Good news for those who have been enjoying the work from home life. The U.S. Defense Innovation Board (DIB) is recommending that the Pentagon hire civilians with technology expertise who can handle classified information in a home environment. The DIB’s September 15 report advocates for “highly limited, temporary and specific use of waivers for a small percentage of the workforce to ensure two things: First, key innovation and technology initiatives are fully staffed, and second, that the most service members with the greatest potential are retained.” The DoD understands its need for technical expertise and is in the midst of a digital modernization strategy.

“DoD faces a digital readiness crisis,” the DIB said. “With each passing day, the gap with the private sector grows bigger, and we are seeing near-peer competitors and would-be adversaries display accelerating progress. In contrast, the [DoD] has yet to determine the right metrics to begin assessing digital readiness or understand the gaps in its digital innovation workforce; there is an institutional blindness to our digital deficits.”

While the desire to attract top talent is high, the need to manage threats and security requirements are equally important. Many remain watchful of how the threats will be managed going forward.

Layoffs Impacting the Defense Industry

Leidos Leidos plans to permanently layoff 61 employees in undisclosed positions at its facility in Indianapolis, IN. The entire facility will not be closed, and the layoffs will begin to take effect on November 30. Leidos is based in Reston, VA, and the organization provides a host of services, including engineering and information technology. Leidos supports the DoD, IC, and DHS.

Colorado keeps on moving on despite the impacts of COVID-19. While some industries are slowing down throughout the country, aerospace companies are growing – especially in Colorado. Back in 2008, three University of Colorado graduates began Blue Canyon Technologies to make satellite components. The organization has grown in the past 12 years, and since March – when the pandemic began – has hired 58 new employees. Small and large companies, like Lockheed Martin, Raytheon Technologies, as well as others are hiring and expanding in Colorado.

“To be honest, we’re not seeing a slowdown for 2020 in aerospace and defense. We’re seeing hiring activity, we’re seeing expansion activity,” said Vicky Lea, director of aerospace and aviation at Metro Denver EDC.

With the U.S. Space Command, universities with engineering and aerospace programs, defense space programs, startups, and large corporations, Colorado is key state in the defense industry.

Hiring impacting the Defense Industry

MIL Corp. MIL celebrates 40 years in 2020 providing cyber, engineering, financial, and information technology services to the federal government. MIL is expanding in the Southern Maryland area and has immediate openings in engineering, information technology, and cyber security.
General Dynamics Electric Boat As the U.S. Navy’s demand for submarines increases, General Dynamics Electric Boat is expanding its workforce. With a two year $18.6 million DoD grant to the Southeastern New England Defense Industry Alliance to survey New England area workers could open up opportunities for more than 5,000 workers. As the U.S. Navy contracts for Virginia class submarines and the next-generation Columbia class increase, Electric Boat’s shipyards are finding ways to adjust.

Opportunity to Watch

Colorado may be a key aerospace location, but Alabama’s Rock City to continues to be a contender in the defense and aerospace industry. With Raytheon Technology’s additions in Huntsville, it helps to continue the area’s long tradition in the industry.

“The missiles that we build have a net explosive weight footprint, so we have to be a far distance away from certain facilities and other locations,” Raytheon Technologies Huntsville Site Executive Patti Dare said. “Redstone Arsenal gave us the ability to have that necessary footprint for the net explosive weight. Building on government land gave us the benefit of additional security which we were really comfortable with. The proximity to our customers has resulted in a great partnership. Some customers sit on-site with us while other frequently visit since they are close by at Redstone Arsenal.”

Just like hiring in Colorado has stayed strong in the midst of the pandemic, Alabama has continued to remain strong as well. In fact, Raytheon Technologies is also involved in creating an Alabama School of Cyber Technology and Engineering. With the support of a $4 million grant, the goal is to prepare students to bring about an increase in government and industry cybersecurity careers for the next generation. Along with key university partnerships, Raytheon Technologies continues to fill the cybersecurity gaps that can plague the defense industry.

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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.