The hits in 2020 just keep coming. The year has served up empty offices, postponed or virtual events, and canceled Olympic games. People like Kobe Bryant have left us, and now Chadwick Boseman. The feeling of unrest has been palpable. And yet, it’s Monday again. A new week in the defense industry where men and women work behind the scenes to ensure national security while companies like Raytheon keep on with their hiring spree. Of course, weird things keep happening seemingly in response to COVID-19. While toilet paper is now back on the shelves, items like lumber and cardstock are the next on the list to be hit. Currently, the DoD is facing a cardstock shortage, which means that if you were due to update your Common Access Card (CAC), one silver lining is that you might get an extension.

“The good news is current DEERS policy grants an extension to honor dependent and retired ID cards with an expiration of January 2020 or later through Sept. 30,” explained 1st Lt. Katherine Yatko, Military Personnel Flight commander. “We are currently anticipating this date will be extended to summer of 2021.”

Layoffs Impacting the Defense Industry

General Atomics San Diego-based General Atomics is laying off about 630 employees, about a 6% reduction in its workforce. The company has not specified which operations were impacted by this recent effort to balance their resources with customer requirements. Earlier this year, the Air Force announced its decision to stop buying the MQ-9 Reaper in 2021. Despite sales for General Atomic’s Reaper expected to grow from recent lawmakers’ decisions, the Air Force’s decision was about four years earlier than expected.

“The Reaper has been a great platform for us. Four million flight hours, just undeniable overmatch in a low-end uncontested fight, and it is certainly saving lives,” Air Force acquisition executive Will Roper told lawmakers at a House Armed Services Committee hearing this March. “But as we look to the high-end fight, we just can’t take them into the battlefield. They are easily shot down.”

Training starts today for 73 assessors for the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC). By the end of the week, the assessors should be set to begin initial assessments of DoD contractors. The DoD is moving forward with plans to no longer take contractors’ claims of cybersecurity at face value. Rather, DoD will be assessing contractors for their cybersecurity levels based on the CMMC program. Ruling for CMMC implementation is expected this fall. The initial assessor class will also be tasked with giving feedback on the program in order to zero in on adjustments and improvements to the assessment standard. The group was somewhat randomly selected out of 500 applicants, and after the next four days of training and testing, the individuals will be qualified to begin dummy assessments as the DoD continues to ramp up the CMMC program.

Hiring impacting the Defense Industry

Raytheon Raytheon is back at it again with another round of hiring – this time in Aurora, CO. “You’d think Covid would’ve slowed things down, but it absolutely has not,” said Bill Sullivan, Raytheon vice president and general manager of Raytheon Space & Intelligence to Denver Business Journal. Raytheon is looking to fill hundreds of aerospace-related software and technology positions. Due to company growth, the open positions could rise from 200 if the organization fills them quickly.

Opportunity to Watch

After being tasked by the DoD to be the single service provider for optimizing network capabilities with the Fourth Estate network optimization initiative (4ENO), the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) is getting set to launch a single-vendor $11.7 billion IT contract. The Defense Enclaves Services program is designed to modernize and secure DoD networks. Services needed on the program include cybersecurity, infrastructure, technical refreshes, and support.

DISA plans for a final request for proposals for the contract in late September. The contract will be an indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) vehicles, but it will have task orders identifying specific work. DISA expects the contract will last for 10 years. However, the contract is set up with an initial base period of four years, with three optional two year extensions. Although CMMC has yet to go into effect, DISA will be evaluating bidders to see if the meet CMMC level three or four.

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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.