ACT News

World's biggest military contractor, Lockheed Martin, moves into Civic in jobs boon for Canberra

As Canberra braces for thousands of job losses from fierce public service cuts outlined in the May budget, defence contractors are moving in to plug the employment gap. 

On Wednesday Minister for Defence David Johnston handed an $800 million contract to the world's largest military contractor, Lockheed Martin, which is keen to open another office in Civic in an overhaul of the department's IT services.

This will mean over 100 new jobs for Canberra, with staff located at 14 Moore Street in Civic, where the company already holds a lease.

The new staff will be responsible for keeping the nation's biggest military secrets safe in new data centres.

Other employees will be based in other state and territory capitals and overseas.

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The company's spokesman confirmed that most staff had already been recruited for the project  from a pool of self-employed IT contractors, current and former public servants and interstate tech wizards after the company won preferred contractor status in May.

He said they would take up roles as systems engineers, program analysts and project managers.

After their jobs are confirmed they will be expected to start rolling up for work at Moore Street. 

With 100,000 users, defence IT is a huge operation and the new "centralised processing project" contract involves setting up and managing new data infrastructure.

Currently the department holds its information, including highly classified documents, across 280 data centres. The new contract will mean a move to 11 physical locations in Australia and three overseas.

Defence chief information officer Dr Peter Lawrence said the move would improve the "availability, reliability and security" of departmental information.

"The partnership will deliver Defence with a robust and secure technology environment, while creating greater efficiencies, simplifying our service provision and speeding up our response to change," Dr Lawrence said.

The project marks a major expansion for the company, which employed about 500 staff in the country in 2012, according to IBISWorld. The company website states it now employs 113,000 people worldwide with net sales of $45.4 billion in 2013.

In March, the US company bought commercial cybersecurity firm Industrial Defender, whose work includes protecting electric grids and energy facilities against cyber threats.

So too has the company been building up its cybersecurity facilities in Australia, opening a $10 million lab at its Kingston offices in 2012.

Lockheed Martin executive vice president Sondra Barbour said the company was "developing an increasingly strong footprint" in the country.

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