As the defense industry keeps on turning with continued hiring and minimal layoffs, Accenture Federal Services announces two key leadership appointments in order to strengthen its technology and innovation strategies. Accenture appointed Christoper Copeland as chief technology officer and Kyle Michl to a new role – chief innovation officer.

“As our clients look to modernize their IT systems, these seasoned executives will be instrumental in helping federal agencies innovate and move their missions forward,” said John Goodman, AFS chief executive officer. “Chris is an entrepreneurial leader who can help our clients achieve meaningful advances as they step up to the challenges of modernization. Kyle is laser focused on bringing commercial capabilities and emerging technologies to solve government’s most complex challenges. We welcome them both to their new roles.”

Layoffs Impacting the Defense Industry

Raytheon Technologies Corp. Raytheon is one of the largest employers in Massachusetts, but the Waltham-based aerospace and defense company recently confirmed reports of cutting 15,000 jobs. In an effort to reduce $2 billion in costs and save $4 billion in cash with the airline industry taking a nosedive, Raytheon decided to make the cuts in Massachusetts despite hiring surges in other parts of the country.

As the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) takes some steps forward to full implementation, it ran into a few hiccups with its chairman and communications lead heading out following controversy on a sponsorship plan. Recent promotions sounding close to a pay-to-play type setup sent the wrong message out while all eyes are watching the CMMC roll-out that will affect contracts going forward. The Defense Federal Acquisition Regulations (DFARS) rule change that adds in CMMC guidelines and provisions is almost complete. The DoD announced the rolloff of the two members from the accreditation body, and Karlton Johnson will take over as the current chairman.

Hiring impacting the Defense Industry

Microsoft Microsoft has been reaffirmed as the contract winner for the Pentagon’s Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) project’s cloud computing contract. Amazon, identified as a contender, claimed that the bidding process was flawed. The Pentagon just reaffirmed Microsoft’s win, allowing the project to move forward and hiring to proceed to fill the contract.

“The department has completed its comprehensive re-evaluation of the JEDI cloud proposals and determined that Microsoft’s proposal continues to represent the best value to the government,” the Pentagon said.

Opportunity to Watch

The Defense Innovation Board (DIB) has recommended that the Pentagon open up its hiring practices to check that DoD civilians who work from home can handle classified information, further pushing the argument for taking classified information home. A policy change due to COVID-19 could make what the Air Force and Army have done a reality for more agencies within the DoD. DIB members encouraged Defense Secretary Mark Esper to create a network of Sensitive Compartmented Information Facilities (SCIF), kind of like SCIF hotels. Strategists argue that if we can’t adapt to these types of changes to our environments, then we run the risk of falling behind. With the competition stepping up to compete for digital talent in the DoD workforce, the Pentagon is taking steps to learn from the COVID-19 lessons and implement changes moving forward.

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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.