How to Get a Job With an Overseas Military Contractor
Getting a job with an overseas military contractor – a private military contractor, or PMC – isn’t difficult, if you have the necessary blend of training and experience. It also helps if you’re in top-flight physical condition and have a spotless police record. Duties and locations depend on the organization you choose to work for and the skills you bring to the job.
Although the International Convention against the Recruitment, Use, Financing and Training of Mercenaries forbids its signatories the use of mercenaries, or from raising mercenary troops, the United States is not signatory to that treaty. Department of Defense instructions allow PMCs working under the auspices of a U.S. government contract to defend themselves, their client and their client’s assets, but a military commander must ensure the PMC does not participate in operations of a military nature, such as raids or pre-emptive strikes against opposing forces.
The largest U.S. PMC, DynCorp, provides security personnel to the government. DynCorp requires its security personnel to have at least two years’ experience in physical security, Department of Defense anti-terrorism and force protection, and interview and investigation techniques. An appropriate background includes service with the U.S. Army military police, U.S. Air Force Security Service or a military intelligence service. A high school diploma or its equivalent is required, but an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in political science or a security-related field is preferred. U.S. citizenship and a security clearance, or the ability to obtain a security clearance, are required for many assignments.
Security personnel must be able to wear appropriate personal protective equipment, such as helmets and Kevlar vests, during extended high-threat situations. They must be able to stand for extended periods and be unconcerned about poor living conditions in remote locations. Domestic or international travel, often on short notice, is required and a passport is necessary. If you meet the physical and experience requirements, PMCs generally require you to express interest in employment through email or by completing an online application.
Outlook and Pay
Details on the job outlook and pay for overseas military contractors are sketchy and anecdotal. As long as governments are willing to pay for private security contractors, though, the private citizen with military experience will profit. Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates referred to individual security contractors’ pay as “six-figure salaries.”