Shedding light on Department 22

Raytheon Intelligence & Space defines mission of its select, secretive unit

And, while they’d probably love to tell you what they’re working on right now, there’s a good chance it’s classified.

They are the team behind Department 22, a new innovation unit of Raytheon Intelligence & Space, a Raytheon Technologies business. And they’re growing, with plans to add hundreds more staff to meet the U.S. Department of Defense’s demand for technologies few have even imagined, much less attempted to create.

By virtue of the size of their organization, Department 22 embodies the essence of a “closely knit team” that has demonstrated its ability to be nimble and responsive to customers’ emerging needs.

“This is a small group of smart people,” said Paul Meyer, Department 22 president. “They know each other, they trust each other, and when they need to get something done, they rally around, much like a sports team, and therefore, by virtue of the definition, they're agile and operating at higher speed. It’s becoming second nature to us.”

The unit will focus on rapidly developing breakthrough military technologies aimed at asymmetric capabilities over near-peer adversaries. A few examples they noted included multi-function radio frequency, electro-optics and infrared systems; miniaturized derivatives of these sensors and systems; cross-domain sensing and data management capabilities; autonomous mission systems; and emerging technology applications for artificial intelligence, machine learning, quantum computing and synthetic biology.

“While I can’t say much about Department 22 – given the classified nature of the work – I can tell you we are actively engaged in delivering these disruptive capabilities to our customers across the DOD and other government agencies,” Meyer said. “The technologies we’re creating will give us a decisive edge over those who would seek to do our nation harm. To keep ahead of the threat, we need the best and brightest talent from across the country, so we are carefully exposing what it is we do.”

In August 2022, Meyer revealed more about Department 22’s operation that is headquartered in McKinney, Texas.

For those curious about Department 22’s name, it pays tribute to the unit’s roots when the predecessor to the former Raytheon Company was founded in 1922 by three bootstrap engineers in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

“We have established a new identity, charter, and upswell of pride and identity in the organization,” Meyer said. “The company has a rich history of innovation, such as taking a British invention called the magnetron tube, perfecting it and then mass-producing it to manufacture radars during World War II, turning it into a major business and a major capability for the nation and the world. The company then improved that technology by developing the first active electronically scanned array radar, which has been the steppingstone to our continuation of advanced RF product development.”

Meyer said that Raytheon’s work on early AESA radar was hidden in plain sight behind the “green door” – vaulted, top-secret areas or labs where groundbreaking classified work was conducted. Meyer said that Department 22 continues to carry on that legacy by pioneering the next generation of revolutionary mission system technologies.

“The mystique of Department 22 is a change in how Raytheon Technologies intends to enter the market, has generated a lot of interest from very smart people who want to work here...I am getting messages every day on LinkedIn from people interested in joining the team,” Meyer said. “And customers are very interested to hear how we're transforming our mission into one that provides higher fidelity individual and integrated mission system answers and solutions.”

The department’s main customer, according to Meyer, will be the Department of Defense with a lot of interaction with their R&D organizations like the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Air Force Research Laboratory and Office of Naval Research, to name a few.

“Unfortunately, much of what we’re doing will need to remain classified, but I can tell you that it’s making it exciting for the people who work here and our customers” 

Paul Meyer, Department 22 president

“We’re working on the white space – trying to find opportunities to meet the defined and undefined needs of our customers,” Meyer said. “Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall’s operational imperatives are a great example of that white space. We start with understanding the threat, listening to the desired end state, compose proposed problem statements with defined solution sets using existing and emerging technology in new ways or concept of operations to dramatically affect the desired outcome.”

Department 22 plans on leveraging its intellectual talent into advancing Raytheon’s core technologies, which include a suite of radio frequency devices, radars, electro-optical/infrared sensors and other technologies that include electronic warfare, electronic attack and communications, among others and investigating solutions to distributed sensing, data management, secure processing, cyber protection, secure connectivity, and efficient means of closing kill chains.

“We are designing higher performing sensors at lower size, weight and power, as well as cost, that are smaller, lighter, integrate multi-functionality, and offer better combat capability across the battlefield from space to undersea.”

While the projects Department 22 are working on are under lock and key behind the green door, they’re working on a short list of technologies they can talk about publicly.

“Unfortunately, much of what we’re doing will need to remain classified, but I can tell you that it’s making it exciting for the people who work here and our customers,” Meyer said.