Former Pentagon Money Man to Oversee Defense of NATO Computer Networks
Kevin Scheid returns to the alliance as members eye spending increases to pay for cyber projects and traditional weapons.
The last time Kevin Scheid worked at NATO, defense spending across the alliance felt the crunch of the 2009 global recession.
Back then, the NATO Consultation, Command and Control Agency — a 900-people strong procurement organization within the alliance where he was deputy general manager — was about to lose a large chunk of its workforce.
“NATO was really struggling to pay for projects and capabilities that it had signed up for,” Scheid recalled in a recent interview. “We actually went through a period early in my tenure where we had to let about 120 people either retire early or leave or not continue contract.”
But things are different now as Scheid returns to NATO on July 1 as general manager of the NATO Communications and Information Agency, the organization created from a merger of the Consultation, Command and Control Agency and other offices. The economy is rebounding and cash-strapped nations are pledging larger investments in defense.
“It really looks like it’s turned around; a much different environment than what I faced the first time I came to NATO,” Scheid said. “It’s got me thinking about the agency, future over the next five-to-10 years and how it can take on some new responsibilities and leading responsibilities in NATO as nations invest in defense.”
NATO Communications and Information Agency, oversees cyber, ITand command and control for the alliance. It also defends the alliance’s computer networks.
“Cybersecurity in particular is an area where the nations are going to pay particular attention in the coming decade,” Scheid said. “[The NATO Communications and Information Agency] can play a real thought-leadership role as well as developing capabilities.”
As members of the alliance up security spending, Scheid says he sees a blend between investment in weapons themselves and cybersecurity. He pointed to Germany’s creation of a Cyber Command earlier this year.
“There’s real money being spent in the alliance on these sorts of capabilities,” he said. “And they’re reorganizing themselves to prepare for more of it in the future.”
The organization typically issues contracts worth about €1 billion each year and has deals in the works totalling about €3 billion.
Scheid, who was the Pentagon’s deputy comptroller from 2006 to 2009, said he plans take 90 days to take deep dives into the key areas within the agency — such as missile defense, cyber and command and control — and then develop a strategy for the next three years.
“That strategy should be forward looking and take advantage of these potential investments in defense in Europe and how we can help play a role in that area,” he said.
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