Chief Engineer

    • Job Tracking ID: KDRSS-333548
    • Job Location: Wallops Island, VA
    • Job Level: Mid Career
    • Level of Education: BA/BS
    • Job Type: Full-Time/Regular
    • Date Updated: 04/14/2022
    • Years of Experience: 12+
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Job Description

The Chief Engineer (CE) is responsible for the Mission Success and Technical Integrity of the Kratos Defense & Rocket Support Services (KDRSS) assigned Sounding Rocket systems.  The CE provides technical vision for the assigned Sounding Rocket systems.

The CE facilitates communication and synergy across the assigned Sounding Rocket systems through the development and maintenance of the technical road map; technical lead for proposals efforts through ownership of technical volume and technical basis of estimates; overall accountability for technical product lifecycle direction to meet strategic business objectives.


  • Overarching technical lead on assigned Sounding Rocket systems.  
  • For project(s)/contract(s) without Engineer assignments under the assigned Sounding Rocket system, performs the Engineer roles.
  • Creates and maintains the technical road map for the assigned Sounding Rocket system. This roadmap details the technical vision for the assigned Sounding Rocket system.
  • Ensures project design implementation efforts under the system umbrella are staying within the vision for the system.
  • Facilitates communication with project engineers on the technical vision.
  • Communicates vision with upper management to ensure within the company vision.
  • Supports program management and engineers with development of program planning strategies, technical cost estimates, evaluations of alternatives, risk management, logistics management, cost-performance trade-offs, preparation of data, status updates and presentations at customer reviews.
  • Directs and works with engineer(s) to develop solutions to customer requirements and facilitates resolutions where system conflicts arise.
  • For the assigned Sounding Rocket system, is the overriding design authority for the system including all new development and system enhancements.
  • Responsible for facilitating the integration of multi-program/project requirements without design/manufacturing configuration and the cost
  • Assists with setting priorities across the assigned Sounding Rocket system. Ensures roles and responsibilities are clearly defined and coordinated with engineer(s).
  • Provides support to Engineer(s) as necessary, to include, but not limited to project planning, estimating, execution of project tasks and management of the engineering & multi-disciplined team.
  • Assists the functional managers with developing and implementing improved procedures and standards to ensure that output is high quality, accurate, on –time, and within budget; which includes establishing metrics (key performance indicators) for the engineering projects and accountabilities for achieving results.
  • Provides direction and leadership on technical and technology issues and collaborates with the Division Chief Engineer and the Chief Technical Officer, Vice President of Engineering, Technical Director, and/or Engineering Operations Manager, as appropriate from cross-system issues and lessons learned.
  • Defines and manages risks of technical approaches in terms of resources/tools and personnel needs across the assigned Sounding Rocket system.
  • Enforces the execution of company engineering design processes.
  • Manage the assigned Sounding Rocket system and subsystem selloff, installation and verification activities.
  • Test the assigned Sounding Rocket system and perform analyses to demonstrate to the customer that all acceptance criteria have been met.
  • Develop the planning, organization, implementation and monitoring of requirements management processes, tools, risk, issues, opportunity management and technology readiness assessment processes.
  • Address and resolve the assigned Sounding Rocket system technical issues.
  • Resolve cross-functional technical issues, non-conformances (NCs), Material Review Board (MRB), Failure Review Board (FRB) and Root Cause and Corrective Action (RCCA).
  • Lead failure analysis and root cause investigation using corrective action tools and techniques needed to effectively solve problems.
  • Fosters ethical conduct and personal integrity throughout Engineering to ensure the company’s ability to attract and retain customers in highly competitive environment.
  • Assists the engineer(s) with customer requirements, goals, and expectations.
  • Reports progress across the assigned Sounding Rocket system in meeting external/internal customer requirements, goals, and expectations as it relates to the technical roadmap.
  • Collaborate with government counterparts and supplier CEs and responsible engineers in support of program execution.
  • Supports business development and program management as the lead technical contact for proposal efforts relating to the assigned Sounding Rocket system.
  • Provide mentorship to assigned Sounding Rocket system engineer(s).
  • Assist in accomplishing human resource strategies by communicating and enforcing values, policies, and procedures; mentoring assigned Sounding Rocket system Engineer(s), providing input into the appraisal of employees, and reviewing/recognizing job contributions.

Other Job Functions

  • Other duties may be assigned.
  • Facilitates implementation of the technical objectives of the KDRSS Sounding Rocket system design strategy working closely with the Engineers to ensure the design approach and solutions are aligned with the system vision.
  • May be assigned to lead complex, multi-system, multi-discipline engineering projects outside of the assigned system.


  • Leads a team of Engineering & Technical Managers.
  • Achieves results through leading and mentoring Engineers 


This position is contingent upon contract award which is expected early 2022.

Questions and correspondence related to this opportunity should be directed to:



Experience and Skills


  • Excellent engineering and/or project management experience,
  • Strong technical knowledge of assigned Sounding Rocket systems and related support systems.
  • Knowledge of NASA & military operations.
  • Excellent communication and relationship skills with Senior Leadership, Program Management, Customers and engineering team members.
  • Proficiency with MS Office products, including MS Project for Integrated Master Schedule development and review.
  • Knowledge of compliance elements for ISO, EVMS and Export regulations.
  • Knowledge of finance, accounting and earned value management practices and procedures.
  • Strong understanding and experience with engineering fundamentals.
  • Strong presentation preparation and delivery skills with audiences such as Subcontractors, Prime and Government.
  • Strong technical writing skills to communicate internally or externally.
  • Demonstrated passion for customer satisfaction.
  • Ability to maintain sensitive and confidential information as required by government standards.
  • Ability to interact effectively with peers and supervisors.
  • Ability to interact appropriately with the public when necessary.
  • Ability to adhere to workplace rules.
  • Ability to effectively communicate professionally in writing or verbally with all levels of personnel.
  • Flexibility to handle changing requirements and prioritize in a dynamic environment.

 Additional Desirable Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Engineering management experience in the Sounding Rocket or Ballistic Missile industry.
  • Demonstrated ability to work cross-functionally to meet department and company goals and requirements for the assigned Sounding Rocket system.
  • Knowledge of KDRSS operations and procedures preferred.
  • Previous experience working with MATLAB software preferred.
  • May require up to 25% travel to support technical meetings, design reviews, other reviews & meetings and launch operations.


  • Bachelor’s degree (Master’s degree preferred) in an applicable engineering, technical, or science discipline. Master’s in Business Administration is desirable.
  • Minimum of twelve (12) years relevant technical experience with Engineering, Systems, Integration, Test, Software, and/or Engineering Project Leadership, preferably within the Sounding Rocket or Ballistic Missile industries, or minimum of eight (8) years with a master’s degree.
  • Knowledge of specific Wallops Flight Facility (WFF) and White Sands Missile Range (WSMR) operations a plus.
  • Experience with NASA or military rocket programs involving space domain topics is a plus.
  • May be required to obtain and maintain a U.S. security clearance at the appropriate level (requires U.S. Citizenship).


  • Office and/or manufacturing  environment
  • May work extended hours or weekends to to complete tasks and meet schedule
  • May work in manufacturing and/or field environments with potential exposure to uncontrolled climate conditions and potential exposure to noise, dust and hazardous chemicals
  • Ability to lift up to twenty-five (25) pounds
  • Ability to perform repetitive motion (computer work, phones)
  • Ability to stand and sit for long period of time

Job Benefits

  • Medical
  • Dental
  • Vision
  • Tax Savings Accounts (HSA / FSA)
  • Life Insurance
  • Short Term Disability
  • Long Term Disability
  • Employee Assistance Program
  • 401k
  • Employee Stock Purchase Plan
  • PTO
  • Education Assistance Program
  • Paid Holidays
Kratos Defense is an Equal Opportunity Affirmative Action Employer. EOE, Minorities, Females, Vet, Disabled, Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity or any other protected class.
All qualified job seekers are encouraged to apply. Kratos Defense is committed to America's veterans by providing opportunities for them to continue contributing after service to our nation. We also work to provide reasonable accommodations to individuals with disabilities.
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