A number of aerospace and defense (A&D) companies have joined in an initiative with Exostar to collaborate on next-generation solutions to enhance relationships, performance and security of their supply chains.

Exostar, which brings communities together within highly-regulated industries, said the Aerospace and Defense Supply Chain Working Group is focusing on a technology modernization roadmap and has defined five initial themes: collaboration with suppliers, improving the onboarding experience of suppliers, electronic sourcing, interoperability, and security.

“A&D companies share supply and customer bases, as well as challenges in supply chain security, quality, and operational efficiency,” Sri Yellepeddi, Exostar’s senior director of Supply Chain, said in a statement on Wednesday. “It makes no sense for each of them to reinvent the wheel. Our vision was to bring them together to cooperatively find common ground, overcome these complex hurdles, and develop the process and functional plans for a next-gen supply chain platform that best serves the industry.”

The working group had its first meeting in October 2019 and meets either remotely or in person. Executives from BAE Systems, Boeing [BA], General Dynamics [GD], Huntington Ingalls Industries [HII], L3Harris Technologies [LHX], Leidos [LDOS], Lockheed Martin [LMT], Northrop Grumman [NOC], Raytheon [RTN], Rolls-Royce and the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence are participating.

“Nations, states, and cyber criminals target companies belonging to the A&D supply chain, looking for vulnerabilities to exploit,” M. David Wilkins, vice president of Contracts and Supply Chain at Raytheon, said in a statement. “We need to ensure we engage in commerce with suppliers who meet security standards like CMMC.”

CMMC is the Defense Department’s Cybersecurity Maturation Model Certification, which injects auditable cyber security standards and best practices throughout the supply chains of the defense industrial base.

“The efforts of the working group will complement the government’s program and will result in a more resilient supply chain, protecting important information without sacrificing cost, schedule, or quality,” Wilkins said.

The working group is identifying non-competitive areas of alignment on the A&D supply chain.