Individuals with military experience generally have a unique and well-developed skill set, including strategic thinking, organization and time management skills, leadership skills, team cooperation, and self-discipline. These abilities can help you realize success in nearly any profession or industry. One of these employment options is security contracting, which is a career path that many veterans and former military members follow after leaving the military.
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Security contractors, private military contractors, or defense contractors refer to military professionals who utilize their experience serving in the military to provide a wide range of services to government agencies and private organizations. The expertise and services offered by private military contractors are usually similar to those provided by government security, police forces, and the military, often on a smaller scale.
These services may include organizing armed escorts, training police forces and security personnel in service of governments, conducting counter-drug operations, fighting terrorism, organizing foreign armies, protecting oil rigs, serving as private bodyguards for key staff such as political dignitaries, aiding in drone missions, combating rebel forces, protection of company infrastructure, particularly in hostile territories, and coordinating the movement of supplies in areas of conflict.
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Private military contractors may also fill advisory roles, conduct technical services, perform intelligence gathering and implement maintenance and logistics. Overall, a security contracting job entails using your expertise to help government agencies and private organizations maintain their security. Although most individuals who pursue this career path are often veterans or former soldiers, some security contracting jobs may require no prior military experience.
There are numerous roles you can be employed as a security contractor.
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Ten notable private military contractor jobs:
1. Personal security detail
Your primary duty as part of personal security detail is taking charge of protecting a person or group of people.
Assignments in personal security can include high-profile persons with a considerable risk of attack. Depending on the project, personal security detail may consist of an entire security team or a single person. It may also coordinate law enforcement, military personnel, and private defense contractors.
2. Roving security
As roving security personnel, you are responsible for preventing attacks. While you are required to be prepared to handle combat, you are often stationed in strategic locations to create a visible security presence to deter potential attacks against civilians and military personnel. Roving security personnel may also function as public information officers, ensuring that basic security roles are adhered to.
3. Logistics coordinator
As a logistics coordinator, your duties include analyzing and coordinating supply chains and managing the acquisition, delivery, and distribution. Logistics coordinators working for the government are tasked with coordinating personnel and managing facilities and supplies. You may also be in charge of the transport and movement of troops and their supplies and equipment.
In the field of military contracting, as a medic, you will be responsible for providing trauma care and first aid during combat. You are tasked with providing ongoing medical care and assistance without a physician. Medics often move with the troops they serve and monitor their ongoing health. As a medic, you help save lives in the field, and if you have a medical background, such skills are very desirable in defence contracting.
5. Private investigator
As a private investigator working for the government, you will be responsible for collecting information regarding matters of national interest. Depending on your military or educational background, you may also work on technical surveillance counter-measures. The military work private investigators perform secretive operations. As such, the daily responsibilities of such personnel are usually largely unknown.
6. Background investigator
A background investor is tasked with performing and compiling professional and personal background checks for job candidates. The primary duties include interviewing co-workers, employers, candidate family members, and personal references. A background investigator prepares reports on the findings and will make recommendations according to a candidate’s background.
7. Security Manager
A security manager is tasked with ensuring the security and safety of an assigned location. This location can be a military base, a foreign embassy, or even a specific person. As a security manager, your primary duty is to develop and implement security and safety policies, procedures, and protocols. You may also be tasked with managing a security budget and ensuring security within that budget.
8. Training instructor job
The primary duty of a training instructor is to train veteran soldiers or recruits in a particular type of combat or specialized skillset that you have mastered. As a training instructor, you are expected to offer hands-on practice scenarios, performance-based exercises, and performance assessments. You are also tasked with helping trainees with exercises and course material as necessary.
9. IT Technician
IT technicians diagnose computer issues, monitor computer systems, install and maintain software, and test computer programs and equipment. As a security contractor, you will help the military and other government agencies keep their computer systems and networks operating efficiently. You are responsible for ensuring minimal downtime by quickly diagnosing and fixing technical issues. You may be required to work in remote or foreign places.
10. Government contractor
A government contractor works to supply government institutions, usually federal institutions, with essential services and goods. You can work in national defense, public infrastructure, and many other federal fields.
As a government contractor, your duties include negotiating agreements with institutions to source and deliver products based on contract terms. You can contract your skills to supply the federal government with services and goods necessary to complete intelligence and military operations. If you earned a military security clearance, you could utilize your expertise to support vital components of military defense, technology, and intelligence as a government contractor.
Salary Scale for Private Security
The private security contracting sector is a well-paying field, with the salaries being higher than many military positions.
The average salary of a private security contractor in the U.S. is about $90,000. The salaries can range from around $20,000 to upwards of $450,000. Private military/security firms have a better payout since they seek to attract highly qualified and skilled personnel who are well prepared to carry out potentially dangerous tasks.
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Details on overseas pay and the job outlook for defense contractors are often secret, anecdotal, or sketchy. Nonetheless, once hired, if you work as a private security contractor, you are guaranteed a competitive salary and benefits.
Depending on the private military company, you may have access to health and life insurance, paid time off, retirement plans, disability coverage, and flexible spending accounts.
Even though security contracting seems like a narrow and niche subset when considering the broader spectrum of jobs, the sector has many subsets and disciplines. However, opportunities in the private military contracting domain hinge heavily on experience and reputation.
Unlike many other job sectors, potential alone isn’t enough to land a job in this sector. There is a select group of candidates eligible to apply for security or defense contracting jobs.
Whether you seek an overseas private military job, corporate jobs in the private security sector, or domestic private security jobs, it’s vital to have a military, defense, or law enforcement background.
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You can also apply for security contracting jobs if you have satisfactory or honorable military discharge and a history of good conduct. Note that these requirements are all prerequisites for obtaining a Security Clearance.
A security clearance refers to a determination by government agencies that you are eligible for classified information access. Security contracting jobs usually require the acquisition of security clearance. Your application will often be rejected if you can’t obtain a security clearance. This is more so if the job is specifically within the private military subsector.
Some notable requirements to becoming a private military contractor are that individuals looking to apply for such jobs should know about. You must have earned a high school diploma or GED. This is the minimum educational requirement if you want to pursue a career in private military contracting.
Having a bachelor’s degree goes a long way, even though it isn’t a requirement. Having a beneficial bachelor’s degree in a field such as criminal justice will help elevate your qualifications and make you stand out amongst other candidates.
Many private military/security firms require their personnel to have at least three to five years of practical experience in the U.S military or government agencies such as the CIA and FBI. Experience is essential if you seek a career as a defense contractor. You can also gain relevant experience working in law enforcement at the local or state level.
You also need to apply for private security contractor licensure or registration in your state. Licensure requires the aforementioned relevant service experience and passing a private security contractor exam. You will also need to undergo a criminal background test and purchase liability insurance.
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It’s also important to note that as a private defense contractor, there are some skills that you should possess to enable you to carry out your duties effectively. Most importantly and not surprising, you should be physically fit. You to have maintained a high fitness level, including stamina and strength.
Attention to detail is another essential skill that’s vital for private security personnel. You should constantly analyze your surroundings, recognize threats, and respond accordingly. Your life and those of the people you are tasked with protecting depend on it. For instance, if you are posted as security details for key staff or officials, attention to detail will allow you to stop potential threats and reroute directions if necessary.
It’s also helpful to possess excellent leadership skills that enable you to the necessary actions when called upon. You should also have weaponry usage skills, meaning you should use a range of weapons safely and responsibly. This skill is vital since you may be required to use or teach other security personnel as the need arises. Leadership skills will be important for logistics coordination, security management, and training instructorship.
As a private military contractor, you also need to be good at interpersonal communication. Your job descriptions will entail you meeting different types of people, from high-ranking officials to civilians, with whom strong professional and personal bonds will be important. And left not forget critical thinking skills. You may encounter potentially dangerous scenarios during which you must think rationally and quickly about your course of action.
Private defense personnel also have to be calm under pressure. You may be exposed to dangerous and high-risk circumstances and environments. During these moments, you should be able to maintain composure so as to give clear directions and mitigate potential threats to the assets you are tasked with protecting.
The services of security contractors are used all over the world. However, the operations of private military contractors are crucial in areas with ongoing conflict. Security contractors are involved in armed guarding of military bases, foreign embassies, corporate firms, and installations/infrastructure in areas with conflicts.
For instance, there are thousands of private military companies in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria. Countries in the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, UAE, and Bahrain that have accommodated U.S. military bases utilize the services of security contractors to bolster security and guard key military personnel and installations.
Private military contractors are also involved in Somalia and the surrounding seas. This personnel provide security for shipping organizations and help deter pirates. Security contractors also operate in conflict zones in Africa, help with wildlife defense in poaching-prone zones, and help with drug-related conflict in countries including Columbia and Mexico.
There are plenty of defense contracting job opportunities overseas, as you can already tell. The most common security contracting jobs overseas include maritime security, combat medic or paramedic, high-threat security, training instructor, personal security detail, and infrastructure security. But how exactly do you get security contracts overseas?
If you meet the qualifications needed to be a security contractor, there are several places to find part-time and full-time private security contracting jobs abroad. One of the best places to start is sending applications to established and reputable private military/security companies that hire security contractors. Some well-known private security companies that look to hire military veterans include CACI, Academi/Blackwater, SOC USA, DynCorp Intl, G4S, Haliburton, Aegis, KBR, Armor Group, IDS, Northrop Gruman, Vectrus, GRS, Triple Canopy, Gavin de Becker & Associates, Constellis Company, and AKE Group.
Some private military firms won’t make their job openings public. Just submit your resume on the company website if this is the case. When the security company needs new applicants, they may contact you to schedule an interview. Other options for finding security contracting jobs overseas are connecting with a security recruitment agency and checking job search websites such as shooterjobs.com, joblist.com, glass door, and indeed.com.
Many private security firms publish job vacancies on online job portals. Both these pathways are effective since you have access to numerous job listings for multiple potential clients, all in one place. You can also get a job matched based on your area of interest, experience, and skillsets. You have to do your due diligence to ensure you are dealing with a legitimate private security company. Note that if you have served in U.S military special operations, you will be highly valued by private military companies abroad.
One useful tip for finding private military contracting jobs overseas is connecting with a local component of ex-military services. Organizations such as American Legion, VFW, The Mission Continues, Combined Arms, or any local veteran’s group may have vast connections to corporations. You can get great advice on ways to transition from the military to the private security industry.
You can also join professional networking sites. You can create profiles that include your military service experience and get to connect with industry leaders around the world. Growing your professional network can open doors to lucrative employment opportunities in the sector.
Once you have zeroed in on a viable security contractor job, the application process is the next vital step. Applying for a job in a field you are trying to get into can be daunting. This is more so for private security contracting since the discipline is filled with extraordinarily competitive and skilled candidates.
Whether you apply for a security contracting job directly with an employer or through a recruitment website/agency, you will need to have several documents ready. These documents include your resume and proof of your background information or qualifications. You must ensure you streamline your resume and state your relevant qualifications to stand out as a candidate. Some companies may require you to include a cover letter, although that is often not the case.
If the potential employee is impressed with your resume, they will contact you to schedule an interview and request additional materials. Depending on the security contracting job, you may be asked to pass a physical fitness test, pass a security clearance or background check, answer short essay questions, and supply official copies of military discharge forms or certificates, and references.
All in all, a big part of the process of transitioning back to civilian life after your time in the military is finding employment opportunities that value the transferable skills you acquired during service. As a veteran or retired military personnel, there are various viable options for you to further your career, and one of these options is venturing into the well-paying and fulfilling private military/security contracting sector.
Getting Defence Contracting Jobs Overseas // Security Contracting Jobs