Foreign Job Market Offers Opportunities Despite Defense Austerity

OCONUS

Even as U.S. allies tighten their defense budgets, American national security firms still have a chance to grow their businesses in foreign markets, according to several experts. And that could be good news for job seekers.

U.S. defense contractors are increasingly looking overseas to offset program cuts at home, but to enter those markets, they need to hire people who know the laws, customs and culture of those countries, said Chris Socha, the legislative director and foreign policy adviser to Sen. Jim Risch (R-Idaho), who sits on the the Senate Foreign Relations and Intelligence committees.

“Every business seems to need some sort international consultant, either internally or externally, to help them figure out how to get access to a market for their products,” said Socha, who addressed about 100 attendees at a “job seekers seminar” Feb. 11 at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C. “There is so much more now going on internationally that everyone to some extent has to be aware, and I think that creates a lot more opportunities even as you see military budgets … decreasing.”

Another potential growth area for defense contractors is NATO. In the January edition of National Defense magazine, two employees of the Avascent Group, a strategy and management consulting firm, wrote that agencies of the trans-Atlantic alliance will manage billions of dollars in new and existing contracts in the coming years in such areas as air command and control, cloud computing security, cyber-intelligence, data security, mobile device security, malware analysis and satellite communications.

Recent recipients of major NATO contracts include Lockheed Martin and ThalesRaytheonSystems, noted Katerina Wright, a senior analyst for Avascent in Paris, and Aleksandar Jovovic, a senior associate at Avascent’s D.C. headquarters.

“In an era of austerity, NATO is offering real and significant opportunities in the near future,” they wrote.

Marc Selinger is a journalist based in the Washington, D.C., area. He can be reached at marc2255@yahoo.com. Follow him on Twitter at @marcselinger.

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