After 34 years as a government employee, Ed Greer is headed to the private sector.

The former deputy assistant secretary for development test and evaluation at the Defense Department retired earlier this year. This month, he took over as chief operating officer of Bowie-based MIL Corp., an informationtechnology services contractor that specializes in financial management and communications engineering.

At the Pentagon, Greer oversaw the developmental testing of 265 weapons systems. At the more than 550-employee MIL Corp., he’ll be charged with helping to expand the company’s work, despite looming government spending cuts.

Capital Business caught up with Greer for an interview. Below are excerpts from that conversation:

Why did you choose the MIL Corp.?

Ed Greer, the new chief operating officer at MIL Corp.

The main reason I chose to retire from my political appointee job is I commuted from Hollywood, Md., 65 miles every day to the Pentagon. The realization that I am literally missing my grandchildren growing up anchored my decision to retire. What intrigued me about MIL was that [the company’s] core competency wasn’t what I worked in for the last 30 years. This company’s main competency is information systems and information technology. I realized that this company had a tremendous opportunity to expand its portfolio into more of the weapons system IT systems, but particularly into cyber.

Because every weapon system, whether a truck or an airplane, now includes IT?

Absolutely. The Joint Strike Fighter — I’ve been involved in it since 2002. The long pole in the tent right now is Lockheed Martin’s inability to develop and mature and debug the software. Software is the driving piece.

Where is the Pentagon on

It’s an immature technology on the defensive side for the Department of Defense. It’s a rich target in my mind, if we can bring our organizations together to figure out how we are going to not only protect the Department of Defense, but protect our civilian infrastructure. It doesn’t take much to knock out our electric grids, knock out our trains on the civilian side, likewise within the Department of Defense. We have not done a very good job of testing cyber vulnerability with weapons systems — the resiliency of a weapon system to operate even though it’s been attacked via malware.

What does the Pentagon need?

There are a lot of prime contractors that have cyber test beds, but none of them are interoperable. [The Pentagon’s] goal is to develop a single suite of cyber instrumentation tools that can be utilized by multiple cyber test beds.

What are MIL’s focus areas right now?

The most significant core competency, and what they’ve been involved in for many years, is financial management systems. [Also] C4 engineering — command, control, communications [and computers]. [When I worked at the Naval Air Station] at Patuxent River, I was heavily involved in avionics command and control systems, working in support of naval aviation.

What does the threat of sequestration and budget cuts mean for MIL?

I see it as an opportunity. [MIL] has an extremely efficient overhead rate and [general and administrative expense] rate. I see the trend going more and more toward increased emphasis on total cost of a contractor, and MIL Corp. is extremely competitive as compared to some of the larger prime contractors.