With the US economy in the tank and no “green shoots” of recovery in sight, a lot of GI’s coming home from overseas deployments are transitioning from the front lines to the unemployment lines. The military provides outplacement services, but helping veterans find civilian jobs isn’t exactly the military’s core competency.

A lot of soldiers are re-enlisting to avoid entering the current civilian economy, some of the best and brightest operators are choosing a third option — contract security jobs. These jobs are similar to the jobs which the soldiers did in the Army or Marine Corps, but they are private-sector jobs with higher pay and better quarters.

These jobs may put the soldier right back into the war zone which he left, or they might put him into a more pacified nation like Qatar. With the rising profitability of piracy off the coast of Africa, many of these jobs are now based on ships.

Common tasks include convoy security, facility security, and executive protection. Specialist tasks cover everything from K-9 handling to IT security to training indigenous personnel. Management positions are fairly common, as many developing nations lack the capability to train senior security personnel.

Working Conditions

These jobs are in dangerous places and that always adds stress. However, this is the same stress faced by soldiers and contract security personnel are better paid and can quit any time they wish — although they will forfeit bonuses for contract completion. The fact that the team members can quit motivates the companies to treat them better than the military treats its personnel. These companies also can’t afford the bad press they would get from treating personnel poorly, while the military often seems perversely proud of the hardships they inflict upon the troops.

While conditions are usually better than you experienced in the military, these jobs almost always entail doing dangerous work under unpleasant conditions in places where almost everyone wants to emigrate from. You may be shot at and, as Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods discovered, you can’t expect support from the United States government.


  • Talk to current and former employees of any company to which you are entrusting your life to see how the company treats its employees.
  • Be prepared to negotiate to receive the best salary, you’re not in the military any more.
  • Get your duty station and preferably your position confirmed in writing before you sign anything.
  • If the contract completion bonus is too high a percentage of the total compensation, the company is having a retention problem. There is usually a reason for this.