In an industrial complex not far from BWI airport, FLIR Systems is building high tech combat surveillance systems with radar, video and heat sensing capabilities. The military buys their Kraken units to keep soldiers in remote outposts safe.
FLIR Chief Technology Officer David Cuillin said, "We've integrated and combined a whole bunch of sensor technologies...which are designed to detect bad guys attacking me, enemies attacking me...those sorts of things."
What the gizmos can't do is look into the future. So while the company is now profitable and planning to hire and expand, managers say the looming government sequestration is a threat that's holding them back.
Roger Wells, a general manager at FLIR, added, "We're concerned about the uncertainty, and that uncertainty is driving us to be conservative in our approach."
Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley used the company as a backdrop Wednesday to make dire warnings about the pain, he says, automatic cuts will inflict on companies like FLIR.
"Our own Department of Budget and Management estimates direct cuts of about 12,000 jobs. That's a third of our gains for an entire year," O'Malley explained.
FLIR Systems employee Dawn Adekoya says the sequestration talk is worrisome.
"I'm concerned I wont be able to meet the financial needs of my family. I have a daughter in college. I have a son who has medical needs," Adekoya said. "Our congress people need to do what they're getting paid for."