Principal Director - National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA)

The Aerospace Corporation
Albuquerque, NM
Added: April 15, 2024
The Aerospace Corporation is the trusted partner to the nation’s space programs, solving the hardest problems and providing unmatched technical expertise. As the operator of a federally funded research and development center (FFRDC), we are broadly engaged across all aspects of space— delivering innovative solutions that span satellite, launch, ground, and cyber systems for defense, civil and commercial customers. When you join our team, you’ll be part of a special collection of problem solvers, thought leaders, and innovators. Join us and take your place in space.

At Aerospace, we are committed to providing an inclusive and diverse workplace for all employees to share in our common passion and aspiration – to carry out a mission much bigger than ourselves.

Grow your career internally at Aerospace. Our best talent comes from within!

Is there anything more exciting than surrounding yourself with the smartest people on the planet who are shaping the future of space? We don’t think so.

The Aerospace Corporation is the trusted partner to the nation’s space programs, solving the hardest problems, and providing unmatched technical expertise. As a federally funded research and development center (FFRDC), we are engaged across the space enterprise — delivering innovative solutions that span satellite, launch, ground and cyber systems for defense, intelligence, civil, and commercial customers. With over 3,000 scientists and engineers, Aerospace addresses complex problems across the enterprise through agility, innovation, and objective technical leadership.

To enable this, The Aerospace Corporation is focusing on critical technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, photonics, optical communications, additive manufacturing, electric propulsion, as well as new tools in modeling, simulation, cloud computing, and digital engineering. We even design and test these technologies in our advanced labs. Indeed, did you know that Aerospace builds and operates the world’s largest constellation of experimental cubesats? These capabilities are opening a new generation of resilient, affordable constellation of satellites and advanced ground systems that meet the needs of warfighters, explorers, and key decision makers.

For more information, visit and be sure to follow us on Twitter @AerospaceCorp

The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) within the U.S. Department of Energy is responsible for enhancing national security through the military application of nuclear science. The NNSA maintains and enhances the safety, security, reliability and performance of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile without nuclear testing; works to reduce global danger from weapons of mass destruction; provides the U.S. Navy with safe and effective nuclear propulsion; and responds to nuclear and radiological emergencies in the U.S. and abroad.

Aerospace provides in-line systems engineering support on key weapon system interfaces and working groups for nuclear weapon modernization programs, independent technical and programmatic assessments of complex systems and architectures, the development of systems engineering processes and practices, documentation, reporting and communication methods, development of risk management and requirements development processes, and performing independent technical and programmatic studies and reviews to inform decision makers.

As a Principal Director in the Civil Systems Group you will be part of an experienced team of scientists, engineers and technical managers working together to advance the mission area of the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) Office of Defense Programs (DP). Specifically, you will collaborate closely with the Aerospace NNSA Programs Director and the rest of the NNSA management team to lead and manage Aerospace independent systems engineering teams, provide technical support to various DP programs, develop systems engineering processes and practices, and leverage Aerospace’s vast network of subject matter experts to bring novel solutions to our Nation’s nuclear deterrence missions. You will bring to bear your own curiosity, and the strengths of your team to understand complex problems and develop solutions. Additionally, your passions for identifying new opportunities and advancing the careers and experiences of your team demonstrate your commitment to both the customer and your people.

Work Location

This is a hybrid position located in Albuquerque, NM.

What You’ll Be Doing

  • Lead and manage the DP Sub-Line-of-Business area to manage Aerospace independent systems engineering team and technical support to the NNSA Defense Programs.
  • Provide Sr. leadership to a geographically distributed Aerospace team located in Albuquerque NM, Washington DC, Hill AFB, Barksdale AFB, Kansas City and El Segundo, CA.
  • Maintain a strong, customer-facing relationship; work with customers at the NNSA Associate Deputy Administrator level, and counterparts within the NNSA national laboratories and production sites, as well as other government stakeholders including the DOD.
  • Develop and execute on strategic plans for growth, through adding value to NNSA through the application of technical and analytical capabilities, subject matter expertise and programmatic knowledge.
  • Provide leadership for team members, setting expectations and direction, mentoring, providing critical feedback, succession planning, and coaching aimed at developing an agile management team and technical staff.
  • Position Aerospace in the highest value functions across the customer portfolio, translate customer technical operating plans into technical priorities, manage budget constraints, plan and execute staffing as required.
  • Support efforts to coordinate across facilities, security, enterprise information technology in support of regional office expansions, development of specialized workspace and processing facilities.
  • Engage with sponsor to identify new opportunities. Collaborate with the Aerospace Business Development team to realize those opportunities. Represent the Aerospace corporation to customers at all working and management levels.

Minimum Requirements

What You Need to be Successful

  • Bachelor’s degree in science or engineering or equivalent is required.
  • 12 years of progressively demonstrated management and technical experience Twelve or more years of progressively responsible technical, managerial and systems engineering experience
  • Knowledge of nuclear weapons complex, the NNSA, current nuclear weapons stockpile and NNSA Defense Programs; familiarity and experience working with the National Laboratories and NNSA sites.
  • Demonstrated networking, teaming, management, and leadership skills within a program office or matrixed technical organization, building and leading project teams, formulating task plans, ensuring product quality and effective interactions with customers.
  • Strong business and financial acumen with constructive and proactive methods for problem solving. Ability to make time-critical mission success decisions with incomplete data.
  • Demonstrated technical credibility across a broad set of systems engineering topics, and a deep understanding of engineering sophisticated systems
  • Demonstrated experience working across organizations and leading teams of technical experts and support staff; success as a relationship builder, complex problem solver, deep critical thinker, mentor, and coach.
  • Experience working with U.S. government agencies such as DOE/NNSA/DP, DOD, or DOS
  • Demonstrated strong interpersonal, organizational, political, written and oral communication skills
  • Ability to travel up to 25% to other customer and Aerospace locations.
  • This position requires a current top secret security clearance.

How You Can Stand Out

It would be impressive if you have one or more of these:

  • Advanced graduate technical and/or business degree
  • Knowledge of the Aerospace Engineering and Technology Group (ETG) skills and capabilities
  • Proven ability to create solutions to address national security needs
  • Proven ability to think strategically and provide enterprise level solutions
  • Currently hold or qualified for active Q or TS clearance with SCI access
  • Experience working with FFRDCs

Cultural Attributes and Leadership Competencies

Lead from the Front

Operates Strategically

  • Demonstrates ability to develop and execute a strategy
  • Demonstrates understanding of the external landscape and brings insights to inform company, group and customer strategies
  • Anticipates and generates solutions ahead of need

Leads Change

  • Leads and aligns people and teams to achieve change objectives
  • Proactively anticipates and mitigates resistance to change
  • Effectively influences multiple stakeholders whose interests are not always aligned

Collaborate Across the Enterprise

Engages with Impact

  • Makes decisions that consider enterprise priorities and business impact
  • Builds trust across all levels of the organization and with external customers and partners
  • Develops and prepares top talent for leadership positions ahead of need

Operate with Agility and Speed

Fosters Innovation

  • Applies diverse experiences and actively invites different perspectives and out-of-the-box ideas
  • Builds high performing, diverse and change resilient teams
  • Encourages experimentation and learning from mistakes

Delivers Results

  • Makes decisions with an enterprise mindset that considers strategic, operational and financial factors

Leadership Competencies

Our leadership philosophy is simple: every employee, regardless of level and role, can demonstrate leadership. At Aerospace, our commitment is our people. To cultivate our talent and ensure that we have a strong pipeline of future leaders, we want individuals who:

  • Operate Strategically
  • Lead Change
  • Engage with Impact
  • Foster Innovation
  • Deliver Results

Ways We Reward Our Employees

During your interview process, our team will provide details of our industry-leading benefits.

Benefits vary and are applicable based on Job Type. A few highlights include:

  • Comprehensive health care and wellness plans
  • Paid holidays, sick time, and vacation
  • Standard and alternate work schedules, including telework options
  • 401(k) Plan — Employees receive a total company-paid benefit of 8%, 10%, or 12% of eligible compensation based on years of service and matching contributions; employees are immediately eligible and vested in the plan upon hire
  • Flexible spending accounts
  • Variable pay program for exceptional contributions
  • Relocation assistance
  • Professional growth and development programs to help advance your career
  • Education assistance programs
  • An inclusive work environment built on teamwork, flexibility, and respect

We are all unique, from diverse backgrounds and all walks of life, yet one thing bonds all of us to each other—the belief that we can make a difference. This core belief empowers us to do our best work at The Aerospace Corporation.

Equal Opportunity Commitment

The Aerospace Corporation is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer. We believe that a diverse workforce creates an environment in which unique ideas are developed and differing perspectives are valued, producing superior customer solutions. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment and will not be discriminated against on the basis of race, age, sex (including pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions), sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or expression, color, religion, genetic information, marital status, ancestry, national origin, protected veteran status, physical disability, medical condition, mental disability, or disability status and any other characteristic protected by state or federal law. If you’re an individual with a disability or a disabled veteran who needs assistance using our online job search and application tools or need reasonable accommodation to complete the job application process, please contact us by phone at 310.336.5432 or by email at You can also review Know Your Rights: Workplace Discrimination is Illegal, as well as the Pay Transparency Policy Statement.