Leadership Spotlight: Liz Martin, Director of DOD at Amazon Web Services


Liz MartinDirector of the Department of Defense Affairs at Amazon Web Servicesrecently spoke with ExecutiveBiz on the impact that artificial intelligence capabilities are having on the US military as well as the influence of emerging technologies and the importance of giving back and making a difference in the military community in recent Executive Spotlight interview.

You can read Liz Martin’s full interview below.

ExecutiveBiz: An important part of being a company with a strong business ethic in the federal sector is helping and giving back to the community at large. Can you talk about the work AWS is doing to make a difference to the military community?

Liz Martin: “At Amazon, we are always looking for ways to increase our impact as we grow. We seek to leverage our scale for good and use our ability to innovate rapidly to strengthen communities around the world where our employees live and work.

One of the areas I’m most proud of is Amazon’s commitment to help combat high rates of veteran unemployment by pledging to hire our military veterans and their spouses. We are convinced that they represent some of the most talented workers in the world.

We have found that many of the core qualities of military service align well with our Amazon culture and leadership principles. In fact, in 2021, Amazon pledged to hire more than 100,000 U.S. military veterans and spouses by 2024, building on its commitment to military families after it far exceeded its commitment to hire 25,000. by 2021.

Today, Amazon currently employs more than 45,000 military veterans and spouses across multiple businesses, including operations, sustainability, Alexa, and AWS.

AWS, along with other divisions of Amazon, have created a number of programs focused on providing employment resources, access to education, and wellness programs to help veterans succeed their transition after their years of service.

We have partnered with a number of government and veteran organizations to support these efforts. To help find even more talent among our veterans, we’ve launched Amazon’s Tech Apprenticeship Program.

This provides classroom training, followed by 12 months of on-the-job training, before apprentices move on to full-time jobs with our company. In February 2022, AWS announced that it had completed its 1,000th apprenticeship hire. Since launching the program as a pilot project in 2017, it has recorded a 90% completion rate for all apprentices in instructor-led training.

Last year, AWS launched a new technical training program under the Amazon Technical Apprenticeship Program and Amazon Military Skillbridge. Officially titled CloudBridge, this new program is powered by AWS Training and Certification and was first launched at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington.

What started as a virtual program turned into a 16-week hybrid training program for AWS and Amazon technology roles and apprenticeships. Building on initial success with Joint Base Lewis-McChord, we launched a second training program at Joint Base Myers Henderson-Hall in Virginia in June 2022.

Additionally, the Amazon BRIDGE program, which stands for “Expanding Research and Innovation for Defense and Government Employees,” focuses on sharing Amazon best practices and business processes with the military, national security and federal government to enable them to modernize and ensure the security of the United States.

For a week to a year, military and government employees have the opportunity to work at Amazon as a team. They learn best practices from us, then return to their military or government careers with the skills and resources to drive organizational transformation and innovation.

For interested veterans, military spouses, and transitioning military members, I encourage you to learn more about Amazon’s Military Scholarship and Apprenticeship Programs and find information on current openings.

ExecutiveBiz: As artificial intelligence and machine learning are poised to have a massive impact on federal agencies and the US military, how do you see the technologies’ capabilities improving decision-making and enabling DOD to support the mission ?

Liz Martin: “From computer vision systems for autonomous driving to FDA-approved medical imaging, artificial intelligence is certainly the driver of innovation in the public sector. We’ve heard people say this was the golden age of machine learning.

Algorithms have been around for a while, but here is what has changed: machine learning is now becoming more accessible as industry has access to very large datasets as well as many computational capabilities that were not previously available.

That’s why federal and defense organizations are adding AI to their platform, solutions, and products to perform tasks that typically require human-level intelligence, such as visual perception, voice recognition, decision or translation.

The cloud enables customers of all shapes and sizes – including service branches and defense agencies – to scale quickly and seamlessly and take advantage of newer and innovative technologies such as machine learning and AI.

AWS has the broadest and most comprehensive set of ML features for all skill levels. A few years ago, we launched Amazon SageMaker, the most comprehensive end-to-end solution for ML with all the tools needed to build, train, and deploy ML models in an easy-to-use interface called SageMaker Studio.

More than 100,000 customers use machine learning on AWS, boosted by widespread adoption of Amazon SageMaker.

DOD’s joint all-domain command and control vision is a prime example of how DOD plans to leverage cloud, edge computing, machine learning, and AI to enable faster decision making.

AWS was proud to have been invited to Germany last year to participate in Exercise On-Ramp 4, hosted by the Air Force Chief Architect Integration Office. The purpose of the On-Ramp 4 forum was to test and evaluate new advanced computing systems and capabilities for the Air Force Advanced Combat Management System, which is the Air Force’s contribution to the vision JADC2.

Building on previous on-ramps, On-Ramp 4 sought to test the ability to integrate the capabilities of vendors, U.S. military organizations, and partner nations working together to deploy a tactical edge network solution that leverages a highly resilient network of connections and communications. systems.

Attendees demonstrated capabilities such as DevSecOps, deploying AI and machine learning applications and Kubernetes clusters at the edge, and the ability to move deployed code from unclassified networks to classified networks.

Through on-ramps, the Air Force is able to demonstrate capabilities that could help lay the foundation for an IoMT and enable data sharing across the DOD as part of an established digital architecture.

ExecutiveBiz: As federal agencies strive to implement the latest technology trends such as AI, 5G, cloud and many more, what do you think of the opportunities and challenges government agencies face to stay innovations while supporting national security?

Liz Martin: “National security depends on our country’s ability to stay one step ahead of its adversaries. Governments and the citizens they serve should have the same excellent infrastructure and services that drive innovation in the private sector.

As the US government continues to modernize the way it does business and serves warfighters, AWS is committed to being part of that mission by providing the most innovative, effective, and efficient solutions.

A key opportunity for federal innovation lies in agency digital transformation and IT modernization efforts. The cloud enables organizations to accomplish their missions faster, accelerate innovation, and reduce costs by scaling rapidly without the time-consuming and costly process of acquiring hardware.

Cloud computing helps the DOD and the national security community process and disseminate information for military operations through increased agility, cost savings, better elasticity, increased innovation, tactical support at the edge, and enhanced security.

ExecutiveBiz: As the federal sector continues to face growing cybersecurity threats and cyber hygiene becomes a necessity for all organizations, especially at the national security level, how is AWS helping to address these concerns? ?

Liz Martin: “At AWS, security is our top priority. AWS was designed to be the most flexible and secure cloud computing environment available today. Our core infrastructure is designed to meet the security requirements of the military, global banks, and other highly sensitive organizations.

AWS uses the same secure hardware and software to create and operate each of our Regions. Our service offerings and associated supply chain are verified and accepted as secure enough for top secret workloads, benefiting all of our customers globally.

This is backed by a comprehensive set of cloud security tools, with over 280 key security, compliance and governance services and features. And the 117 AWS services that store customer data provide the ability to encrypt that data.

We have a model of shared responsibility with the client; AWS manages and controls components from the host operating system and virtualization layer to the physical security of the facilities in which the services operate, and AWS customers are responsible for building secure applications.

We provide a wide variety of best practice documents, encryption tools, and other guidance that our customers can leverage to provide application-level security measures. Additionally, AWS Partners offer hundreds of tools and features to help customers achieve their security goals, ranging from network security to configuration management, access control, and data encryption.


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