Missile Defense Agency

U.S Department of Defense

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Working for the Missile Defense Agency




Working for the Missile Defense Agency

What does the MDA do?

The U.S. Missile Defense Agency is a Department of Defense research, development and test agency with one of the most complex and challenging missions in our country’s history – protecting the United States from ballistic missile attack.

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Where is the MDA’s headquarters?

MDA’s headquarters is located at Fort Belvoir, Va.

Why is the MDA located in Huntsville, Ala.?

MDA recently completed a move of the major workforce to Redstone Arsenal as part of the Base Relocation and Consolidation (BRAC) plan, the MDA is now located in the new Von Braun Complex in Huntsville.

To make the most of your scientific, engineering or business career, there’s no better place to be than Huntsville, Ala. Beginning with the advent of the U.S. space program in the mid-1950s, the Huntsville community has been rooted in research and technology development. Huntsville/Madison County is known as Rocket City, USA, home to NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center and the U.S. Army’s Redstone Arsenal.

Nearly every major domestic and international aerospace corporation is represented, with over 90 companies employing more than 11,000 people in the local aerospace industry. Many more businesses support the growing biotech and high-technology arenas. An excellent, informative, website containing accurate information on area industry, education, recreation and residential options for the Huntsville, Ala. area may be accessed at www.asmartplace.com.

We also have opportunities in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, Colorado Springs, Colo., Fort Greely, Alaska and other locations.

What kind of work environment does the MDA have?

The MDA has planned its workplace to facilitate specialized as well as inter-disciplinary collaboration for each team member, who simultaneously has all experts in his or her field co-located in immediate proximity (e.g., a floor of the Von Braun II complex). Similarly, specialists in other areas have a comparable arrangement nearby. This kind of collegial environment stimulates information sharing on projects and within a field of expertise. This set-up encourages a more efficient collaboration in a learning organization that continues to build an individual and collective knowledge base. For example, our Knowledge Centers can ensure that team members have the requisite information when they need it.

How many people work for MDA?

The MDA “team” consists of civilian, military and contract professionals totaling nearly 8,800 highly-trained members.

Do I need to be a US citizen to work for the Missile Defense Agency?

Yes. All MDA jobs require that you be a U.S. citizen.

Do I need to have a security clearance to work at the MDA?

Yes, all employees must have a security clearance to work at the MDA. If you do not currently hold a clearance, you can still apply and the MDA can award an interim security clearance while your background investigation is underway.

I am in the military. Can I transfer to MDA to fulfill my obligation?

No, you will need to fulfill your career path within your branch. If you are interested in a position with MDA, please visit our Veteran Careers page.

What pay scale does MDA follow?

Civilians are covered by the Department of Defense Acquisition Demonstration Project (AcqDemo); the General Schedule (GS), and the Defense Civilian Intelligence Personnel System (DCIPS).

What are some of the benefits the MDA offers employees?

Everything you’ve heard about federal employment benefits is true. They are among the best in the world, and as competitive as, or better than, what is offered by the private sector. Equally important, the National Security Personnel System based on “pay for performance” assures that you will receive appropriate monetary compensation related to your level of contribution, not just years of service.

The MDA offers many benefits besides the chance to earn an outstanding salary. Learn more on our Benefits page.

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If I don't have a degree, will experience count?

Yes, experience does count in the qualifications. However, professional positions i.e., engineers and scientists, require a degree, so if you do not have a 4-year degree, you would not qualify.

What if I used drugs or still use drugs; will this disqualify me from employment?

To be considered suitable for employment with the MDA, applicants must generally not have used illegal drugs within the last 12 months. The issue of illegal drug use prior to 12 months ago is carefully evaluated during the medical and security processing. All positions require a drug test before hire.



What types of jobs do you have at the MDA?

No matter where you are in your career, MDA could have exactly the right opportunity for you. We are looking for recent graduates and experienced professionals in the following areas:


From aerospace and information technology, to electrical, chemical and mechanical engineering, your skills and background can become a vital element in the development of our integrated defense system.

Contracts Management

The MDA fulfills our mission through relationships with industry partners. You can lead the team that contracts with industry, for the goods and services the Agency needs. You will deal with individuals at different levels within the Agency, as well as with external customers and clients.

Accounting, Budgeting, Business Management

You will control the acquisition process and the management of contracted vendors. Never before has such a diverse system and partnership between government and business come together in this way..

Physical Sciences

Be at the nucleus of research and discovery, and work within a broad variety of disciplines ranging from aerospace studies to chemical and materials science.

Information Management & Technology

Drive the support of all missile defense elements within the integrated system. You will be at the heart of cyber security and the Command, Control & Communications that ties all system elements together.

Program Management

Keep the promise of missile defense by coordinating the facets of a program or project by setting goals and establishing and assuring your team meets critical milestones at significant points in the life of a program or project.

Logistics Management

You will drive the “when and how” of fielding continuously developing systems, supporting acquisitions, operations, tests, trials and schedule.

Management Analysis

Take control of operational data, deriving metrics-based solutions to drive ever increasing efficiencies in the operation of all missile defense business units as they are managed individually and collectively.

How do I decide if I am qualified for a specific MDA job?

Find the OPM Series number as listed in the announcement, i.e. 0801 for General Engineer, or 0201 for Human Resources Specialist. Using an internet search engine, search: "Minimum qualifications OPM Series 0801" (or 0201). Read the OPM information provided and you can determine if you are qualified to apply to a position based on the results of your search.

How do I apply for an MDA job?

Applying for a position with the MDA is different than other government or private sector application processes. For starters, make sure you have all the proper materials at hand when you begin the application and complete all the required steps fully.

When applying online from the MDA website, you will be forwarded to www.USAJobs.gov, the official job site of the United States federal government. You will make a user account by registering, and then you must complete and submit your application. The application information you submit will be forwarded to the Missile Defense Agency.

To follow up on positions you have applied for you can contact the individual identified in the "Agency Contact Info" under the "How to Apply" tab on the original job announcement.

How do I follow up on an application if I do not have the original job announcement?

If you do not have the original job announcement, you can "view" closed announcements to which you have applied by following these steps:

  1. Open www.USAJobs.gov website.
  2. Sign in to your account.
  3. Go to the "Application Status" section of your account.
  4. Choose to view the announcement by clicking on the announcement. (The text response will state that the position has "closed" but you may view the announcement.)
  5. Click "view" to open it fully.
  6. At the bottom of the page, you will find the "Agency Contact Info" to be used for questions concerning each particular announcement.
I submitted my resume online. Should I follow up with a paper copy?

No, the online resume is sufficient.

My education and/or work experience has changed (significantly) since I applied, should I apply again?

Be sure your resume housed on USAJobs and/or the USA Staffing Application Manager is always up to date.

If you need to update your information on USAJobs:

  1. Log into your account on the appropriate system.
  2. Click "Resumes" on the navigation bar near the top of the page.
  3. Click "Edit" below your Resume Headline.
  4. Click "Candidate Info" on the list of Resume Sections.
  5. Update information that you previously entered.
  6. Click Save.

For the USA Staffing Application Manager you upload a resume when you apply, but you should keep your profile up-to-date.

The vacancy announcement that you originally responded to is most likely closed. Once your information is up-to-date, you can certainly visit our search jobs page and apply to an open position suitable for your qualifications.

I am a US citizen but I currently work/live overseas. How can I apply?

Applications for most MDA positions are accepted through our website. U.S. citizenship is required.


I am a student considering a future career at the MDA. What courses should I take, or what major should I choose?

Courses: Mathematics, Engineering, Science, Chemistry, Physics, Business Administration, Accounting and Finance.

Majors: Mathematics, Engineering, Science, Chemistry, Physics, Business Administration

What does CDP stand for?
Career Development Program (CDP)

CDP is an entry-level program for recent college graduates. It’s a fully paid, three-year developmental program that allows you to experience the variety of challenges taking place within the MDA, and may lead to an offer of a permanent position. In addition to full pay and training, you will receive all the benefits that federal employees enjoy. Plus you will acquire valuable technical and work-related skills through seminars, formal classroom and on-the-job training.

Does the MDA offer summer employment to college students?

Currently MDA does not offer summer jobs for college students. College students who are interested in internships or student programs similar to the popular government wide “Pathways” program should look on USAJobs for opportunities at other federal agencies.