One often overlooked consulting sector is the defense industry. This is despite the fact that defense consulting firms service some of the largest clients in the world. These clients include the world’s most successful companies and its most powerful governments. Defense consulting firms offer a variety of services, including IT, security, training, logistics, data management, business services, engineering, research, social impact, and more. If you’re looking to work in an exciting and high-impact field, you’ll want to consider applying to defense consulting firms. Some firms focus exclusively on defense consulting, while other larger firms have departments dedicated to this area. In this article, we’ll take a look at the our top 10 defense consulting firms, (see more here). This list offers an overview of the services and specialties for each firm, so you can decide if one of them might be the right move as you begin or continue your consulting career.
Top Defense Consulting Firms List
Lockheed Martin Corporation (IT Consulting)
Lockheed Martin is one of the best-known names in defense and aerospace, and they’re particularly notable for manufacturing weapons, security systems, and other related technologies. The company also offers consulting services rooted in its technical and industrial expertise, including engineering, management, logistics, technical advisory, and information technology services. The majority of Lockheed Martin’s contracts are through the US Department of Defense and other American government agencies, which accounts for 80% of LM’s revenue, but the company services many other clients as well. Lockheed Martin has structured their operations around four key areas: aeronautics, electronic systems, info systems & global security, and space systems. If you’re interested in working with cutting-edge technology, Lockheed Martin may be the right place for you. Working at Lockheed Martin also offers the chance to work and travel in a variety of different locations, as LM maintains offices in over 500 cities, 46 US states, and 75 foreign countries.
Northrop Grumman Corporation (IT Consulting)
Northrop Grumman is another well-known name in the defense space. Like Lockheed Martin, NG manufactures defense systems and aerospace technology, but above all, the company is best known for its watercraft, as it is the world’s largest shipbuilder. The majority of NG’s revenue comes from the US government, but the company also contracts with foreign governments, state and local governments, as well as commercial companies across the world. NG’s consulting services are mainly related to information technology and are divided into three practice areas: mission systems, information technology, and technical services.
Booz Allen Hamilton is the top-ranking firm on this list that is known for consulting work outside the defense sector. But among more generalist firms, BAH is notable for its government contracting work in a variety of areas. This goes back to the company’s founding in the wake of World War I. BAH consults extensively for the US government, especially in the areas of IT strategy, administration, and integration. The firm’s government consulting work includes defense, aerospace, and even financial/economic consulting, including helping secure the loans that kept Chrysler—one of the US’s most important manufacturers—from going under in the 1980s. BAH is a massive company, with over 30,000 employees, but they have a demonstrated preference for current & former military members, as well as other government employees with some level of security clearance. This means that if you have meaningful government or military experience, BAH may be an ideal destination for you, as they will value your skills and expertise.
Raytheon Professional Services is the consulting branch of Raytheon Technologies, one of the foremost weapons and defense systems manufacturers in the world. RPS particularly specializes in learning strategy and technology-based solutions, and they provide the US Army with a unified training platform that allows soldiers to learn together from any location across the world. RPS’s main practice areas include Consulting, Digital Learning, Managed Learning, Markets, and Technology Services.
BAE Systems specializes in business and applied technology consulting. The firm is a leader in big data, helping clients collect, manage, analyze, and exploit vast quantities of information to improve operations. Founded as a data and research firm known as Smith Associates, and subsequently known as Detica, the company was acquired by the aerospace and defense company BAE Systems in 2008, at which point the company’s data capabilities were significantly tailored to military and defense purposes. Today, the company does extensive security consultation for clients all over the world, specializing in intelligence and resilience.
Bain & Company, like Booz Allen Hamilton, is another top consulting firm that works in a variety of industries, including defense. Bain is considered one of the Big 3 consulting firms, meaning that employment there can be a powerful resume-builder that can equip you to work in virtually any industry and for a variety of other firms. Bain & Company groups Aerospace, Defense, and Government Services together, and they offer specialized consulting in the areas of cost containment, digital transformation, operational excellence, and sustainability. Within Defense, Bain focuses on helping clients find and acquire talent as well as improve manufacturing agility, bringing products to market more rapidly and at lower cost in order to remain competitive.
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Boston Consulting Group is another Big 3 firm on this list, offering specialized consulting services in Defense and Security. With a legacy of experience in both the private and public sectors, BCG helps institutions build effectiveness and efficiency in the face of rising challenges relating to security, rising costs, and technological development. BCG helps clients improve their operations through intelligent acquisitions, digital innovation, sustainment modernization, organizational transformation, and the implementation of cutting-edge tools like artificial intelligence.
Another top firm operating across many different industries, Accenture is known for its progressive work at the intersection of business and technology, which makes it a leading firm for clients in the defense sector. Accenture is known for their innovation in IT, AI, machine learning, digital transformation, cybersecurity, and the strategic implementation of these areas. The company’s defense work is grouped under the Aerospace and Defense department. In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, Accenture is going all-in on digital transformation as the best way defense companies can remain competitive amid new challenges. The company’s three-point plan for defense companies to optimize their digital transformation includes the following steps: 1) Digitize across the value chain; 2) Collaborate to innovate; and 3) Embrace new business models.
General Dynamics is one of the largest defense contractors in the world, with clients in the following sectors: commercial, defense, federal civilian government, health, homeland security, intelligence, and state and local government. General Dynamics offers a variety of consulting services, including IT systems engineering, mission-critical IT management, mission support services, professional services, and simulation & training. General Dynamics also offers many products in the fields of business aviation, C4ISR solutions, combat vehicles, IT solutions, munitions & weapons systems, and shipbuilding and ship repair.
Deloitte is another top consulting firm, and they group their defense consulting under the Defense, Security, & Justice department. Deloitte’s clients include every branch of the US Military, the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Justice. In all their defense, governmental, and public sector work, Deloitte centers the values of transparency, innovation, collaboration, and sustainability. Deloitte’s trademark CortexAI service helps government agencies use artificial intelligence and machine learning to make better decisions and achieve better mission outcomes. The firm also specializes in helping clients achieve digital transformation and build better cybersecurity.
Aspiring consultants wanting to work in an exciting and critically important sector should consider these firms that specialize in defense consulting. While consumer tech companies often get more attention, defense companies are often working at the true forefront of technological innovation. Further, the work that defense consultants do empowers clients to develop superior new technologies, to improve operations and mission outcomes, and to enhance security across a variety of public and military domains. Further, there is significant crossover between defense consulting and other sectors, as defense companies not only work with cutting-edge technology, but they rely on many of the same suite of professional services as other commercial entities. Working in the field of defense consulting can be exciting and rewarding on its own terms, and it can also serve as a launching pad to virtually every other industry.
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