Last week, Linda Hudson didn’t sound like she was one day away from retirement.
Instead, speaking at a Northern Virginia Technology Council event, the outgoing BAE Systems chief executive was concerned as ever about the future of the defense industry. She called on aerospace and defense companies to create a work environment that appeals to talented science, technology, engineering and math — or STEM — students.
The industry needs to better sell the interesting work it does and create a more welcoming workplace, Hudson said.
“We may never be Google, but we need to find a way to attract the same talent,” she said.
Hudson said she’s also advocating for immigration reform, because so many qualified foreign-born students cannot get the needed security clearances to work in the defense industry.
“I cannot help but wonder if hobbling our ability to hire top scientists, mathematicians, programmers and engineers who happen to have been born on foreign soil doesn’t carry national security risks of its own,” she said.
Hudson, who is moving to Charlotte to run her own consulting firm, said that this issue should become a national priority.
Reps. Anna G. Eshoo (D-Calif.) and Gerald E. Connolly (D-Va.) have introduced a bill that would create a White House office tasked with reviewing and guiding major IT projects.
Eshoo’s district is home to Silicon Valley, while Connolly’s constituents include government contractors in Northern Virginia.
The legislation follows the failed roll-out of HealthCare.gov, which drew attention to the problems associated with federal IT procurement.
The bill is known as the Reforming Federal Procurement of Information Technology (RFP-IT) Act.
Alexandria-based security and training contractor SGI Global said last month it has acquired Upper Marlboro-based Advanced Weapons Training International, which focuses on special operations training.
The two have partnered on contracts since 2010, according to SGI’s announcement, and the deal is meant to expand SGI’s work in security risk management and personnel recovery.
Michael Braun, managing partner at SGI, said in an interview that his company, which provides intelligence support along with trainers and mentors outside the United States, is seeking more acquisitions.
“We’re providing more and more intelligence analysis support to [the Defense Department] and to federal law enforcement,” Braun said. “Some of that support involves support to cybersecurity initiatives ... and we’re very interested in moving more fully into that environment.”
The deal’s terms were not disclosed.
The Government Accountability Office has denied a protest filed by Alexandria-based Skyline Ultd against a Department of Veterans Affairs request for quotations for support for the Veterans Employment Services Office.
Skyline had argued that the agency did not have a reasonable basis to cancel the request for quotations, but the GAO disagreed, noting that the VA had received information suggesting its call centers were overstaffed and would reassess its needs.