Sometimes living the defense contractor life has its downsides. However, for many, the ability to work on cutting edge technology is a driving factor. While some people get to put contracts together or manage the budget, others get to do the technology behind things like DARPA’s project that is using artificial intelligence to dogfight enemy planes. DARPA’s ACE program (Air Combat Evolution) is moving towards going live by the end of this year. Currently, the dogfights are all virtual, but DARPA has plans to take the training live. Whatever role contractors play in national security, the reality is that each person is a component in pushing our technology and increasing our security.

Contract Opportunities to Watch

Raytheon Raytheon Intelligence & Space, a Raytheon Technologies business based in Arlington, VA received a contract award to continue operating and maintaining the the U.S. government’s Relocatable Over-the-Horizon Radar (ROTHR) system. The award is a $146 million, five-year contract.

“Raytheon Technologies’ ROTHR systems have supported U.S. Navy operations for over 30 years,” said John DeSimone, vice president of Cybersecurity, Training and Services for RI&S.  “We will continue to work closely with the Navy and JIATF South to help protect our national security.”

Key Employer in the Cleared Industry

Frontier Technology Inc Frontier Technology Inc (FTI) is a private, high-growth defense contractor anchored by four guiding principles: core values, commitment, compassion, and charity. Join their team.

Cleared Job of the Week

Financial Manager For every successful program out there, not only are there strong team members who play an integral role, but there’s a financial manager behind the scenes making dollars and cents of the program every month. Some months are better than others when it comes to keeping the program within budget – especially when unexpected requirements or issues pop up. Beginning and end of month tend to be the busy seasons with end of month reporting, spend plan adjustments, and invoice approvals.

Whether you prefer to work behind the scenes or get face time with the client, different contracts have varying options for the cleared financial manager. Bachelors degree is the minimum requirement, as well as program management or financial experience. You may have to start small, taking on a project lead position when you start out, working your way up the ladder to manage large program budgets. Depending on the program, you’ll need to obtain and maintain a Secret or Top Secret clearance if you want to support the finances behind national security.

Growth Opportunities

Artificial intelligence shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, if the national security field isn’t pushing the capabilities envelope, we know that our adversaries are. As unmanned aerial vehicles – UAVs or drones- grow in their capability and become cheaper to develop, they become more useful to civilians, but especially in national security. Author P.W. Singer has written extensively about the risks and uses of drones in the future of war. Singer isn’t alone in working to advance drone capabilities. DARPA also is in the game, working to advance U.S. drone capabilities – specifically in reference to drone swarming capabilities. DARPA’s OFFensive Swarm-Enabled Tactics (OFFSET) program, with Northrop Grumman and Raytheon Technologies are creating swarm systems architectures, advanced interfaces, and virtual and physical swarm testbeds.

“The Swarm Systems Integrators have been steadily improving their capabilities, each approaching the testing scenarios in unique ways,” said Timothy Chung, the OFFSET program manager in DARPA’s Tactical Technology Office (TTO). “Being able to test large-scale swarms in complex urban environments will allow us to extract new insights into the best ways to use a swarm, especially as our field tests increase in size, complexity, and duration.”

For those working in the field of national security, note that these capabilities will continue to grow. So, keep your eye on opportunities to add projects to your resume where you can.

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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.