Working in the DoD/ Intel Space
NJVC is a global information technology (IT) support company headquartered in Chantilly, Virginia, with additional facilities in the St. Louis metropolitan area. It specializes in supporting highly secure, complex IT enterprises in mission-critical environments, particularly for the defense and intelligence communities. The company has 1,300 employees across the Unites States. In addition, NJVC employees are stationed in seven foreign countries, including Afghanistan, in both temporary-duty (TDY) and expatriate (permanent change of station; PCS) capacities. The company also maintains remote operations at more than 100 sites.
NJVC hires IT specialists, engineers, architects, cyber security specialists, data analysts, logistics specialists, financial analysts, project managers, and more. The company has a growing need for system and cyber engineers at the top secret/sensitive compartmentalized information (TS/SCI) level, and continuously sources for both help desk technicians and system administrators.
Veterans who have received technical training or have completed assignments within the technical operational specialties are great candidates for these opportunities. NJVC participates in several veteran-focused hiring events throughout the United States each year.
NJVC values the unique contributions military personnel provide to the company, as well as their insight into warfighter needs and their unshakable sense of duty. Veteran hires tend to be highly skilled, motivated and disciplined employees. More than 45 percent of NJVC’s current work force consists of veterans, and 30 percent of the employees are protected veterans.
A VETERAN SUCCESS | TIMOTHY MCFADDEN
Timothy McFadden served for five years in the United States Navy, separating as a petty officer second class. He worked as a secure communications operator (cryptology).
He is now a senior business manager at NJVC. He works in the Program Management Office on the largest NJVC contract. He is the program’s subcontractor liaison, maintaining relationships with more than 40 contractor and vendor companies. He started at NJVC in 2008.
From 2004 to 2008, he had been a subcontractor, working as production system manager on a large NJVC-Department of Defense customer contract; he worked at the customer’s location. In 2008, NJVC hired him as a director in the Office of Business Management. He later worked in the Communications Department, then moved to the Program Management Office.
McFadden’s military career led him directly to his first post-Navy job. “My last assignment with the Navy was with a Naval communication unit in London,” he said. “In this assignment, I provided support for classified submarine broadcasting. Experience gained during this assignment allowed me to land my first civilian job after the Navy. I was hired as a civilian contractor to work on a program at the Naval Research Lab conducting facility security accreditations. Over the next several years, I continued to utilize my military experience and security clearance to fill roles in DoD and intelligence-community agencies – the National Reconnaissance Office, Defense Intelligence Agency, and National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.”
Although he did not have a lot of trouble finding a post-military job, McFadden said there are things he would do differently if he was still in the military. “I wish I had taken more advantage of the training and educational opportunities provided by the military,” he said. “I would definitely encourage veterans to utilize those opportunities before and after they depart the military. There are so many programs available to assist veterans with obtaining a degree and with transition training.”
McFadden’s military training still helps him at NJVC. “My very first training and assignment in the Navy was in the area of cryptology,” he said. “I served in various capacities in the cryptology field, with information security being the common theme. That, and the security clearance I was granted while serving in the military, has opened so many doors. Also, in the military you are instilled with a sense of pride for mission, a high level of respect for your chain of command, and a sense of urgency in all that you do. These translate into the roles I have filled at NJVC because the work NJVC does is closely aligned to the work performed in the military.”
He has also found that the work ethic at NJVC is similar to the one he appreciated in the Navy. “In the military, there is respect and trust for both leadership and your teammates,” he said. “Contributing to a mission where life and death are realities engender in you a high priority for attention to detail, policy and procedure, and mission urgency. That work ethic and culture are evident here at NJVC, where our customer’s mission is just as critical.” The size of the veteran cohort at NJVC helps make a new veteran’s transition to the company a smooth process. “Joining NJVC was an easy transition,” said McFadden. “The mission, the customers supported, the culture, are very similar – and so, for a veteran, the assimilation is natural. Also, the large number of NJVC veteran employees, with the same ideals and work ethic, makes it a great place to work.”
McFadden recommends that veterans not limit themselves when looking for a career after the military. “There are so many programs and opportunities geared to hiring veterans,” he said. “Your skills learned in the military are definitely transferrable. However, don’t limit yourself just to the field your military assignments were in. Companies value more than the hard skills learned on the job. So many aspects of your military career are attractive to employers. Leverage those. Also, use your network, your former military teammates, when looking for a company. Lastly, take risks, don’t settle. There’s a perfect opportunity waiting out there for you.”
NJVC looks for a lot when hiring, but veterans have built-in advantages. “On your resume, highlight your military training and assignments,” said McFadden, “but also include statements about your work ethic, ability to work with teams, integrity and discipline, and any leadership roles. NJVC looks for these traits when screening candidates.”
A VETERAN SUCCESS | TARA NEWMAN
Tara Newman spent 12 years in the United States Air Force and the Air National Guard. She separated as a captain, after serving as both an Arabic linguist and intelligence officer. Now, as NJVC’s director, resource management, she manages the company’s labor needs. Her duties include capturing labor requirements, staffing, and reassignment of employees to fill the most critical needs. She has been with NJVC since the year of its founding, 2001. Newman started with NJVC directly out of the Air Force, as an all-source analyst at a customer site in Washington, D.C. From that position, she progressed into management; and, in 2006, transferred to NJVC headquarters. Since then, she has worked as business operations manager, resource deployment manager, and director of resource management.
“I was contacted by NJVC while I was relocating from Hawaii to the D.C. area,” she said. “At the time I was an all-source intelligence officer with the Air Force Reserve, and looking for a full time position in the D.C. area. So the position offered by NJVC was perfect. NJVC was just setting up operations in the area, and I was one of the initial employees collocated with the customer. I was accustomed to moving around and working within the intel space, so the transition from military duty to civilian life under these circumstances was pretty easy.”
Newman said that job-seeking veterans should focus on networking. “I would recommend keeping in touch with your military co-workers, particularly those in the same military specialty,” she said. “Sometimes, it is tough when you move around so much; but it’s a small world, and eventually you cross paths again. These days, social media, like LinkedIn, allow people to keep in better touch with one another. Definitely use that to your advantage.
“The other thing that I would recommend is to look into the civilian industry that you are interested in, and find out what certifications or training are relevant. If done in advance, prior to transitioning out of the military, you may be able to utilize resources provided to get the relevant certifications or training needed.”
She said that pretty much of all the training she received in the military has paid dividends at NJVC. “In general, as a military officer you are highly trained, and so much of that training is relevant in the civilian world. From leadership training to task management, all of my training has attributed to a successful career with NJVC. More specifically, as a linguist and intelligence analyst, the focus is on critical intelligence, analysis, data correlation, information security, and briefing skills. Again, all of these skills have contributed positively to the positions I have held at NJVC.”
The emphasis on teamwork that Newman found in the military has carried into the civilian workplace as well. “In the military you rely heavily on your teammates to accomplish a common goal, set priorities, or solve a problem,” she said. “While in the Air Force, I was always stationed at joint base commands, and so I worked with very diverse teams, made up of members from all services and pretty much all ranks. Also, the military come from all walks of life. That diversity is a huge positive when working closely as a team, with a shared mindset – you can accomplish so much. Each member brings a talent to the team, allowing you to accomplish greater things than the added total of each performing separately. That is definitely a lesson that you learn over and over again in the military. It is drilled into you on day one and lived over and over again throughout your career.”
Newman believes that veterans will appreciate the similarities between the military and NJVC. “We work primarily in the DoD and intel space,” she said. “The work we do is in support of the warfighter. Much of our work is exactly what our military counterparts do day to day. In fact, we work side-by-side with servicemen and -women at our customer sites. In addition, NJVC highly values the work ethic, integrity, and dedication found in so many servicemen and -women. They are accustomed to committing 100 percent, and that is a valuable characteristic to have in an employee. Related to that, NJVC also understands that the training, skills and work experiences of our servicemen and -women is second to none. The military invests in its members. They ensure they have the skills necessary to be a success.”
Newman recommends that servicemembers utilize transition programs while they are still in the military. “Take advantage of the transition programs that your service has to offer,” she said. “You can gain some valuable skills as you transition out. The transition programs also provide you with assistance in locating veteran-focused companies. If you look at companies that focus on hiring veterans, you know you will be joining an organization that understands you and the skills that you bring.”
This article appeared in the January-February 2015 issue of Search & Employ Magazine
Defense, Search & Employ®, Government, January-February 2015