From hacker to head of security, Twitter’s Peiter Zatko proves that it’s all about having the right skills at the right time at the right place. In a tweet as his hacker name Mudge, Zatko shares with the world, “Looks like the cat is out of the bag, I’m very excited to be joining the executive team at Twitter! I truly believe in the mission of (equitably) serving the public conversation. I will do my best!” Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey offered a congrats on Twitter, publicly confirming the organization’s recent addition. With an eye trained towards finding vulnerabilities over the years at places like Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and Google, Zatko represents the value of white hat or ethical hackers in today’s landscape – especially with the impacts of COVID-19 in 2020 and the work from home landscape. After Twitter’s recent security breach, Zatko’s skillset is in demand.

Layoffs Impacting the Defense Industry

Boeing With Boeing’s last round of 7,000 layoffs, the organization is up to 30,000 total pink slips for the year. With order already impacted walking into this year, the emergency brake pull on travel in 2020 has done further damage to airline sales. Aviation companies like Boeing also eye locations in the future in order to find cheaper labor costs going forward. This could mean a move for Boeing’s Washington plant.

While COVID-19 infections are on the rise, the Pentagon has also found itself hit by the recent surge. From inside the Pentagon to onboard ships, the DoD felt its 1300 new cases. Travel restrictions for personnel, warnings about holiday plans, and increased temperature checks are just some of the measures that the DoD has put in place to combat the recent challenges. DoD employees and contractors could see more schedule rotations and work from home measures as leaders seek to reduce risk while maintaining national security.

Hiring impacting the Defense Industry

Leidos With consistent contract wins, Leidos is in the market for over 3,000 candidates in the United States. Cleared candidates are also in demand on those contracts, with over 1700 Top Secret and Secret open positions. From Maryland to Hawaii, Leidos has opportunities all over the country.

On a recent third quarter earnings call, CEO Roger Krone stated, “Our $31.7 billion backlog, about 2.5 times our third quarter annualized revenue run rate, coupled with our strong new business pipeline provides a strong foundation for accelerated growth into next year and beyond. Furthermore, our backlog does not reflect recent awards with the Defense Health Agency and the Army Special Operations Command due to protest activity at the close of the quarter. Similarly, the $8 billion Navy NextGen protest remains in the US Court of Federal Claims with oral arguments now scheduled for November 13. We still anticipate a favorable outcome shortly thereafter.”

Opportunity to Watch

With the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) counting down to its November 30 implementation, a lack of auditors remains a primary concern. “My biggest concern on the rollout…is making sure that I have enough assessors in the geographical area for the assessments as we roll these pilot programs out,” said Katie Arrington, the Defense Department’s chief information security officer for acquisition, said during a keynote presentation at the virtual CyberSheath’s virtual CMMC conference Nov. 18. Getting past the first level (self assessment) will be a hurdle to coordinate, but it doesn’t require the travel and on-site assessments that are part of the higher levels of accreditation. With COVID-19 impacts ramping up and organizations remaining or returning home, necessary on-site access could be limited for a bit. CMMC Accreditation Body board director, Jeff Dalton, has estimated that 2,000 cyber professionals will be needed. With the creation of a new industry, Dalton said, “We’re all doing our best to get this out as quickly as we can. Probably won’t be as fast as people want, probably won’t be exactly what people are expecting always, but we’re learning as we go.”

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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.