John Hillen

George Mason University Costello College of Business Faculty Dr. John Hillen
Titles and Organizations

Adjunct Faculty, Management
Additional Roles: Chairman of the Center for Government Contracting Advisory Board; Professor of Practice

Contact Information

Phone: (703) 993-8657
Office Location: Enterprise Hall
Office Hours: By appointment


The Honorable Dr. John Hillen is a highly accomplished CEO in the government contracting space and a former high ranking U.S. government official. A decorated combat veteran and noted national security scholar, he has led four defense and intelligence technology firms in Northern Virginia, most recently as President and CEO of Sotera Defense Solutions - awarded the 2012 GovCon Contractor of the Year award in the large company category. Hillen took Sotera public in 2009, one of the few successful IPOs in the American economy that year. He was confirmed by the Senate as the US Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs in 2005 and served in that role until 2007.

In the MBA program at George Mason, Hillen teaches courses in leadership, strategy, international business strategy, and the general government contracting industry. In 2017-18 he was voted the Outstanding Professor in the MBA program by the students. A Forbes contributor, he also writes a column on leadership and strategy issues in Washington Technology magazine. The author of several books, his latest work is What Happens Now? Reinvent Yourself As A Leader Before Your Business Outruns You (Select Books, 2018).

A recognized industry leader in the technology contacting space, Hillen served in 2012 and 2013 as the chairman of the Professional Services Council and currently sits on the boards of SOS International LLC, Software AG Government Solutions Inc., Cygnacom Solutions Inc., IAP Global Services LLC, Govini, Inc., and Atkins Nuclear Solutions. He previously served as President of CGI Federal. He has led several other companies in both the government contracting and financial services space.

Hillen received the Fed100 award twice - in 2011 and 2017 - has been the subject of cover stories in Smart CEO Magazine, Government Computer News, and Washington Technology. An experienced director of both public and private companies, he has served on the boards of over half a dozen federal contracting firms.


  • PhD - International Relations, University of Oxford
  • MBA, Cornell University
  • MA - War Studies, King's College London
  • BA - Public Policy Studies and History, Duke University 

Research and Awards

Teaching Interests

  • Strategy
  • Leadership
  • International business strategy
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Business issues in national security
  • Government contracting industry

Media Clippings

  • Latest Book: What Happens Now? Reinvent Yourself As A Leader Before Your Business Outruns You, Select Books, NY, NY 2018
  • January 22, 2019 - Washington Technology
    Can the Shutdown Lead to Better Government
  • May 18, 2018 - Washington Technology 
    Not just a job: 7 tips for new grads with new jobs 
  • May 3, 2018 - Market Watch
    “Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg could use a chief philosophy officer,” in Marketwatch.
  • August 15, 2017 - Washington Technology
    How to lead a business through non-business challenges
  • May 1, 2017 - Washington Technology
    Trump and the GovCon Market
  • February 12, 2017 - Washington Technology
    2017 Fed 100 Winners Include John Hillen, Other GovCon Leaders
  • November 10, 2016 - Washington Technology
    New GMU center puts special focus on the GovCon industry
  • October 17, 2016 - Washington Technology
    What I've Learned Teaching Leadership During the 2016 Presidential Campaign Season
  • August 16, 2016 - Washington Technology
    Are you a strategic thinker or just a planner?
  • July 13, 2016 - Washington Technology
    Do you know who your most dangerous employee is?
  • June 06, 2016 - Washington Technology
    Leading change and the CEO's role as chief explaining officer
  • March 31, 2016 - Washington Technology
    Why climate matters when you make a career transition
  • February 16, 2016 - Washington Technology
    Why you need to know the source of your authority
  • January 27, 2016 - Washington Technology
    Leadership or Management?
  • January 22, 2015 - GovConExec
    2015 Wash100: The GovCon Sector’s Most Influential Voices
  • November 19, 2014 - Washington Technology
    Don't overlook boring business opportunities
  • November 19, 2014 - Washington Technology
    Are we headed for more budget uncertainty?
  • November 10, 2014 - Washington Technology
    GOP in charge: What changes, what doesn’t?
  • June 12, 2014 - WashingtonExec
    Dr. John Hillen Traces GovCon Market’s Maturation in Three Columns on Washington Technology
  • June 4, 2014 - Washington Technology
    Is the GovCon market a 'real' market?
  • May 27, 2014 - Washington Technology
    What stands in the way of a more mature GovCon market?
  • May 20, 2014 - Washington Technology
    How mature is the GovCon market?