WASHINGTON ― Defense contractor CACI International on Thursday announced it made two acquisitions in the last quarter, in line with plans to increase its technology focus, according to chief executive John Mengucci.

The Reston, Va.-based firm acquired Bluestone Analytics, which is focused on Dark Web intelligence analysis and exploitation, and a second, space-focused company, to do top secret cyberspace and satellite communications work. In an interview with Defense News, Mengucci said little about the second acquisition, but touted its intersection with the Pentagon’s emphasis on space.

“It’s a classified suite of technologies for a very classified customer,” Mengucci said. “Space has become a contested domain [with] comms going to satellites and comms going to the ground, and to the extent we can protect and exploit those links, that’s highly important today, given near-peer threats.”

CACI disclosed Thursday on its quarterly earnings call it spent about $120 million on the acquisitions and expects them to add roughly $30 million in 2022 sales. The company posted $1.5 billion in sales during the quarter, up 2.2 percent from the prior year.

Though CACI was historically a professional services firm, it has since 2012 been increasing its investments in forward-looking technologies, as well as agile software development. There’s now a 47 percent-53 percent split between government services, or “expertise,” and technology. The firm employs 23,000.

“Wherever the pointy end of the spear is, I want to be building mission packages and technology that helps the warfighter,” Mengucci said, adding that could mean the military, law enforcement or intelligence agency customers.

The contractor’s strategy involves finding out from a client their current or future technology gaps to guide the company’s internal investments. Mengucci said that could mean training, partnerships or acquisitions of companies “that go narrow and deep into an area where our customers are screaming for solutions” ― all of it trending more toward more technology-driven products and less toward personnel-driven solutions.

In that vein, the Bluestone Analytics acquisition offered a “tuck-in” open source intelligence capability for military commanders: an artificial intelligence-driven tool to detect threats on the Dark Web, called DarkBlue.

Mengucci said the company’s strategy has cushioned the firm from budgetary turbulence as well as the Biden administration’s withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan and the coronavirus pandemic. Still, there have been impacts: Afghanistan represents a 2 percent headwind for the firm, and it has had to stock up on microelectronics to mitigate COVID-related shortfalls.

“When a black swan event ― when we hit COVID and realized, ‘My Lord, we can’t have all these people sitting in a building,’ we survived quite well,” he said. “We continue to grow, we continue to work on all those technology development programs that were under contract, and the ones we struggled with were much less than other people in our sector.”

Joe Gould was the senior Pentagon reporter for Defense News, covering the intersection of national security policy, politics and the defense industry. He had previously served as Congress reporter.

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