I’ve been doing interaction design work for the military my entire career. The very first project I worked on in my very first full-time job was with Lockheed Martin. I designed an application for USAF aircraft inspectors. Since then, I’ve designed software used by Explosive Ordnance Disposal units, NCIS, the Coast Guard, and the Navy.
All of the software I’ve designed has been for maintenance, mission planning, data logging, and analysis. I haven’t worked on the design of any weapon systems, but certainly the software I’ve designed is used to maintain vehicles that bear weapons.
I was once told by a college student at a job fair, after mentioning that our company worked on military contracts, that I should leave. While I realize that many may have trouble making an ethical decision about the type of work I have done, my conscience is clear. While I can’t cite specific instances, it is likely that my work has contributed to the safety of our soldiers—that lives have been saved. I’m proud of that.
While doing research and training with members of our armed forces, I have developed much respect and empathy for the sacrifices, big and small, that they make for our security on a daily basis. I’ve been onboard aircraft carriers and submarines. I’ve observed training scenarios on a bomb range. I’ve listened to young men tell stories that make me profoundly grateful that I have not had to go through the experiences they have, and honored to be able to provide a service that will make their job safer, more efficient, more effective, or at least a little less onerous.
The work I’ve done for our military has been challenging and extremely rewarding.