Systems Engineer III (Emerging Technologies)

800 Maine Ave SW, Washington, DC 20024, USA ● CNA, 3003 Washington Blvd, Arlington, Virginia, United States of America ● Virtual Req #654
Wednesday, June 12, 2024


CNA is seeking a Systems Engineer for our Center for Enterprise Systems Modernization within the Institute for Public Research. As the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is working to balance the needs of increased air traffic demand, integration of new entrants such as uncrewed aircraft systems (UAS, or drones), air taxis and commercial space launches, and application of emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML), they look to CNA to tackle their most complex challenges through data-driven analyses that produces actionable recommendations. CNA provides insights that combines our knowledge of advanced technologies, modern architectures, and cybersecurity best practices with a deep understanding of the mission to guide implementation. You can join a strong team delivering high impact solutions to modernize FAA systems and operations to meet the needs of the face-paced air traffic control environment.

This is an opportunity to advance the mission of the FAA and related aviation stakeholders to enhance the delivery of aviation services for the public good. The Systems Engineer will be a key team member, eliciting stakeholder needs and generating requirements, developing operational concepts and use cases, researching emerging technologies and state of the art practices, researching the application of AI/ML for future concepts, designing analyses, modeling, and simulations, and evaluating the application and trade-offs of various technologies. This is all while applying an understanding of impacts and considerations on the national airspace system. The role will contribute recommendations based on recent advances, best practices, and gaps to implement modern systems and technologies that advance the future of aviation while continuing to ensure its safety and security.

CNA fosters an inclusive culture that values diverse backgrounds and perspectives. Our flexible and engaging work environment encourages iterative and creative collaboration at every stage of the problem-solving process. Our employees are committed to helping clients develop effective solutions to better manage their programs through scientific, data-driven approaches. We are looking for creative and innovative individuals to help carry out our mission.


  1. Conducts the definition and development of system requirements and documentation of the requirements in detailed specifications from which programs will be developed and/or procured, and from which hardware will be developed and/or procured. Manages the requirements change management process.
  2. Formulates, defines, validates, and documents system scope and objectives, user requirements or stories, system use cases, business process workflows, enterprise architectures, system specifications and design based on user needs and specifications, research, and fact-finding.
  3. Conducts stakeholder engagement sessions to elicit user needs, business architectures, processes, and gaps. Works with stakeholders to understand, characterize, model, analyze, and validate current and future business processes, data requirements, information flows, organizational relationships, and/or operational resources.
  4. Applies standard research methodologies to gather, process, document, and analyze data. Uses relevant database software to effectively organize and present data and generate reports.
  5. Conducts projects or pieces of larger projects. Maintains an understanding of project budgeting and financial tracking over the project lifecycle.
  6. Devises or modifies specifications and procedures including: system design, requirements, verification, systems performance and capacity.
  7. Designs conceptual and logical data models to be used in systems using UML and entity Relationship diagrams. Develops data dictionaries, schemas, data flows, and ontologies.
  8. Develops information management strategies and governance aligned with organizational mission needs.
  9. Analyzes and revises existing system interfaces, dependencies and documentation as necessary. Recommends changes and solutions for software and system problems and deficiencies.
  10. Conducts independent technical investigations in systems design or other systems engineering topics.
  11. Works with software developers to provide guidance on development issues. Ensures user needs are accurately represented to system designers and developers.
  12. Leads development of independent validation and verification plans and scenarios, following industry standards and traceability to user/system requirements.
  13. Develops key relationships with the division or team's major client/sponsors.
  14. Drafts reports, briefings, or other project deliverables. 

Note: A technical writing sample is required as part of your application.


  1. Education: Bachelor's degree in computer science, mathematics, operations research, or a related engineering field or equivalent combination of education and work experience.
  2. Experience: Minimum of 5 years relevant work experience performing duties similar to those above in a Government contract environment or 7 years of generally related experience. Experience supporting Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) preferred.
  3. Skills:
    • Ability to participate in a wide variety of systems engineering disciplines including, but not limited to, safety risk management, reliability/maintainability/availability engineering, information systems security, risk management practices, earned value management, investment analysis, independent validation and verification, business analysis, and project definition, management, and control.
    • Ability to construct effective briefings using MS PowerPoint and advanced skills with MS Word and Excel and other standard software packages.
    • Ability to communicate information concisely, precisely, and in a grammatically correct manner in both oral and written communication.
    • Ability to present and summarize data effectively.
    • Exhibit a positive attitude in interactions with colleagues, clients/sponsors, and staff.
    • Strong customer and client relations management skills supportive of success in attaining research and engineering objectives in an environment that include a wide variety of stakeholders with differing viewpoints and approaches to solving problems.
    • Knowledge of and experience with system and software design processes, tools and techniques. Knowledge of and experience with system development and testing documentation and standards. Knowledge of and experience with data and information management analysis techniques and best practices.
    • Ability to work with and provide directions to others; Ability to lead technical project teams.
    • Excellent writing and verbal communication skills.
    • Ability to make significant contributions to projects/analyses.
    • Strong analytic curiosity/ creativity; Strong critical thinking skills.
    • Knowledge of FAA and international aviation domain, information technology, and artificial intelligence preferred.
    • Advanced knowledge of AI and ML techniques, applications, and considerations preferred.
  4. Other: Ability to obtain and maintain security clearance is required. 

A technical writing sample is required as part of your application. 

CNA follows a broad band compensation framework that considers a range of criteria in making compensation decisions including but not limited to skill sets; experience; degree, certifications, other business and organizational needs. Compensation decisions are dependent on the facts and circumstances of each case. A reasonable estimate of the current range is $100K – $130K Please visit the following link for benefits information.

***Voluntary (but highly desired) document***
Please include a personal statement as part of your application. A personal statement is a chance for us to get to know you. The statement is your opportunity to share your goals, interests, influences and show us that you will be a valuable asset to our organization. Please click here for personal statement guidelines – Click here. Personal statements will not be used as an elimination criteria for this position. They will only be used to enhance a candidate’s application

CNA is committed to providing equal employment opportunities (EEO) to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, religion, color, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity, and sexual orientation), parental status, national origin, age, disability, family medical history or genetic information, political affiliation, military service and protected veterans, or other non-merit based factors. In addition to federal legal requirements, CNA complies with applicable state and local laws governing nondiscrimination in employment in every location in which the company has facilities. These protections extend to all terms and conditions of employment, including recruiting and hiring practices, promotion, termination, layoff, recall, transfer, leaves of absence, compensation, and training and career development programs. For more information about EEO protections, please view the EEO is the law posters here: "EEO is the Law" Poster""EEO Poster Supplement". The pay transparency policy is available here: Pay Transparency Nondiscrimination Poster. To be considered for hire, all individuals applying for positions with CNA are subject to a background investigation. For positions requiring access to classified information, U.S. citizenship is required. Individuals will also be subject to an additional government background investigation, and continued employment eligibility is contingent upon the ability to obtain and maintain an active security clearance.

Other details

  • Job Family Systems/Software Engineering
  • Job Function Career Path II - Expert & Research Specialist
  • Pay Type Salary
Location on Google Maps
  • 800 Maine Ave SW, Washington, DC 20024, USA
  • CNA, 3003 Washington Blvd, Arlington, Virginia, United States of America
  • Virtual