Some days, life feels like we are one step away from normal. Then the next day brings headlines about COVID-19 surges in other states, and we’re reminded that the fight continues. Even as we struggle with the constant changes, the collaborative response strengthens our nation’s resolve. The Department of Defense is calling on Florida contractors to help set up mobile hospitals, according to the Army Corps of Engineers. With as little as a 10-day notice, the Army and the DoD are positioning a rapid response to growing pandemic conditions. Convention centers may be struggling with canceled conferences, but within a few days, the facilities could be turned into mobile hospitals, meeting critical needs. If there’s anything that the defense industry is learning in the midst of this pandemic, it’s to be flexible…to anticipate different outcomes, adjust, and move in a new direction when necessary.

Layoffs Impacting the Defense Industry

Microsoft While Microsoft is not publicly commenting on its cuts, multiple sources confirm that cuts have been made to their MSN, LinkedIn, sales and marketing, and Azure teams. As Microsoft nears the end of their fiscal year, cuts have routinely been necessary over the years, with this year seeming lighter. With store closures and AI changing Microsoft’s news structures, the company is in adjustment mode to stay relevant, efficient, and profitable.
Spirit AeroSystems Between COVID-19’s impact on the airline industry and the grounding of the 737 Max, Spirit AeroSystems has sent some voluntary notices out to employees. With no expectation for a quick recovery at the Wichita, KS location, it remains unclear how many employees are affected or for how long.
Splunk Splunk, a San Francisco data-software company, is laying off about 70 people, about a 1% reduction. While the organization’s shift towards cloud-based services should help it remain resilient, the transition period has to improve efficiency and productivity.
Lastline Due to an acquisition by VMware, the threat detection service Lastline is set for a 40% staff reduction as part of the transition.

“By joining forces with VMware, we will be able to offer additional capabilities to our customers and bring to market comprehensive security solutions for the data center, branch office and remote and mobile users,” said Lastline’s chief executive John DiLullo.

The consistent theme in the defense industry is that threats to national security don’t stop in a pandemic. In fact, in many ways, the threats increase, continuing the need for contracts to be awarded and march forward.

Hiring impacting the Defense Industry

SRC On Friday, the U.S. Army awarded SRC Inc. of Cicero a five year, $426 million contract to improve its counter-drone defenses. SRC was the sole bidder for this contract. With small, slow and low-flying drones as an emerging U.S. threat, the Army is taking steps with this threat to combat the issue.

SRC is a not-for-profit research and development company. SRC plans to build the counter-drone systems at its North Syracuse location.

HawkEye 360 Herndon, VA-based, radio frequency (RF) data analytics company, HawkEye 360 plays a key role in defense, security, and intelligence missions. The organization has the ability to identify, process, and geo-locate RF signals with its commercial satellite constellation. With its prime location and steady growth in the satellite market, HawkEye 360 is rapidly growing, looking to add more than 10 employees in the coming months.

Opportunity to Watch

Boeing, General Atomics, Kratos and Northrop-Grumman are all set to play a role in the Air Force’s Skyborg Vanguard Program. The contract is an indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity (IDIQ) with a shared $400 million ceiling. Without funding awards yet to any of the contractors, it’s clear that this is an opportunity to watch. While Lockheed Martin was not one of the final contenders on this contract, they may be a contender to acquire Kratos, making them an additional employer to watch over the next year.

The Air Force Research Lab (AFRL) began Skyborg on its Vanguard programs with the goal of building an artificial intelligence (AI) brain to pilot drones for various missions. The Air Force is on a mission to speed up prototyping in order to increase the abilities of its Indo-Pacific Command. Job seekers should keep their eyes searching these major defense contractor boards for the opportunity to be part of the AI race.

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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.