capability, at the right time, to the right place we can play a part.

Are you hiring?
Yes, we have engineers, mathematicians, physicists, programmers, project managers and a range of other skills required to undertake the most complex of integrated hardware and software system engineering projects. We are looking for talent and potential as much as experience. You can see all those openings at our website clicking the button below.