Security Careers for Military Veterans
Military veterans transition seamlessly into virtually all types of careers and sectors, but as a U.S. Navy veteran and security training professional for North America’s leading physical security services company, I do believe that the physical security arena can be a match made in heaven for transitioning veterans.
The following are my observations on why military veterans are ideal recruits for the physical security sector and why military veterans should take a fresh look at the physical security sector for their post military career:
Talent for Technology
Look at the physical security world today and you will see security personnel experienced with robotics, video analytics, access control and biometric technologies. Military who are transitioning to civilian jobs have high demand, high-tech skills with sophisticated systems and software.
For example, Tactical Operations Centers (TOC) are command posts for the military featuring state-of-the-art technology with specially trained military personnel who guide members of an active tactical element during a mission. Similarly, the physical security sector has Monitoring and Response Centers (MaRC), managed by security professionals, which combine the monitoring of physical security systems with access control, video surveillance and intrusion detection devices with operational security platforms including critical incident management, threat awareness and situational intelligence.
Moreover, military veterans, who train and learn to survive the rigors of war, understand better than anyone that continual training is part of a successful mission whether it is in Afghanistan or at corporate headquarters for a Fortune 500 company. They actively seek out the learning opportunities and ongoing training available to them.
Advance through the Ranks
With “private security service revenues forecast to rise 3.2 percent annually to $70 billion annually in 2021,” the physical security sector is full of many opportunities for advancement. The security sector boasts many recruits who start their career as an officer and are promoted to site supervisor, division manager, vice president and even division president positions. Advancing in the physical security sector demands many of the qualities military veterans are known for, including their battle-tested real-world experience, trainability, adaptability, dependability and ability to deliver quality work under pressure. Physical security companies honor, recognize and applaud employees who seek to continually improve their skill set. It’s the proactive employees who seek continual improvement who reach out daily for the next rung on the education ladder.
Clear to Report
“Over 90 percent of those in the military have had extensive background checks for various levels of security clearances,” reports VetJobs.com. Military background checks are rigorous as many military positions involve classified information pertinent to national security. Even if the military job is entry-level and has no security clearance, the military will conduct a background check to ensure a candidate is “reliable, trustworthy, of good conduct and character, and of complete and unswerving loyalty to the United States.”
Physical security companies welcome the background check procedures that military veterans have already undergone, making a quick start date possible.
What is emotional intelligence and what is the relationship between emotional intelligence and transformational leadership? I look at emotional intelligence as the integration of one’s emotions to facilitate greater understanding and kinship with others. In the military, cultivating a keen sense of emotional intelligence can mean the difference between life and death on the battlefield. Military personnel ‘look under the hood’ to get a comprehensive understanding of the people they are serving with in order to build trust and comradeship. They know about their hobbies, marriage and family status. Think about the manager who jumps down the throat of an employee who shows up late one day at work versus the emotionally intelligent manager who recognizes that this tardy employee is dealing with an autistic child who is settling into a new school. The emotionally intelligent manager, capable of transformational leadership, has a 360-degree understanding of their employees and knows when to play soft vs. hardball.
Small Team Expertise
Military are experienced working with small teams, which are generally from three to eight members. Military examples of small teams include artillery teams, large aircraft crews, surveillance teams, sensor or warfare teams on warships, armored vehicle crews, infantry assault groups and others. In the security sector, small teams include account teams in service of a client, technology center personnel, administrative teams, etc. Military veterans bring to the corporate world the skills they have honed working with small, nimble teams that are expert at achieving their goals.
Teamwork is a vital lesson all military veterans learn. In the military, you live and work together, and are taught to support your team members and efficiently collaborate with the people around you. This is an invaluable skill in the security sector whether you are seeking an entry level or management position.
Veterans represent diversity and collaborative teamwork in action having served with people from diverse economic, ethnic and geographic backgrounds as well as race, religion and gender. According to Pew Research Center statistics released in 2017, racial and ethnic minority groups made up 40 percent of Defense Department active-duty military in 2015, up from 25 percent in 1990. There is no place for discrimination or intolerance in the military and security sectors. Both sectors understand the importance of treating every person fairly and promoting job performance.
No Military to Civilian Decoder Needed
Veterans need a “military to civilian decoder” system to help explain the significance of their military skills and how they translate to the general employment landscape. The physical security sector, however, understands the language of the military and do not generally require military responsibilities be coded into language that non-military can understand.
The physical security sector features a wide variety of jobs from entry level, middle management to senior positions. A retired veteran with a pension may look to the security sector for part-time or full-time entry-level work. Other former military, who are not eligible for retirement benefits, may secure mid-level appointments with the goal of climbing the ladder to the highest rungs. The flexibility and opportunity are unparalleled in the security sector.
Veterans generally enter the workforce with identifiable skills that can be transferred to the physical security world and are often skilled in technical trends pertinent to business and industry. And what they don’t know, they are eager to learn – making them receptive and ready hires in physical security environments that value ongoing learning and training.