ID-ers working for military or government??

Has anyone applied for any of the design jobs for the military or government… designing black ops. gadgets, gears, spy equipments, etc??

This question has been asked numerous times.
I’m guessing you are about 15 -18 yrs old?

Places like Northrup Grumman are contracted by the gov’t to do work like this.

There are some companies like iRobot in Boston that do both commercial and military industrial design but the chances of someone with an ID background getting to work on military projects is very slim.

Not only do you have to pass massive amounts of security clearances just to get in the door, but you will also find that what is actually being designed has a lot less to do with styling and much more to do with the engineering of internal components. Most designers are ill equipped to do that level of technical work and they could care less about sketching abilities. They would probably prefer that nothing get sketched, ever.

My father is a former weapons specialist for the US Air Force and from what he has told me, you either need to be an MIT supergenious with electronics and computers, or you need to work your way through the military to get into a group like the office of naval intelligence, or the naval research laboratory.

http://www.nrl.navy.mil/

That is where a lot of advanced work is done, and not just for the Navy.

People also do a lot of work at the groom lake base “area 51”. Despite all the stories about spaceships, people do actually work here on top weapons and technical projects. Most people who work at the base live in the Las Vegas area and are flown in from a small Vegas airport everyday to work, you can’t drive there without being shot at by ground security.

Edit

i could tell you, but then i’d have to kill you.

OFW or FFW (whatever it’s called now) has pumped literally billions into the design efforts to benefit the future military…with varying degrees of success.

Politics aside you should target the Natick Army Labs outside Boston for more inquiries.

Is this Stormtrooper enough for you? http://cryeassociates.com/work/11.htm

There is an AUSA tradeshow in DC every year that showcases new weapons by companies that are looking for gov’t contracts. I went 2 yrs ago and it was awesome to say the least. The public is not allowed in and there were coverings on all of the windows on ground level at the DC convention center.

Last firm I worked for did numerous programs for defense department contractors. Mostly we designed "Rugedized Frontline Electronics”. Engineering was the key player in the program, but the usability and ergo input was equally as important to the final designs. Just remember these types of government contracts are awarded to the lowest bid, and very little money is available for anything other than the engineering.

I had a feeling they’re no joke on those clearances and that engineers are a bit more revered… I guess the reason why I asked is a good friend of mine has recently passed away from the war in iraq, I feel pretty damn useless sometimes designing elitist materials.

I was hoping maybe I could design or develop something clever/sleek along the lines of protection (i.e. bullet proof vests, explosive gears protecting vital organs etc), I like the idea that as a designer, I could also help spare the lives of those who’d put their lives in danger.

Thanks to Slippyfish and mmjohns for the links! I should at least try right??

The protective gear you mention is already here. However it is expensive and congress voted against suppling it to the general forces. Though Kerry took the brunt of this publically during his failed bid for office, nearly 3/4 of congress voted against it.

I have done some ID work for special forces and its almost the oposite of the clunky junk you see at army navy stores… they appreciate and actually need products that do not look military, but are extra rugged

Its very interesting work and you hear exotic stories, but unfortunately researching the users need has been difficult… they don’t let us know too much of what they do with our products

DELETED

Understandable that you would want to do something singificant considering your friend. Sorry for your loss.

Have you considered doing biomedical design/fabricating work? Lots of demand in the coming years for prostetic devices for those military types fortunate enough to survive, but unfortunate enough to have lost limbs.

Maybe not exactly what you had in mind, but they need help too…

It occurs to me that if any government won’t hire industrial designers for soft goods, interfaces and other suitable projects, then other countries might pay good money for any edge that can offer some advantage against the technological superiority of modernized forces.

IOW, have any of you ever considered working for the “enemy?”

Of course, there is the “moral” issue of knowing that one is working on systems that are used for the military projection of political power… the reason I’ve chosen not to work in the most lucrative of all industries.

:)ensen.

true, but in todays “post 911 era”, could we be subjecting ourselves to being called enemy combatants and having to deal with what comes with that title?

One would probably have to emigrate with all the consequences. On the other hand, it’s probably a good bet that living in Monaco ain’t that bad. The real question is whether or not the stomach is strong enough to do business with autocratic regimes. I’m not advising anybody one way or the other, just that sometimes, the best work is not necessarily where we would normally expect it.

A few of these “defections” and you can bet that everyone will take notice of the remainder.

So… who wants to take one for the team?


:)ensen.

Wondering,

Something else has been said before; if you know what you want to do, go after the comapny thea is doing it.

Just because they aren’t running an advertisement doesn’t mean they aren’t looking for creative people.

Back in the eighties, I was working as an industrial designer, when the company I was working for went T-U. I parlayed my designer rendering skills into a technical illustrator position with a space shuttle contractor on Vandenberg AFB. Within a year I was doing ergo work on everything from work platforms, to control room console layouts, to making rack-and-panel electronic chassis more easily read, and serviced.

We don’t all get to be the designer(s) of CamelBak hydration systems which were purchased by the Marines, or ultra-lightweight armor, but anything you can do will help.


BTW,IMHO: If the Iraqi’s wanted freedom, and democracy, for themselves bad enough, wouldn’t they have fought for, and obtained it, by now?

I worked in Personnel for the government (USAF) for ten years.

The traditional way is to look for vacancies here:
http://www.usajobs.opm.gov/

By searching for a job description (series) from a list like this:
http://www.opm.gov/fedclass/text/gs-1000.htm (Information and Arts Group)

If you don’t see anything right away, but there is something piques your interest, it’s easy to just call them up and see if anything may become available. Often, the jobs are posted because it’s a formality to hiring somebody that they’ve already chosen. So finding out if something is on the RADAR may lead you into something.

On a parallel, you might want to look at the United States Dept of Commerce, Nat’l Institute of Standards & Technology (NIST). www.nist.gov They do R&D on consumer products to see if they are safe, could be better, etc. I’m not sure if they are entirely engineers/scientists…but if your school offered a BS in ID, play up ergonomics…

Hope this helps.

I’ve been designing military equipment for three years. I worked on Scorpion, OFW (which then became FFW), and a few other development programs. The ‘storm trooper’ that was mentioned earlier in the thread – that’s Future Warrior. The firm I work for partnered with Crye Associates on that project. I did a lot of work on the helmet.
I have told you all of that so that I can tell you this. If your goal is to work as an Industrial Designer on military equipment, the last thing you want to do is become a government employee. The US military is a very bureaucratic organization. It’s not a good environment for a designer. Instead, seek out the firms who are doing work for the military. That way you will be working for designers who respect the fact that you are a designer. If you live in New England, try http://www.cryeassociates.com and http://www.artisent.com. Those are the only two firms I know of. Does anyone else know of any firms that are doing military work?


wondering - drop me an email - I have a question for you.

I have told you all of that so that I can tell you this. If your goal is to work as an Industrial Designer on military equipment, the last thing you want to do is become a government employee. The US military is a very bureaucratic organization. It’s not a good environment for a designer. Instead, seek out the firms who are doing work for the military. That way you will be working for designers who respect the fact that you are a designer. If you live in New England, try > http://www.cryeassociates.com > and > http://www.artisent.com. > Those are the only two firms I know of. Does anyone else know of any firms that are doing military work?

Darwin,

I agree with your assessment. Better to work with a firm that provides develpment services for the military, etc. Honestly, in meeting with a number of defense-centric manufacturers, the sloth of being a bigtime supplier really hampers innovative product development (see: Colt Defense, for example; one worker bee there told me they have no new product development plans through 2007/2008!) Actually, you probably are aware of at least one other firm in New England that provides similar expertise, but we focus more on the commercial firearms and related outdoor products industries. I prefer to not tell other designers anything more because from a competition standpoint, there are virtually no other firms that design firearms that I know of (EVO in CT?) and I would like to keep it that way! Plus, unless you have some serious engineering support at your disposal, slapping a sexy foregrip on a tactical firearm isn’t going to get you very far…

WS