Another week and another reminder to give the contract specialists in your organization the time and compensation they need to follow all of the rules and regulations for government contracting. Airbus U.S. Space & Defense has greed to pay $1,043,475 to resolve allegations for alleged violations of the False Claims Act by billing impermissible fees in contracts with a number of federal agencies. Under the False Claims Act, private parties may sue for false claims on behalf of the U.S. government. As part of the resolution, the whistleblower will receive $157, 220 of the settlement. Through this settlement, allegations of unapproved cost rates, unapproved additional fees from affiliates, and inflated storage fees from a third party contractor are all resolved.

“Government contractors have a responsibility to bill the government both accurately and transparently,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian M. Boynton of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “Companies that knowingly inflate their costs or otherwise improperly bill the government will be held accountable.”

“This settlement underscores the important role that whistleblowers continue to serve in protecting critical taxpayer resources,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Raj Parekh for the Eastern District of Virginia. “We encourage individuals who uncover suspected misconduct regarding federal contracts to come forward and report their observations.”

“Government contractors who deliberately inflate profits at the expense of our military and taxpayer will be held accountable,” said Special Agent in Charge Christopher Dillard of the Mid-Atlantic Field Office for the Department of Defense Office of Inspector General, Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS). “This civil settlement reflects DCIS’ commitment to work with our law enforcement partners to tenaciously investigate those alleged to have overcharged the Department of Defense.”

Layoffs Impacting the Cleared Industry

Aquiline Drones

Hartford drone manufacturer, Aquiline Drones, has laid off 33 employees. Barry Alexander, Aquiline’s chief executive confirmed the move, saying that difficulty in acquiring materials and various pandemic travel restrictions were to blame. The company has 42 employees remaining after the layoff.

“Our country is currently in a manufacturing crisis,” Alexander said, in an email. “As I write, there is a record-breaking number of delayed cargo ships not able to bring supplies and goods into their respective ports, which has affected to American manufacturing supply chain across the board, Aquiline Drones included.

Hiring impacting the Cleared Industry

Lockheed Martin Lockheed Martin’s new facility in Courtland, AL is fully in full swing, focusing on assembling hypersonic missiles, putting the company in gear for hiring. With many engineering and mechanical staff openings listed on their site, Lockheed Martin could have up to 70 job openings just in their new facility, according to some sources. With about 170 employees already on side, insiders say they are on the lookout for local, qualified candidates.

“We are ultimately way behind Russia and China, and we’ve got a lot of catching up to do,” said Eric Scherff, vice president of hypersonic strike programs with Lockheed Martin Space, during a ceremony at the new facility in Courtland Industrial Park. “With the workforce and this mission, we can absolutely catch up.”

“The missile program also involves maneuvers in the atmosphere to provide greater survivability from adversaries with missile defense capabilities. It combines the effects of speed and maneuverability. That creates a dilemma for your adversary to react to. It’s like a (football) team in a two-minute drill moving the down the field, putting a lot of duress … (on) the adversary so that will help hold them from being aggressive,” he said.

Cleared Employer at Work: C3.AI

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Opportunity to Watch

U.S. technology companies added new workers for the 10th consecutive month in September, and an estimated 140,000 tech occupations were added throughout the economy, an analysis by CompTIA, the nonprofit association for the information technology (IT) industry and workforce, finds.

Tech companies expanded staffing by 18,700 in both technical and non-technical positions, according to the “Employment Situation” report released today by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Tech sector employment has increased by 134,600 jobs this year.

Demand for cybersecurity workers continues to trend upward. CompTIA’s analysis of employer job posting data for IT occupations shows that so far this year, cybersecurity positions account for 20% of postings compared to 18% in 2020 and 17% in 2019.

“It’s been an especially challenging period on the cybersecurity front with attacks on critical infrastructure, the growing threat of ransomware, and of course, new vulnerabilities brought on by the pandemic” said Tim Herbert, executive vice president for research and market intelligence at CompTIA. “The persistently tight labor market for cybersecurity professionals means employers must cast an even wider net and look internally to develop talent from within their own ranks.”

Employer job postings for all new IT occupations totaled approximately 295,000 in September. Industries with the largest numbers of openings included professional, scientific and technical services (47,630), manufacturing (29,966), finance and insurance (28,549), information (20,985) and retail trade (10,944).

The IT occupation job posting data re-affirms that employers’ need for tech talent – and career opportunities for individuals – is present in nearly every state and metropolitan market.

Three in 10 of all IT job openings (85,000 plus) in September were for positions in emerging technologies or roles that require emerging tech skills. About 14% of the emerging tech job postings were in the field of artificial intelligence.

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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.