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Defense Companies Hurt By Staffing Shortage Amid Rising Weapon Demand

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Defense Companies Hurt By Staffing Shortage Amid Rising Weapon Demand

The escalation rendered during and after the global pandemic has affected industries worldwide. However, 2022 has welcomed the pre-pandemic experiences back with a robust balance in the demand and supply, gradually restoring the economies of scale. Nevertheless, one such industry that still whimpers, longing for seamless functionality, is the defense industry. 

The recent global turmoil has been quite a situation for the market players and spectators. It includes the latest inflation in many economies and the warfare situations influencing organizational giants and their buyers.

Consequently, the functions of defense's demand and supply have been experiencing a significant collapse, with a raging demand piling up against a very strained supply.

What Is Happening?

The enlightened conflict between Ukraine and Russia has created exceptional opportunities for the defense ecosystems to nab the high-end demand for various ammunition. The United States of America has been actively and explicitly backing the Ukraine flank amid the tensions that escalated in early 2022.

The nation has promised more than 50 billion dollars in military supply to Ukraine. These supplies are rich with drones and radios with Javelin and Stinger missiles. An update from the Pentagon confirms that most of these supplies have been from the US government's inventory. 


The production and delivery from corporations have been intently affected.

Hawk Carlisle, who recently withdrew his position as the National Defense Industrial Association president, said, "The skilled, the welders, the electricians, the pipe fitters, there's a shortage." 

The demand has been rising dramatically, which also caused a change in plans for the US defense budget. The expected numbers to be consistent until 2025 have now increased. 

The US labor markets have been witnessing a steep decline in the labor force only to make the situation worse by anticipating a demand, including a quotation of Stinger from the Pentagon for 1,300 missiles that cost anywhere near 4.5 billion dollars.

The shortcomings have been everywhere. The US ship-building materials such as tons of steel and aluminum, landing gear brakes for aircraft, and even materials like semiconductors have been absent from the bucket of US defense productions, ultimately ravaging the overall supply to match the high-demand for ammunition. 

The Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) has also expressed its deficiencies, with the industry losing 87,000+ jobs, which is nearing 4% of its strength.

According to the vice president for national security policy at AIA, John Luddy, small and medium-sized businesses were majorly challenged by the issue. 64% of employees of these businesses lost jobs. Approximately, 55,700 positions were vacating owing only to the supply chain challenges.

The consistency of the supply gap has been due to various elements, says AIA. The supply chain has been facing hindrances in procuring raw materials, executing successful transportation, shortage of shipping containers, and logistical backlogs.

The Struggling Streak

Some statistics in America clarify the numbers where around 5,28,000 jobs in this employment phase had successfully restored the run-off amidst the crisis of the pandemic, dropping down the unemployment rate to 3.5%. The catch is that the defense industry hasn't been a part of the same experience.

A streak of American weapon contractors has been observing tremendous pressure, especially amidst the Ukrainian tensions. The US had expanded its military expenses because of the ongoing war.

The outcomes were redirected toward the defense companies in the form of a compressed supply.

Here is what leading weapons contractors have to say about their operations while struggling to meet ends.

Raytheon Technologies Corp.

"Unexpected inflation in the supply chain" is bound to increase the costs by $150 million in early 2022, said Greg Hayes, Chief Executive Officer at Raytheon. Raytheon Technologies Corp. is one of the firms significantly affected by the acute labor shortage, leading to hampered supply.

The company manufactures Stinger missiles currently employed by the Ukrainians against Russia. Raytheon revealed that its missile and defense division had recorded a massive decline in sales figures. 

Hayes said, "we're certainly not satisfied with the performance in our defense business this quarter. There is much to do. Bookings were outstanding; execution, not so much."

The sales have escalated to 3.6 billion, a fall of 11% in the second quarter of 2022 against the same timeframe in 2021.

"We have seen inflation — obviously, I think, like everybody else — and it has been higher than we expected. The whole goal here is to keep the input costs flat year-over-year. So we go out, and we work to reduce costs. This year, we've got a little more work to do." says Hayes. 

Lockheed Martin Corp.

Lockheed Martin Corp. has been jointly operating with Raytheon Technologies Corp. in producing the Javelin missile. Both firms have confirmed the staggering differences in the labor supply in the past and present. 

Both manufacturers have not been able to regain the lost labor in the pandemic phase. Jay Malave, Lockheed's chief financial officer, said, "while we've seen improvement in our operations, we still have yet to figure out how to recover what was lost."

The president of the United States paid a recent visit to the Lockheed Martin Corp. plant amidst a stiffened labor supply to attempt a boosted production in aid to Ukraine. "Being the arsenal of democracy also means good-paying jobs for American workers in Alabama, in the states all across America, where defense equipment is manufactured and assembled," he said.

Comprehending the need for supply and the available production force, the company was extending a pay of $16 to $20 an hour for training at the plant along with an offer for the college grads possessing a security clearance. 

They offered a $1,500 signing bonus for numerous positions available, says an ad on the Alabama state workforce development agency's Facebook handle.

The company is looking for professionals like engineers, quality managers, and assembling workforce for missiles, as it said on the 26 job postings aTroy. 

Lockheed also confirmed a massive decline in the sales figures of the marquee F-35 fighter jet, with a dive of 945 million dollars owing to the issues of supply chain inconsistency.

The acting CFO at Lockheed Martin, John Mollard, also mentioned a dip in the manufacturing and sales of the F-35 fighter jet, a product of the fire control, space, and aeronautics divisions.

Nevertheless, the duo is pretty bullish considering the situations on the western geopolitical fronts. The US government has also offered a possible quotation of instruments like Javelins, electronic attack systems, The Next Generation Jammer, Tomahawk cruise missiles, Stingers, etc.

"We think the bow wave has passed in supply chain disruption for Lockheed Martin, but we're still watching it closely. Not all the risk is out of the system yet," said Jim Taiclet, Lockheed Martin CEO.

Northrop Grumman

Northrop Grumman, another US-based Aerospace and Defense company, is facing a supply and labor crisis. They have been vocal about the atrocities in its books. Kathy Warden, Northrop Grumman's CEO, spoke about the loss of labor post the COVID-19 pandemic. Most of the labor directed to isolate and distance during the pandemic did not return.

The company was severely hurt by the production of the F-35 fighter. "Absenteeism hen higher in these surges," Warden said.

Kaney Aerospace, Inc.

Companies like Raytheon and General Electric Co. serve major development plants in Rockford, catering to clusters of companies that funnel goods directly to the United States Airforce. 

One such groups include Airbus, Boeing, and more. And Kaney Aerospace is engaged in manufacturing gears and motors for these giants. The organization commissions around a hundred employees and claims their openings have doubled over the past few months. 

Kaney emphasizes the acute shortage of human resources by revealing that they are actively hiring for more than 12 positions.

The transition of a labor crisis of such an extent in decades has fallen correctly parallel to the trajectory of the global geo-political pandemonium. In many dimensions, it has also been the result of the same. 

The effects of the pandemic have been a significant impression on the entire situation as the labor callback situation repelled expectations. As some small and mid firms struggle with these hits, major corporations see the light at the end of the tunnel, given the chess play-acting by many national governments.

The most challenging highlights are the situations with Ukraine and Russia, which play a pivotal role in the arms transactions in and out of the USA. Additionally, the movements in Taiwan and China also seem to attract traction in the demand and supply in the defense industries and manufacturers.


The staffing shortage can easily be met by hiring the best top 5% talent by using advanced solutions like AI and an expert recruitment team. They will help you find the right people to meet your specific needs.

Cogent Staffing has provided staffing solutions for over eighteen years to Fortune 500 companies, such as AT&T, Walmart, and Deloitte; the Federal government, including the General Services Administration, the Department of Justice, and the Department of State; and State and Local customers.

Get in touch to know how you can overcome recruitment challenges at your organization.

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