Building The Base

In this episode of Building the Base, hosts Lauren Bedula and Hondo Geurts welcome General Joe Anderson, former Deputy Chief of Staff of the Army, G-3/5/7, and current President and CEO of Rafael Systems USA, a defense company specializing in advanced defense systems. General Anderson shares his journey into the military, driven by a family tradition of service, and discusses his experiences transitioning from the military to the private sector. 

He emphasizes the challenges of building trust and fostering partnerships between startups and the Department of Defense (DOD). General Anderson highlights the importance of integrating new technologies into existing systems and the need for a more rapid and agile acquisition process. He also addresses the talent shortage in technical fields, suggesting the necessity of investing in education, training, and talent management. 

The episode takes a poignant turn as General Anderson discusses the recent conflict in Israel, expressing the personal and business impacts it has had on him and his colleagues at Rafael Systems USA. The episode sheds light on the complexities of defense industry partnerships, emphasizing the need for flexibility, trust, and adaptability in navigating the ever-changing landscape of military and defense technologies.

Key Takeaways:
  1. Building trust and fostering partnerships between startups and the Department of Defense is essential for the successful integration of new technologies into defense systems.

  2. Rapid and agile acquisition processes are necessary to keep pace with technological advancements and prevent analog devices from becoming obsolete.

  3. The defense industry faces challenges in talent recruitment, requiring investments in education, training, and talent management to attract skilled professionals.

  4. Interoperability and integration are crucial for incorporating new technologies into existing defense systems without adding complexity or compromising functionality.

  5. Recent conflicts, such as the one in Israel, have a profound impact on defense companies, necessitating internal reprioritization and adaptability in response to changing circumstances.

What is Building The Base?

"Building the Base" - an in-depth series of conversations with top entrepreneurs and leaders from tech, financial, industrial, and public sectors.

Our special guests are weighing in on a broad selection of topics such as: shaping our future national security industrial base, leadership in challenging times, experiences related to the intersection of business and national security, and personal anecdotes related to their positions of influence.

Building the base is hosted by our own BENS member Lauren Bedula who is the Managing Director and National Security Technology Practice Lead at Beacon Global Strategies, and BENS Distinguished Fellow, Jim "Hondo" Geurts who retired from performing the duties of the Under Secretary of the Navy and former Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development & Acquisition.

Lauren Bedula 00:52
Welcome back to building the base, Lauren Bedula and Hondo Geurts. Here with General Joe Anderson as today's guest, we are so excited to have General Anderson with us today, because he's got incredible experience both within the Department of Defense, having last served as Deputy Chief of Staff of the Army, G 357, which is essentially overseeing all operations for the US Army, which we could talk about a little bit later. And then is currently president and CEO of Rafael systems within the US. So, I got to make sure I have got that dynamic. Right. And want to get into that later today, too, because you are a US subsidiary of a foreign parent company, which has interesting implications in the DIB so generally understand. Thanks so much for joining us today. Lauren.

Gen. Joe Anderson 01:34
Good to be here. Hondo. Good to see you.

Hondo Geurts 01:36
Good to see you, Joe. Hey, you know, we'll talk a lot about the end of your career, what you're doing now, but we're always kind of interested in, you know, how'd you get in the army? How'd you get to West Point, what sets you kind of on this trajectory that you've done through this kind of amazing career to brings you here today?

Gen. Joe Anderson 01:52
It was all family. So I had, every, every level of my family served my grandfather was World War One, my dad was World War Two, my brother was Vietnam, her and then it was my turn. And my mother was actually a whack Nurse Assistant. So all my uncles, everybody, everybody did something at during those conflicts. So when it came time for me, it kind of instilled a little bit of a little bit of a patriotism isn't being about something being a little bit bigger than yourself. And that's kind of none of them were career guys. None of them were officers. I'm the guy that went a different path to the Academy. And that was based on sports initially, but grades got the worst of me because it was an engineering school at that point. So that's what changed my course on I still did things but not club level, not the AAA level.

Hondo Geurts 02:41
Where was your hometown?

Gen. Joe Anderson 02:43
Not too far away from there. You can in New York. Wow.

Lauren Bedula 02:47
And you've been out a few years now. And I'm curious, any take on the private sector? How was that transition? Any big surprises?

Gen. Joe Anderson 02:54
It's hard. So you know, is Hondo knows, you know, loyalty and the military and teamwork and all that stuff is kind of a bedrock a foundation of what you do. You know, out here, it's not quite the same not obviously things, it's about business. It's about profit. So trust relationships are not necessary. It's not the same as being in a foxhole with somebody when somebody's shooting at you, when it's about making money. And that's the unfortunate part of the, in my opinion on the outside world, how you try to rectify that correct that build and improve upon it. I have not seen that as an easy path.

Lauren Bedula 03:29
Well, you've shown great interest in supporting tech companies, not just in your full time job, but serving an advisory or board capacity to startups or non-traditional. And something we talk a lot on our show about is how God has shown a lot of interest in bringing startups into the ecosystem. And you dealt with that on the inside. And now as an advisor, can you talk about why that's so important?

Gen. Joe Anderson 03:57
Because I think I had a pretty good feel of what the capability gaps were in the DOD. You know, and, and as I watched multidomain operations get as that watch was being built, it became very clear, you know, from an air land perspective, airline battle to how this was getting a heck of a lot more complicated. And in the niche capabilities of a lot of these bright companies I just always found fascinating because they tend to be back to the question you asked about outside when you're part of a big OEM, it's a big machine. When you watch these small niche, very capable, talented companies pulled engineers together, scientists, whatever, as you watch that equation get built and in the capabilities that they provide its first class, and it's very effective. And so again, frustrating watching them as they try to break into the market, though to bring that to the customer because again, they're the small outside player.

Hondo Geurts 04:56
Yeah, we often talk you know, I think a As a trade of the military, right back to the Speed of Trust, and going from kind of trust within the services, then we got joint trust, trust with allies, particularly over the last 20 years global war on terrorism, we really saw how that drove, you know, whether I was at SOCOM or the navy or in the army, we walked down the hallway to go figure out what's going on. Do you sense the trust gap between particularly startups and the DOD, but I would say even industry in the DOD, is that closing from either side? Or do you still see a pretty wide gap? You know, a lot of folks are talking about it. But

Gen. Joe Anderson 05:36
yeah, I don't think it's I don't think it's closing on it. What's your watch? It's the it's the classic scenario, we've all watched all of our careers, it's the infighting we back to this multidomain back to who should own hypersonic weapons based on who should who should have long range precision fires, you know, the roles and permissions of the services is once again kind of being challenged, redefined based on this new concept. And I think as a subset of that are a result of that is the fact that people get back to the infighting again about that. No, that's my world. And I need, you know, I need more ships. I need more tanks? And I think I know, so I don't think it necessarily has clarified any of those. It's only it's only made it more complicated.

Hondo Geurts 06:23
Yeah, I think I think that's certainly true. What do you think with industry? Do you think the trucks would finish a better or is it still come down to have all the trust in the world, but I still got, it's about a business relationship yet.

Gen. Joe Anderson 06:36
About the only way we've been able to grow is through partnerships, you know, joint ventures, teaming agreements, and all that kind of stuff, you know, but at the end of the day, you know, on certain products that the people you're quote, unquote, go into bed with is also your competitor. You know, the Israelis like to call them frenemies, you know, so at the end of the day, here you are offering to partner to accomplish a product to get it in the hands of the warfighters. But then, at the other hand, the people you're partnering with another endeavor may have other alternative motors? Well, I

Lauren Bedula 07:11
was gonna ask about just that, because trust and partnerships go hand in hand. And I'm curious for your take, when you talk about these joint ventures or partnerships for growth? are what are the profile of those companies look alike? How are you thinking about that, as leader of a defense company, targeting growth?

Gen. Joe Anderson 07:30
Well, I'm walking into a playing field that's already been established. So it's diff. When I came in, ignorantly about what that process was, you know, for Rafael, specifically Advanced Defense Systems, it was always about having to rely on the big primes to succeed. And that was, and that was their strategy here in the US forever. And then then got born this company, which is now the American, truly American company, because it cleared company in the US, but doesn't necessarily have all the immediate. We're only a four year old company, all the capacity from a manufacturing from an engineering as we as this ship continues to get built. So when Could you take this on yourself and say, I'm not dependent upon somebody else to be the manufacturer of my good oh, by the way, that particular company's label goes on to specific missile. Not doesn't say Raphael. So what's the path ahead is we American is here to kind of break out of that mold, but it takes but that takes investment that takes capabilities, you know, we we just signed a public private partnership with with the joint munitions command for McAlester, Army depo, to do exactly that, we want the spike missile made here, completely the United States, and we want it made by the US government. So it takes I have to keep finding ways to build that trust and let people know that we are totally willing to think and operate in different ways and what Raphael has had to do, since its inception. So that's a that's a big deal. But that can be done tomorrow.

Lauren Bedula 09:04
Do you see and I'm gonna pull this thread a little bit Raphael as part of your vision for growth to help enable companies who are looking to enter the market? Or are you partnering with more traditional type company

Gen. Joe Anderson 09:20
or traditional Yeah, we need we need their established past performance, their you know, their industrial base, maybe their engineers that that's, that's, that's the one that's changing the quickest for me. We've have our own engineering division now. And we're growing that by the by the contracts by the programs. So that's changing pretty, that's changing fairly rapidly. So the manufacturing one becomes obviously that's and you just saw there backfields partner with Raytheon or RTX down in Canada now for the Tamir based on Iron Dome and what the requirements are and Israel to get to get to me or missiles moving

Hondo Geurts 09:55
so in you've seen it for both sides, you know, for birdie, it doesn't know The code words like GE three is operations, G five is kind of more planning. And you know, both have big input into the budget and a planning perspective. And you had those roles in the army. And I think we've always struggled on the weapons side, because we want a bunch of them. But then when we don't want them, we want to go down to minimum sustaining production rate. And then we want a bunch of them again, and then we kind of go through these hills and valleys. Do you do have any ideas how we might do that more efficiently than kind of this boom or bust cycle we go through on the weapon side, either, you know, both from a customer side or supplier side?

Gen. Joe Anderson 10:39
Well, on the customer side, they gotta figure we had to do a huge, all events driven by what was happening in Europe, well, before Ukraine, way back to Crimea, all the way back to what was happening in Indo PAYCOM. And more specifically, the, at that time, the Korean peninsula. So the jug the juggling act over what types we needed, how many we needed was a constant juggling management game that we went through. And we really didn't have a good accountability. And as you know, then the question becomes, what's the supply chain? Look for that? You know, because we had we had things like Hell fires being fired, still in the Mideast people riding motorcycles. And that wasn't quite what hell fire was designed to be used for. So we had to put a control supply rate. And we went so as the G three, you are the requirements guy for all the ammunition, you're not the supplier, you're the requirements guy, your team, you know, and managing the team or which is the master list of all the different munitions? How do you how do you clean up? And what do you think you're looking for? In there was clearly bleed over by echelon, what does a tactical unit need as you work your way all the way up from a to an operational strategic organization and how you balance what that what those weapons types, what those munitions were designed to do, based on what the war plans call for, which was supposed to be the driving factor? Force forcing function,

Hondo Geurts 12:05
right. But on the supply side, and I'm sure you're seeing it here, we you know, we don't have the organic capacity. Do you think public private partnerships are a great way for us to get back to that sustainable supply chain that we can tailor to need more efficiently then kind of boom or bust?

Gen. Joe Anderson 12:22
I think it was, it was awesome. And during our recent FLSA, that that command actually has that joint munitions command actually has 17 facilities. I know there's a big industrial base modernization plan, which is obviously important. How do you crews improved from, you know, limited production to full rate, l rip to F rip, whatever the case may be? How do you get there? But I think in the meantime, maximize the capabilities there is there is and I know everyone says it's all tapped out? I can, I can say with certainty, because I walked it last January, that it's not. So how do you how do you expand upon that? And then how do you partner with industry based on what is out there, and then what the big boys have and what they can do to augment you and by the way, allies, you know, in a hesitancy once you put it again, once you put a foreign, I am going to use the F word in a different context. When you when the foreign piece of it everybody, everybody gets everybody gets nervous in their production capabilities. And many of those guns were more or a lot of our stuff was made. Germany, Poland, Spain, you name it, it can certainly it can certainly do it for us.

Lauren Bedula 13:28
So how are you thinking about on the industry side? international partnerships, like the ones you mentioned, as we entered this period of centrally D globalization deglobalization or how are you navigating international partners, we are just

Gen. Joe Anderson 13:40
expanding it off the charts. And so as you look at you know, as you look at and so not as an advert I'll be generic enough so doesn't sound like I'm trying to advertise anything, is you look at our family of missiles and the use in 40 Plus nations use that missile 20 Plus NATO nations use that missile and from the in your old world when we talk about us standardization supply chain, you know, and you're talking about the missile currently in use, and again, I'll invoice avoid names, not to insult anybody but I'm the guy that fielded that in 1997 at back then Fort Bragg under the now Secretary of Defense and so I know what that system can do from bottom to top because we're the ones that tested it for the army and fielded it now here we are, you know 30 Coming up on 30 years later it's the same one and there's there are there are capabilities out that that beat it in any category you want to pick to include price and now we have to watch based on what's happening in in Ukraine from a compromised situation what types of stuff technologies capability start to get compromised based on what's happening there and Anderson 13:40 how you take a little bit of a different view strategically based on what that means.

Lauren Bedula 14:55
I want to go back we are talking about supply chain modernization efforts at and get your take on modernization efforts in general, especially from what you saw when you were in your leadership position within the Army. Any examples of what works and you could pick an industry if its supply chain, great, but across the board, I'd say all of these different modernization efforts that have popped up.

Gen. Joe Anderson 15:19
Well, before I forget it, cuz I am getting old. The first thing is we didn't have modernization priorities. And so every time we're speaking, we were talking about testifying. Every time I went up there for the readiness hearings, the posture hearings, every year, we got beat up, because where's the Army's modernization strategy? So kudos to the fact that we listened. We did it. And then we had a little bit mission creep, and we had to six plus two, and then we keep throwing, we keep mixing the ball a little bit. So because again, the more you have, the more complicated it gets to prioritize. And I think the best example is soldier lethality. I think if I was to, and I, I think you would agree that the combat lethality of our soldiers from weapon systems to goggles and those when you because when you put that in a comparison to an air missile defense system, to a future vertical lift to a next generation combat vehicle to the net, there can't be anything more spaghetti it up than a network, you know, so I think I think that one had it had the right people pushing it, it had the right prioritization that had the right, and it had the right soldier input to help it move along. Pretty quickly.

Hondo Geurts 16:30
Yeah, I think. And I think it had to go back to trust and relationships between, you know, you've got a background and Rangers and you know, there was a good from the Special Ops to the Airborne Ranger all the way down to common infantry. And it was just dissected Well, enough, individual technologies could more easily earn your way on there, where you didn't have to go modernize a ship or something else like that. And so I think that that's a, that's a great example. When you were in the field, now, again, maybe even a better year do for all of us now, you know, for these young technology companies, now that you've seen them? What's your advice to them? Because, you know, many times they have a technology, but maybe not a solution. You know, what drove you nuts when you were in the field, and you got some new piece of kit? And, and what really made said, Oh, man, this, this really makes a difference. I'm interested,

Gen. Joe Anderson 17:26
I think two key words. I know, I think interoperability, so you had to make number one, you had to make sure that when you were trying to feel something new, it would play with the other systems, like fires. So you could actually do time sensitive stuff. I think the biggest takeaway, though, is integration. And I think what, no one wants more boxes, nobody wants more weight, nobody wants more wires, etc. So, the sort of the key is how do you take an existing system? How do you enable it? Is it software? Is it a laser? What is it? But how do you how do you integrate it to what currently exists? And again, oh, and you know, and always keeping in mind and swap starts to become a big buzzword but swap is still a reality when talk when you're talking size, weight and power and you know, and it's not getting easier when you when you talk about 150-kilowatt laser Yeah, that takes some energy.

Hondo Geurts 18:26
Yeah, I often talk to you know, some of these, the smaller guys and they have great technology, great algorithms. And I say it was just like your phone, right? You do not want another app to carry another cord to talk to your car and you do not want to have that another battery, you know, your battery drains and a half an hour versus 10 hours and those kinds of things. But it is amazing the ideas and you know what is happening in a commercial world that

Gen. Joe Anderson 18:51
there are there are spectacular companies out here and you to obviously know that and I think I think the frustration is how do you get away from this on the acquisition process? We've Anderson 18:51 way back to when we had contingency dollars for the wars to the other transaction authorities. But why, you know, your phone is a great example. You know, I want something commercially off the shelf as walking by the you know, the Apple store yesterday. I want to be able to buy that now but fully knowing next year, the 16 is coming up. And so why do I miss a lot and why do I have to keep testing and demonstrating that the phone works? You know, but Anderson 18:51 a much more rapid agile which we just we say it, we talk about it. It makes 100% Maybe 110% sense but we just we just keep staying in where we were we spend so much money we take so much time and by the time we get the equipment in the hands of the warfighter. It's an analog device versus a digital device.

Lauren Bedula 19:54
What's your take on the problem? Is it a matter of policy and authority? Is it a cultural problem? Um,

Gen. Joe Anderson 20:00
it's both policy and authority. And I am not an acquisition executive, but policy, that guy is policy and authorities for sure. But the cultural, just decide, you know, just make a decision. You know, and do it.

Lauren Bedula 20:18
So, with that, when it comes down to the issue, technology's obviously front and center, but at the end of the day, it is a human endeavor, right? We like to talk about talent and workforce. What is your take on the outlook there? The Army's having trouble recruiting, what do you see in on the industry side? How can we foster more interest in this area?

Gen. Joe Anderson 20:36
Well, these are highly technical fields. So again, from education, training, experiential, academic, etc., you know, you are talking up here now versus, you know, on integration engineers, test engineer, software engineers, mechanical engineers, etc. So, it is a, it is a field that we as a nation need to keep making the investment on, and all the stem efforts and everything else are wonderful, you know, but let us avert that is a very competitive marketplace out here. We are all look; we are all looking for the same qualified qualifications writ large across industry. So, it is very, very, very competitive. And so how, how industry grows their own, how they invent, you know, what, what kind of intern programs, you do exchange programs, you do fellowship programs, you do what however, however you groom that to grow your own, and I think talent, I think that's probably part of the problem. What has happened in the military, it is the top talent managements like a buzzword, like mentorship used to be everybody is that said, you must, you must have a mentor, you must have a mentor, you must have a mentor. Yes, most people today, who was your mentor, they do not have did not have one. So how, so how do you foster those kinds of relationships, but did not talent management takes time, effort, investment, to groom people. And that is, I think, probably one of the most and take there is a lot of reasons that we took some shortcuts when we started cutting schools and things back in, you know, in the surge in Iraq, the surge in Afghanistan, and we were, when I took over the d3 job and 50, we were at, we were hurting on manpower, based on the end strength going down, we were in trouble. And the posture saved us. But so now, as you are watching that end, strength go down, and now you are watching the pipeline of people, because the economy, the jobs are out, again, if you read the paper today, based on the article about the Ukraine funding and how industry has not really realized that money yet because they still cannot find, you know, there are hundreds of people short in their engineering jobs today, you know,

Hondo Geurts 22:36
yeah, I think there is you know, there is an opportunity in the challenge of, you know, folks that want to serve maybe they do not want to serve in uniform, maybe they want to serve in industry, maybe they want to serve in government labs or depots and stuff. And so, I think some of it is trying to get the word out. There is lots of ways to serve the country Correct. Not you do not have to be in uniform and be the first one to get on the airplane and be serving your country. And I think, you know, I think with Ukraine and now this recent conflict in Israel has shown a need for folks to be serving in the country in whatever capacity they are there they are most qualified for or is a motion move motivated to do what is your take? Now if we talk about Israel in my eyes, obviously, you have got a lot of you know, connective tissue there. How has that changed your you have company in the last couple of weeks? How are you dealing with that? And all the surge and all the stress that adds to your employees

Gen. Joe Anderson 23:38
it well you know, on a personal level it is Anderson 23:38 horrific to all of us because of our relationships there and knowing again from those who have suffered loss, have suffered injury have lost homes, etc. So, it is painful on a personal level for us. And I lost count now because I am on my fifth year for the company and he is your kind of just do not realize it till something like this happens how many people I know there. So, it is, it is, it is a lot and then you watch. They are such selfless servants, then you watch a lot of these guys that are very good friend of mine, who also are majority served, are not all now back and uniform. As recovery mobilize reserve is so there. So now they are not at work anymore. They are on the front lines. And then you watch you know, good friends like Mickey Laurie, who is the Rafael, USA President, and CEO, his three young boys who one just got out two months ago, is back in uniform, on the front line. So, from a family perspective, I mean, my only had one and at one time, I cannot imagine heaven three, and being in is a loose term being on the front line. You know, to have that many if anybody ever had three at one time in Iraq or Afghanistan, it is just it just I do not know how you sleep. So, so very traumatic for all of us. And from a business sense, it has had us so much stuff has been moving here in America and it was very hard to do not you. We chose to stay here I say this year because we, we had business to do here in the States, but it was very hard to do. I am glad we did it. But we have, there is a big shift internal focus now because of getting supply getting stuff just like you say like, like your Washington, two batteries go back from the states, the Iron Dome batteries back to Israel, there is a focus on internal reprioritization and an effect the effects the company because certain people are out for certain periods of time. And so, it is gonna cause hiccups on certain programs based on is, you know, is the engineer out? You know, is that because nothing has happened to them personally, or they are supporting something, etc. So, it complicates life significantly.

Lauren Bedula 25:39
Well, you talked about keeping you up at night, and I will not ask what keeps you up at night necessarily, but this changes the dynamic. We have talked so much about China, Russia, what is your take on the threat environment these days? What should we be watching?

Gen. Joe Anderson 25:52
Well, it is stuff we kind of always knew, you know, it is a dangerous world, you know. And so, what I was talking about, we had been preparing for Eastern Europe for a long time, we knew it was inevitable. And I, as predictable as that was, people still did not want to believe it. When you talk about malicious actors, you know, the number one nation state for terrorism is behind all of this. And to deny that or think or think something, otherwise, because we have been dealing with this, you mentioned 20, we have been dealing with this for a long time. You know, when Americans were getting killed, very frequently interact over my, you know, three and a half to three plus tours there. So horrific stuff. And so, to write it off, and pretend it is not real, and not prepare for it. And so now, I think as you look at INDO PACOM, I look kind of again, what kind of a threat what makes all as we always said it was the three plus two, the four plus one as you ran around the globe and define, you know, Russia back when in North Korea back then, you know, homeland or Iran, China, you know, you just, and the whole the Korean Peninsula deal, and he just kind of played Russian Roulette, no play on words there. But that is, that is what it kind of felt like, you know, now you are just seeing now you are just seeing it play out.

Hondo Geurts 27:12
Yeah. So, I mean, again, prevents for presents a huge challenge for the industrial base. It does, because our industrial base tends to be hyper efficient. But sometimes very fragile, or brittle, built for maybe one, one and a half at a time at best. How do you see us getting back to a more robust industrial base to support the military is going to have greater and greater challenges? What's What would you say that two or three things that if we had it right, it would start to, you know, start to present itself? And

Gen. Joe Anderson 27:47
that is, that is a tough question. Hondo. I think I think number one, it sees the organic industrial base must fix itself. I think that's key. You know, what hurts industry is predictability. You know, and what I did not realize as much when I was in uniform, as I do now is how much we expect industry to bet on to come make the investment, you make the investment, you do exactly what the customer asks you to do. And then there is no order. So, if you are, if you are telling somebody to crank it up, so I can go there is to shifts or whatever, whatever, whatever you are asking them to do based on what you want to come off that production line. But there is no, there is no view of what that commitment is, you are asking people to make that investment without any commitment. It cannot, it does not work that way. And so, so back to the acquisition process back to the, you know, CES, you know, what is this? What is the lifecycle of things? What is the sustainment rate, what is, you know, any type of supply rate? How do we get more predictable about that? Just like we are trying to replace what you know, so what is you know, and it is fundamental, you know, what are your war reserves? What's your stockpiles look like? What is your training? What is your training basic load look like? What is your contingency load look like? Do the math. And this is what you need in preposition stock or, or ashore, or Laurel, or in bunker somewhere or whatever.

Lauren Bedula 29:12
Get one more, I wanted to go back to just the dynamic of working with a foreign parent company. Because as we think through creating the strongest businesses and partnerships, we can we want to continue to work with allied countries. So curious if you have any advice for perhaps leaders of companies in allied countries that are looking to set up us subsidiaries to do business in our defense ecosystem. It is a hard process to go through. And curious if you have advice to others that are thinking about it.

Gen. Joe Anderson 29:44
Well do. Do your homework. Be clear what you are bringing here and do a market assessment. Understand what you are getting yourself into, because again, if you are an F word, come company, you are already behind the Powerball. So how do you overcome that? So, it really does. Very important about what you are trying to bring. So, if the recording again, requirements, another one that was over overused words, it is supposed to mean something. If there is an actual requirement, then you want to stay in that lane. And you want to figure out again, before you get involved, what is the, you know, what is the resource funding stream behind it? What, what enables that to happen from NDA or whatever? What, what gives you that, but I would say most what is most importantly is back to you are doing your homework, you will need help. I do not know how many companies since I have gone through this process I have coached through the process, it seems, it seems straightforward. Its kind of is. But there is so depending on what kind of company you are trying to become an AI so that that becomes how you start to become a clear company here. Are you just going for an SSA security agreement? Or are you going for a full proxy? You know, so the whole FCL process is a 28-day clock, when they hit the clock, you know, you got 28 days to boom, boom, boom, I think that was about seven. That is about seven different documents, if my memory is correct. And then depending on what you do on foreign oversight, you know, conflict of interest stuff. That is a whole other ball of wax. And those are, those are humongous documents. Humongous documents that take a lot of I mean, all for a good, this is all about protecting national security. This is all important stuff. So, it is not it is not it is not meant to imply it is not important. But that homework and time required to do that understanding what that playing field looks like before you get off the bench. You want to understand it because it is it is a journey.

Lauren Bedula 31:54
Yeah, big investment and implications around things like tech transfer to this year, right.

Gen. Joe Anderson 32:00
All the electronic peak, the technical control, all that stuff is quality assurance, quality control. There is some heavy-duty stuff.

Lauren Bedula 32:08
Well, Joe, thank you so much for joining us. I know you are especially busy right now and to get your take on both leadership on the government side and industry now is interesting, especially opening with trust and the importance of relationships. Partnerships, I think is so relevant to our listeners, prioritization people soldier input. I think that was great advice to companies thinking about entering the market, and then ultimately partnering and knowing your customer to seems key. So, thank you so much for joining welcome today and good to see you again.