Summer is heating up across the country, and despite adjustments to COVID-19 quarantine measures, not everyone is back in the office 100% of the time yet. However, in the defense industry, the work has typically marched on at home or payments continued to be made thanks to the CARES Act. Within the DoD, employees are returning to workplaces for 40-60% of their time, finishing the remainder of work from home.

Layoffs Impacting the Defense Industry

Sumaria Systems By August 31, Sumaria Systems plans to layoff 72 employees who are based at Wright-Patterson AFB. Sumaria Systems is a Danvers, MA-based organization, which is a female-owned information technology, engineering and professional services company. On May 1, Sumaria Systems won seats on the team of firms that received a five-year $75 million-plus contract to support the Air Force ISR Sensors and FMS division at Wright-Patterson AFB, as well as Langley, Gunter, and Eglin AFBs.
USCIS The next 30 days will determine if the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will need to furlough 13,000 employees. Without an authorization of emergency funding from Congress, the agency will need to furlough 70% of its workforce, beginning August 3. USCIS administers green card applications, work permits, asylum requests, and other immigration services; however, the financial crisis is in response to the drastic decrease in applications during COVID-19. The agency is funded through fees, so when that revenue suddenly stops, it puts the agency in a critical position.

New building plans are in motion around the country, opening up additional job opportunities within the defense industry. However, as COVID-19 continues to shape our days and landscape, it’s unclear if contractor plans for expansion will be met with the same issues as my friend’s kitchen construction: slowdowns in manufacturing due to outbreak responses. We will simply need to see what the fall brings and respond accordingly. In the meantime, it’s good news for some companies.

Hiring impacting the Defense Industry

L3Harris L3Harris is looking to hire two hundred engineers in Salt Lake City, UT. L3Harris is one of America’s top ten defense contractors, and they are building a new facility in Salt Lake City, further securing their position as the 8th biggest employer in the city. Vice President of Engineering in Utah, Aurora Taylor-Rojas explains that L3Harris is focused on securing the warfighters communications. “Anyone that is interested in huge growth, technology and the products we provide the services that we provide are essential right now for our military men and women so it is a very exciting place to work,” said Taylor-Rojas.
Skydweller Aero By 2024, Skydweller Aero is planning to bring 120 jobs to its Oklahoma City location. The organization develops defense and commercial aircraft with the use of renewable power. Their Oklahoma City location will expand to Ardmore, OK with a facility focused on testing and integration. Skydweller will be looking for aerospace engineers and field technicians.”It has been my pleasure to work closely with the leadership team at Skydweller, and I am thrilled they have decided to locate their new headquarters in Oklahoma,” Gov. Kevin Stitt said in the release. “Our state’s commitment to aviation and aerospace makes Oklahoma City an ideal choice for a cutting-edge company with a commitment to advancing the industry. At a time when job creation and economic growth are so vital, we are excited that Skydweller will be hiring our bright engineers and helping to enrich our state’s economy.”

Opportunity to Watch

Sometimes when we think of the cybersecurity field, we might just think about keeping our data safe behind the scenes. While that’s a component, cybersecurity has an even bigger need that starts with our energy. Power companies are looking for help to catch up with the gaps created by the digital transformation. As adversaries become more sophisticated and aggressive and our technology within power plants adjusts, the security risks for power companies and the electric grid start to increase. The energy sector as a whole has invested in cybersecurity; however, the electrical industry lags behind the rest. Leaders in the energy industry caution against simply slapping IT security solutions on the problem. Instead, energy leaders ask for security teams to learn the language of operators and combine that with an understanding of the threat landscape . While much is needed from a federal government level in terms of oversight and funding, it’s clear that where there are problems, there are opportunities for those with interest and skills in energy safeguarding.

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Jillian Hamilton has worked in a variety of Program Management roles for multiple Federal Government contractors. She has helped manage projects in training and IT. She received her Bachelors degree in Business with an emphasis in Marketing from Penn State University and her MBA from the University of Phoenix.