Out of a Job? Electronic Warfare Firms Are Hiring!

By Melissa Lafsky | December 10, 2008 2:42 pm

Most people peruse blogs at the office, meaning that if you’re reading this, there’s a decent chance you weren’t a victim of Bloody November, in which around 500,000 jobs were systematically purged from the U.S. workforce—many of them from the tech sector. But one industry that’s been hiring in droves, reports the Boston Globe, is defense contractors, particularly those focused on the latest in war technology.

The cluster of defense companies based in New England is expected to weather the downturn reasonably well, because of their tech focus:

[R]ather than building entire jets, ships, tanks, or ground installations, many of the region’s defense firms develop the electronics, combat, and communications systems they use…

Area contractors, for instance, work on electronic eavesdropping, signal processing for radar systems, and equipment used to integrate intelligence from different sources, technologies critical to helping the US military and allies battle terrorists in multiple countries.

Not that we’re suggesting qualified applicant shouldn’t jump at a well- (or any-) paying gig, but it’s worth asking: Is this really the place we want to be re-channeling our tech talent?

There’s also the question of stability: These firms must know their clock is ticking, and that once Obama takes office, there’s about a 99.99% chance the defense budget will be machete-slashed and the Bush waterfall of cash for military spending will be over. Which calls into question just how stable these—or any—jobs are in the long term.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Science in Wartime

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  1. Scott

    I doubt the defense budget will be hit the way you it will be. My reaction to the people Obama has been appointing to defense and foreign policy positions is now that he is getting the full national security briefings due to the President-elect, he is realizing the world is far more dangerous than he suspected and is realizing his initial ideas won’t work.

  2. Joel

    The huge cash infusion of the mid double-oughts will probably taper off but there will not be a sudden decrease in spending. SECDEF Gates is trying to streamline the acquisition process which is partly responsible for the huge costs of readiness, but, believe it or not, it is Congress that can shoulder much of the blame for excessive spending. When I hear Project Managers complain that the Navy only needs ten of these, but that Congress mandated that 25 be built, it is because a part of that ‘widget’ was built in the Congressperson’s district, I know that it is simple politics which gets people re-elected.

    Another thing that the Electronic Warfare ‘community’ has been advocating for years has been to maintain proficiency in not only ‘doing’ EW but, for the defense industry, to ‘make’ EW equipment. It has an ebb and flow concomitantly with crisis and/or war and the steep learning curve at the start of each crisis must be replaced with a smooth deliberate process – maintenance of training and production.

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