Careers in Cleared Defense Contractors:
I receive a lot of emails from people who wonder how to get into the Cleared Defense Contractor field. Many are looking for a career change and are curious about what kind of education and experience is needed to work as a security specialist in the defense and contractor industry.
Industrial security is an outstanding field for someone with all ranges of experience to enter into. Some have been hired at an entry level job and have received promotions and additional responsibilities. Others have transferred full time to security after enjoying serving in an additional duty capacity. Career growth occurs as the contract and company expands or the employee takes on more responsibilities after hiring on with another company. Security managers can also move to higher level security positions as chief security officer or corporate security officer as experience meets opportunity.
Consultants are hired by a company to fill a need the organization is not prepared to meet. The consultants share office furniture, the water cooler and are hopefully made to feel as part of the team. In spite of being a well respected contributor to the cause, consultants do not always enjoy the same benefits of a regular employee. However, this difference should occur when working on classified contracts the consultant has been hire to perform on.
Simply stated, though a consultant is not a regular employee, the NISPOM considers them an employee of the company that they represent. The contractor is expected to maintain the consultant’s clearance and assign classified work as specified in a contract.
One thing that I like about security professional organizations like American Society of Industrial Security Professionals International (ASIS) is their emphasis on giving to the community. The group sponsors scholarships, provides security services and training opportunities designed to help non-profit or not for profit organizations. Churches, charities, and students benefit from the generosity of local and national security professionals. In my own community I began to look at examples of how security professionals could contribute in a meaningful way.
Volunteering: The best examples I can give are what we have done in my neighborhood. For one organization in particular, I arranged for an FBI agent to present a small presentation on cyber security. The audience consisted of interested parties representing the community and various demographics. We had teachers, children, baseball teams and senior citizens all together for breakfast and training on a fine Saturday morning. The presenter gave valuable information derived from real data. The audience was appreciative and provided positive comments. This, of course was a few years ago. We are thinking of presenting it again since social networks like Face book, LinkedIn, and MySpace are so prevalent.