GDMS President Chris Brady Selected to 2022 Wash100 Award Class for Innovation in Autonomy
Executive Mosaic is honored to present Chris Brady, president of General Dynamics Mission Systems, as a recipient of the 2022 Wash100 Award – an annual recognition of government contracting executives who have demonstrated an elite level of vision, leadership and innovation within the federal landscape.
This year, Brady receives his third consecutive Wash100 Award for driving GDMS’ continued innovation in autonomy and further expanding the company’s heritage in the space domain. Visit Wash100.com to cast your vote for GDMS’ Chris Brady as your favorite GovCon executive and to learn more about this year’s class of winners.
Brady, who has spent over two decades with General Dynamics Mission Systems, said the company is currently focusing on expanding its autonomy capabilities through its Unmanned Underwater Vehicles program.
“Autonomy is becoming an increasingly critical capability,” he explained in a recent Executive Spotlight interview with ExecutiveBiz. “I think we’re now reaching a point where autonomy will become ingrained with how platforms operate across all domains – land, sea, air, space and cyber.”
The company’s UUVs are designed for missions such as intelligence gathering, scientific exploration, mine-hunting and ship hull inspection. In March 2021, GDMS delivered its first Knifefish surface mine countermeasure UUV system to the U.S. Navy under a contract awarded in 2019. The Knifefish program aims to deploy UUVs that can detect and classify undersea mines in high-clutter environments.
GDMS is also driving advancements in its Bluefin UUV program. Brady said the company has the ability to tailor its Bluefin Robotics UUVs for “a variety of military and civilian missions through customizing the vehicle’s suite of sensors.”
During the Navy’s 2020 Ice Exercise, known as ICEX, GDMS deployed its Bluefin-21 UUV under ice in the Arctic Circle. Because ice prevents UUVs from using GPS signals for navigation, GDMS designed a new integrated acoustic communication system, which was successfully tested on its Bluefin UUV during ICEX.
Both the Bluefin and Knifefish UUVs are expected to see a boost in manufacturing, assembly, integration and testing with the opening of GDMS’ new UUV Manufacturing and Assembly Center for Excellence in August 2021. The center is housed in GDMS’ 500,000 square-foot facility located in Taunton, Massachusetts.
The company’s work undersea and its partnership with the U.S. Navy continued in March 2022 when GDMS secured a $92.9 million contract to design, test and deliver a Hammerhead Encapsulated Effector system.
Brady described Hammerhead as “a prototype of a Navy submarine mine system that must be highly secure because it has some very powerful munitions attached. However, it will also be able to react to specific threats wherever it’s deployed.”
GDMS is notably working on the Navy’s Littoral Combat Ships with its prime contractor, Northrop Grumman. Under a multimillion-dollar contract, GDMS is providing Reduced Weight Basic Operating Assembly containers for the Navy’s fleet of LCS.
A specific effort GDMS is proud of, Brady shared, is its work with the U.S. Army – through a $229 million contract – to design and develop a hand-held device that can help service members manage and transfer cryptographic key material and mission planning data.
“First and foremost, these cryptological devices must be trusted to carry very sensitive encryption keys to protect the transmission of critical data to and from our frontline forces, the flight line, a carrier deck or other platforms at the fighting edge,” Brady told ExecutiveBiz.
To develop this technology, Brady said GDMS engineers enhanced capabilities the company already possessed, like their nano encryption devices; this effort helped to drive down the cost of the project while assuring its security.
In the space domain, GDMS is expanding its presence. The company’s beryllium machining team created the 18 mirrors aboard the James Webb Space Telescope, which entered service this February.
“We’re very excited to see some of the first images coming back from the telescope and can’t wait for them to get all of those mirrors aligned to see some amazing things from the early days of the universe,” Brady commented.
He added that GDMS has long provided sensors, satellite ground systems, control satellites and position, navigation and timing services to federal and commercial customers in the space market.
Looking toward 2022 and beyond, Brady sees potential for growth in the area of nuclear command and control. He said GDMS is adding functions to its portfolio to match the Navy’s addition of Conventional Prompt Strike and hypersonic capabilities in recent years.
Of nuclear C2, Brady said “It’s obviously an area of great importance when you consider the peace dividend that the whole world has gained since the presence of nuclear weapons, and we’re here to continue supporting our military and their missions.”
Executive Mosaic congratulates Chris Brady and the General Dynamics Mission Systems team for their selection into the 2022 edition of the Wash100 and looks forward to their continued innovation in the years to come.