With American companies stepping up the number of veteran hires, the defense and aerospace industry leads the pack in job opportunities for cleared veterans.

The top 50 companies pushing to hire more veterans make up a wide band of career fields.  But the defense and aerospace industry is the golden egg for cleared veterans.  This includes all U.S. regions, as well as opportunities abroad.  In fact, the need is so intense, it’s crafted into their recruiting budgets.

If you’re looking to transition to the civilian defense and aerospace sector, the following companies are looking right back at you.

Lockheed Martin

This is a company that consistently hires cleared veterans, devoting 20 percent of its recruiting budget to candidates with prior military services.  Among its 120,000 employees, 24 percent are veterans.  Known for cutting edge aerospace, defense and security solutions, the company provides research, design, development, manufacturing and technology systems integration. That means a host of job prospects.  Due to its work with the federal government, those holding both secret and top secret clearances are in high demand.  Current openings include program analysts, Oracle database administrators, and project, systems and software engineers.  While Georgia and California locations are seeing growth, opportunities exist throughout the U.S.  Here, experience and a clearance generally mean a six figure salary.

BAE Systems

A global provider of defense, security and aerospace solutions, the U.S. side of BAE Systems has seen a fair amount of downsizing over the last few years.  But it remains a top government contractor, working closely with the U.S. Army and Navy, as well as foreign governments.  About 11 percent of its employees are veterans.  Operating out of the D.C. region, the company offers jobs requiring secret and top secret clearances throughout its Land & Armaments business sector, with locations in 12 states.  Senior software engineers earn average salaries above $110,000, and principle software engineers earn about $120,000.


An engineering, construction and technical services provider for federal agencies and the private sector, the company’s population of veteran employees is a whopping 37 percent.  That’s largely because that’s what it wants, devoting 70 percent of its recruiting budget strictly to veterans.  Federal projects requiring security clearances include safety systems, transportation engineers and civil engineers.  As a major federal contractor, URS provides services to DoD, NASA, Department of Energy, Department of Homeland Security and intelligence agencies. In addition to engineering jobs, there are numerous other cleared opportunities in IT, management and contract logistics. Salaries average above $100,000.

Alion Science and Technology

A smaller company of 2,900 employees, 40 percent are veterans.  Alion provides rresearch and development, defense operational support, explosive sciences and more.  Now one of Washington Technology’s top 100 government contractors, Alion hires secret and top secret personnel in jobs that include military analysts, systems engineers and logistics analysts, many of which are located throughout Virginia and DC.  Pay is comparable to similar positions in the defense contractor industry.


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Tranette Ledford is a writer and owner of Ledford, LLC, which provides writing, editorial and public relations consulting for defense, military and private sector businesses. You can contact her at: Tranette@Ledfordllc.com.