Under-the-radar Cities Hold Opportunities for Security-cleared Professionals in Search of Jobs

Washington, D.C., and military stalwart cities such as San Diego and Colorado Springs typically make headlines as some of the more dominant hubs for American defense, homeland security and intelligence jobs. But security-cleared professionals looking for new positions or a soft landing as they transition out of the military will find a growing number of job opportunities from coast to coast in defense cities currently "flying under the radar," according to a new "Top Five" list compiled by ClearanceJobs.com, the largest online career networking resource for professionals with active federal security clearance.

From aerospace to IT, cybersecurity and cyberwarfare to growing fields like geospatial technology, these five "under the radar" regions stand out as less known employment hotbeds for cleared professionals in search of new positions and a salary likely approaching, and often exceeding, six figures.

"East Coast, West Coast, urban lifestyle or rural, government employee or private sector contractor, it can absolutely pay to think more broadly in terms of job opportunities for security-cleared professionals," said Evan Lesser, founder and Managing Director of ClearanceJobs.com. "While the more top-of-mind defense hotbeds still thrive, even in the face of budget cuts, we're seeing cities that don't have quite the same defense industry notability attracting big contracts and major defense employers. It's simple; these locations need security-cleared professionals and transitioning military talent."

Here are the regions on the "under the radar" list:

Detroit – The same commitment to technological innovation that has steered Detroit to the forefront of the automotive world has helped the region position itself as a major defense and homeland security hub. In 2010, Detroit was home to more than 100,000 defense jobs, while the state of Michigan saw over 11,000 defense contracts worth $4.4 billion. The Detroit region, including Macomb county, landed more than half those contracts.

Gulfport-Biloxi, Mississippi – While Hurricane Katrina significantly damaged more than half of Mississippi's counties, it had an unintended impact on the region: Defense spending targeted toward the state's rebuilding efforts helped Gulfport-Biloxi, home to Kessler Air Force Base and the U.S. Navy Seabees, become a power player in areas like cybersecurity and military construction management.

Omaha, Nebraska – The presence of the United States Strategic Command (STRATCOM) has created a target-rich environment for security-cleared professionals here, especially in the fields of nuclear deterrence, space and cybersecurity. Many defense industry employment giants have a presence in the Omaha region. Today, there are more than 65 defense contractors operating in the Omaha region. Offutt Air Force Base alone had a $2.9 billion economic impact in 2010.

Seattle – The region's defense industry, always a dominant aerospace force, has expanded well beyond that realm in recent years as Central Asia has become a military focal point. Engineering services, software development, gaming, cybersecurity, advanced materials and biofuels are all strong and growing sectors of today's Puget Sound defense industry.

Upstate New York's Mohawk Valley – Nestled between the Adirondack and the Catskill Mountains – and anchored by the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) – this defense and cyber-industry cluster just keeps growing: In 15 years of employment surveys, the Mohawk Valley cyber industry has never seen a decline in the number of employees located there.

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