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-   -   How to become an IC in the international PSD/FP business. (http://www.socnet.com/showthread.php?t=52042)

Silverbullet 28 August 2005 10:52

How to become an IC in the international PSD/FP business.
 
This thread is for the discussion of:

- entry level requirements (experience/skill sets)

-working internationally

-how to network/apply for positions

-career progression/professional development

It is not for:

-asking for work

-argueing over which company is better than the other

-discussion about suit and tie EP work

If you have not worked abroad in PSD/Force Protection or a high level training gig, you should only be asking questions.

All experienced members of this site are free to post information

SOTB 28 August 2005 11:17

Cool thread. Let me be one of the first to break it in.

For those looking to break out of the "box" (sandbox), I suggest realizing that in MOST places where you will pick up a truly civvie gig -- you won't be armed. You won't have QRFs. You won't have armor (neither personal or vehicular). You won't even have multiple cars for your movements. You WILL have your brain.

I am currently in an amusing situation where previous/current thought patterns of my predecessors, were that you could not perform PSD without "X" number of vehicles, people, and of course -- guns. That type of thinking is not only WRONG, but indicative of the knuckle-dragging saturation of the current PSD market.

Not all of your clients can or are willing to pay for 6 heavily-armed guys to take them to a bank meeting in a shithole city where firefights are more than an occasional event or where 5-star restaurants are often the site of violent crime (ie, walk up to the table and demand money/Rolex -- shoot if uncooperative).

If you can't get comfortable with the idea of being able to move your client through these situations without his ever being caught up in those problems -- and doing this without a little bird hovering above you, then truthfully, I don't see you being able to grow out of working the gigs where the highest priority is what color you can get the newest M4 mag pouches....

Tactical Keld 28 August 2005 13:29

I will give my thoughts as Im a Non-US Non-SOF type thats made it into the PSD business in Iraq.

When I found out what I wanted to do with my life after the military, I started researching and planning what I needed to bring to the table if I was going to make it into the business and hit the ground running.

I think the foundation for a good PSD type is a long solid military background with several operational deployments.
Now dont get me wrong, Im not saying that cops arent suited for it, but military types thats been deployed around the world a couple of times, deal better with lower living standards and amenities than civy types in my humble opinion.
Hey we are used to a foxhole and a poncho. Now we got a cramped three bed trailer, cool...:D
But I've met bad PSD types that was ex-military, and good PSD types that was ex-cops, so maybe my reasoning on this isnt worth anything after all.

On with it: In my humble opinion, with a long solid military background comes maturity. Being able to function calmly in pressured situations, not freaking out and being out of your element. Professionalism.

Then there are the protective service aspects of the job.
Know and be proficient in Close Protection TTP's.
You must be able to drive cars defensively and offensively.
Shoot pretty damn good with all weapons you are handed.
Know and be proficient in Tactical Casualty Combat Care.

Now, if you like me, havent spent any time in a military unit, that has been tasked with providing protective services, other than convoy escort and the occasional outer perimeter on a VIP visit, then you need to take some training in some of these subjects. This is not the job or environment, where you should go in blind and get your knowledge from on the job training. You need to be proficient at the basic principles when you touch down at BIAP.

So, I went to the US and took a couple of courses involving driving techniques and Close Protection, among other things.
I went to the US, because it was my impression that mostly US companies were involved with the contracting side, so training by US standards was a sound idea, so the recruiters had a working knowledge of what I had learnt and was able to put me in a box with others. So basically moving away from being an unknown variable to a more familiar one.

Now, I like to think those courses gave me the knowledge I needed to do the job on an entry level. But that isnt enough if you also want to get a job.
There are plenty of capable people out there that have the relevant training and skills, but cant get a job because they dont know anyone.
Networking is proberbly the most important aspect of landing your jobs.
I know of noone that has done a CV shotgunning that has landed a job. They all knew someone. So networking is very important and that leads me back to the courses for this field of work.
The courses will give you the knowledge to do the job, the other people on the course that you meet and network with are the people that will hopefully give you a job (Unless you are attending a decidedly selection course)
At one of the course I did, I met some people and apparently I didnt make to much of an ass out of myself, so when I was applying for my first gig, the recruiter knew one of the guys I trained with, and asked him if I was ok or not. Long story short, I got hired and was underway within a week.
I got my first job, because I networked on the courses, and that payed off.

Now my first gig was a fucked up gig, too much to go into, but I kept out of the infighting that went on and just did my job and I like to think acted maturely and professionally and when an opportunity came to go to a better company with better pay, I went for it.

After a while that gig ran dry and I got onto my third company (Where I am now, and hopefully will be for a very long time) by networking too.
Actually the guy that got me in here, met me once....The same day I was told, I was being put on a plane, the day after.
I met him before I got that message, but told him afterwards that I just lost my job. He got me in touch with his PM and I got hired as an emergency replacement for a guy that just left, initially for 5 weeks. After a couple of weeks I was asked if I wanted to stay permanently and since its a good company and Im with good people and the pay is pretty good too, I said "Ahh...Let me think about it....Hell, yeah!" :D


Some other points: In this business I have met an astounding number of people who just wait for an opportunity to backstab everyone else, just to make themselves look good or get to a higher position (More money).
Dont be like those people. Hey man, Im just happy to be here at all....Be professional, do your job, dont kiss ass, dont lie and talk shit about other people, be proficient at what you do, seek out more knowledge to become better, listen and learn.
Now these are all things to do when you got your first job, to get your foot in the door for the first job....Network!

Well, thats my point of view.

Xdeth 28 August 2005 14:56

Look For, come with, avoid....
 
Jobs are at all time peak overseas right now, pay has stablized and contracts are becoming larger and less frequent. Never been a better time to get hired, and to get hired by companies that have some established reputations and people working for them.

Look for:
Prior training courses that derive their foundation from or are directly written according to Department of State standards, it's kind of like a basic training if you will, there are a ton of TTP's and variations on these themes but that's a good baseline, and very marketable. Some busniesses offer training with their employment package, some expect you to have it already. In either case you should only be looking at employers that offer some level of training consistent with the job type prior to deployment, even experienced people requrie hooah training to stay current and get prepared.

Come with:
Basic military knowledge and planning skills are helpful, you can get those from a variety of military jobs or certain law enforcement assignments. Be prepared for an evaluation, physical, academic, phychological, anyone not asking prospects to meet requirements in those areas is not screening well. Have all your financial history and immediate needs squared away, getting paid should not be the first thing on your mind. Have a very good idea about your employer, history, personnel, recent contracts.

Avoid:
Private industry, now is not the time to be working on non-government contracts, get a security clearance, get around the government agencies, make contacts that can serve you down the road when the peace craze comes back around. Avoid need people tomorrow type situations, chances are very good it's a goatfuck.

Resumes are muy important, they should be one page and squentially organized, not full of every little thing you did or training your recieved, jsut an outline of your history, job titles, and major skills. Resumes should be tailored to the job your applying for, use the same key words as the job soliciation, be honest on them. Create a seperate document, lets call it a bio, in that put all your schooling, trainings, and descriptive job information, also suqentially listed. You'll be asked to submit that info in some form or another if you get to the hiring stage or past that. Spell and grammer check it all too.

ExSquid 29 August 2005 04:23

I sent Silverbullet a PM the other day urging him to create this sticky because of the repetative nature of some of the questions asked here.

Here is my $.02. PSD does not require a SOF background or combat experience. Having a SOF background and combat experience certainly helps but they are not necessities. If you have a solid combat arms background, are mature, level headed, and humble enough to admit what you do and do not know, than you have what it takes to get a job. If you want a job than go out and make one happen.

Good luck.

x/S

Sniper111 29 August 2005 11:41

Well since everyone is jumping on the PSD side, let me expound on the FP side-

Networking is about the most important part of getting an FP gig, since all the PSD/EP schools don't REALLY apply. Get ahold of a POC list from someone on here, and not only email your resume/CV/bio but invest the two or three bucks in a telephone call.

As redundant as it sounds, follow this forum. I got a prior gig for FP through a PM on here. In addition take the advice of the long-term members. They have not only BTDT but most likely wrote the POI. I am NOT a BTDT, just a gifted amateur.

The skill sets for FP are a LOT different than PSD. I'm a sniper (duh) and that skill set does not readily translate into PSD, unless it's countersurveillance from the FBO. My experience is skills like management, instructional ability and investigation take precedence over driving and CP. In addition, if you have the HSLD PSD courses, you will be bored senseless doing FP. You're in jail when you think about it. Huge compound surrounded by 12 foot walls with concertina, towers manned by dudes with guns, you can't go outside and everyone inside is male (without the tossing salad thing, unless you're a Haji).

I have noticed that physical fitness is also not stressed to the degree it is for PSD, and while I disagree with it I see the reason for it. Chances are you won't be doing an E&E through downtown Latifiyah on foot. This can serve to get you in shape on site though if you are motivated enough.

Former military experience is a major plus, but usually not required. Not for the reasons associated with PSD it seems though. FP is usually boring with intermittent moments of excitement. The occasional mortar or drive-by is about all that has happened to me in the past year. Conditions are usually decent, especially on longer term projects. Not the Hilton but liveable. My experience is cops tend to whine more about living in a caravan or intermittent internet access or piss poor food. A well placed comment here and there is one thing, as is griping amongst your team- but management gets tired (read you get sent home) if you pester them daily with trivial shit. Gives us cops a bad name in general too.

VBIEDs and suicide vests are a threat if you're working access control, so this is where cops tend to shine over the military types (and don't flame my ass for that). Cops are better attuned to look for bulges, bumps and protrusions in clothing than military types. We deal with it 12 hours a day for years. We're the guys who notice the .32 pocket auto in winter under a parka from across the street, it's just second nature to us. Same with vehicle searches- we're used to disassembling cars roadside looking for dope.

Have a good command of the English language. FP is ALL about report writing. Whether it is the block of instruction you just gave, or the Opel that cruised your front gate 6 times today, you need to get your words in order for the people in echelons beyond reality to read. Can't stress this enough- 70% of the time I was rewriting other guys reports before kicking them upstairs. A lot of bosses will see this as a lack of intelligence or intellect.

FP is also a great place to begin your career. If you don't step on your dick, if you act in a mature fashion, don't backstab your buddies and show skills in improvisation and unconventional non-linear thinking, chances are you will move up the ladder. I went from an OP sitter to a shift supervisor in 3 months with instructional duties thrown in. Also pick your colleagues brains at every opportunity. There are CENTURIES worth of experience at a typical site. Utilize these resources to expand your own knowledge base.

Now I am doing PSD in Haiti naked, no guns, no armor and just my brain. I didn't have all the HSLD top dollar courses. I got on this gig because I pulled someones ass out of the fire a LONG time ago on my first gig, showed intelligence and adaptability, had a modicum of common sense and stayed in contact. When you make friends, on here, on your first gig, wherever, keep in contact. A few minutes of your time a few times a week might land you your next gig, because you are fresh in someone's mind.

Now when I am done with this gig, I will invest in some PSD and UXO/EOD courses to expand my base of knowledge and my job opportunities. I started at the very bottom of the food chain and managed to climb a rung or two. I learned PSD on my last gig by pestering a long time PSD guy who was sitting doing FP until the next great thing came along. I'm no expert but I have the basics and a good brain. And when it comes down to it- thats about all you need.

PSD_Hopeful 12 September 2005 22:01

Writing a PSD Resume?
 
So far I've found some great info here regarding getting into the industry, starting with the thread about requirements.

Now what I'm asking is for a more detailed description of how a resume should look. I beleive my Base Personell Selection Office would be more than able to help me write up a resume for applying to McDonalds but I'm sure there are specifics for this type of job.

Thanks for your time

RB 13 November 2005 05:56

PM me for a company name list and email addresses for 40 PSD/Security companies here in the box. Some reputable, some not so...

JollygreenFE 30 November 2005 12:10

Tier Levels and Required Quals
 
For those who may not have an SF, DevGrp, PJ type background can someone please post the Tier Levels with appropriate qualifications to meet that level here. I found a list a few months ago but cant seem to find it again. Thanks!

thatkindasux 1 December 2005 20:40

Everytime i stop by for a few minutes im amazed at the wealth of knowledge most of you share with this community. This is truely a great resource in my humble opinion..

Phil306 9 December 2005 05:33

Resume question. Without violating Persec/Opsec, etc. Is it possible for somone to black out their details and post a copy of their resume? I am really looking to see what a good one looks like.

Argyll 50 31 December 2005 15:23

One thing I'd comment on is the Tier system,don't get too hung up on it,it's only relevant to certain individuals......I know lots of guys who've been out of the military for a long time(including me!) and I am quite able to hold my own in terms of tactics,driving and shooting compared to some blokes discharged from the Services in the last 12 months or so!

I've been in a managerial position outside of CP work,and know how to converse with people higher and lower than me,something the fresh ex Military are not that good at eg. former Sgt Maj's (UK)who talk to everyone like recruits and subordinates,wrong attitude in CP work!!,having worked for other industries,it helps to know what drives them......ie $$$$$$$,another thing the fresh squaddie will not understand quite as much.

The only teir system I work on is the movie which makes me well up the most!

Silverbullet 20 March 2006 11:07

Finding a Job
 
Getting work is not as hard as some seem to make it out to be. This post is not directed to anyone. It is general in nature in an attempt to educate and inform.

If a company asks for money to place you in a job, either up front or after the job is secured, they are probably scamming you. Thereís nothing illegal about what they are doing but they are probably also being paid by a company to assist in the recruiting. All job info is open source. If it isnít, then it only recruits via word of mouth and paying someone wonít help you get your foot in that door.

Paying a company to run you through a ďselectionĒ is usually the same as throwing your money down the toilet. Iíd estimate only 5% of those that go this route ever get the promised follow on employment. If you have a good tactical background just apply since all the larger companies provide a train up. You get paid while attending training. Thatís a win- win situation.

WPPS is not the low life program some on the net try and portray it to be. Only those with a well rounded SOF career or those that have been fired from the program should turn their nose up at it. If you want to get your foot in the door, WPPS one of the best routes to take. It will give you good training and some creds that will stay with you for the rest of your life. Itís not the be all, end all and there are better programs out there but it is GTG for the guy starting out. The better programs will look at you more favorably after you have the WPPS experience, if you arenít former SOF

Donít bitch about what the job description states. Itís not the employerís responsibility to make a job fit you. Itís your responsibility to fit the job. You donít like the way the job is laid out, start your own company, win a contract and then write whatever job description you want. Otherwise shut up and either submit for the job or move on.

Apply to more than one company at a time. Thatís how itís done in other industries.

Contrary to a few internet business experts, there are not less jobs out there, now. The jobs are just consolidated in less companyís.

If a guy has no military background and spent a yr in Iraq, he is not qualified to run a training course. This is especially true if he spent most of his time in the IZ glad handing people vice conducting movements longer than to and from BIAP from the IZ. He may be an assistant instructor but not the lead. This should be self evident, but I see guys throwing money at shoot them up courses daily started by guys with questionable creds.. Spend your money on something that has some real value. If your focus after receiving your initial training is not on planning, planning and planning, then youíre going no where fast. Get good at route surveys, advances, vulnerability assessments, etcÖ Get formal driver training.

Finally, the jobs are out there. In the last 6 months Iíve not seen anyone with a credible CV not get work if they apply tot the right company. If you're one of those that is waiting for the ďjust rightĒ job to come along, then youíll stay unemployed.

yojinbukai 20 March 2006 11:52

This is a great thread. I would like to add a few thing.

This isn't the military. If you were Tier 1, 3 years ago, you aren't now. If you were an 11 series 10 years ago, you aren't now.

What you are, however, is someone who is paid to stand in harm's way and place yourself between the danger and your client. If you aren't ready to take one for the client, take another serious look at this line of work.

EP work in general will be just like police work in that %98 will be boring and require an effort to avoid complacency. %2 will be pure adrenalin and you had better know how to let your conscious and subconscious minds work together. By that I mean have enough training with proper trigger and response drills to make your responses instinctive. All your training should be heavily documented from a reputable trainer, and any firearms training should include use of force decision making.

The Iraq and Afghanistan work won't be there forever. Develop a skill set and be the best at it. Your reputation will speak volumes about you and people will want to know who you have worked with / for and who you have protected. Most of what you'll find outside the non / semi permissive environmnets is one to three guys and girls walking a small box on a suit. You'll need a suit too. Working in Europe will be unarmed, and I understand that batons are jail worthy in most countries. You should have some sound training in defensive tactics, PPCT, or a reality based martial art such as Ju-Jitsu mixed with a bit of Kenpo. Tae Kwon Do is flashy but it doesn't prepare you for the out of breath, fight for your life mentality that you'll likely need.

Silverbullet 3 April 2006 09:39

Some observations.

If you are going for a job, write the CV to fit the job. Sounds common sense, but I've been looking at CV's that list yrs of instructor duty that are looking for an operational job. If most of your work experience is as an instructor, you aren't getting a job working PSD. Stress you operation experience, if you have it, and add your instructor certs in under qualifications or whatever you call it on your CV.

If you've been working as a bank clerk, or whatever, for the last 10 yrs, you don't usually have relevent operational exerience that will jump you to the head of the line. Unless you've been a reservist and deployed since your discharge it doesn't matter what you used to be when you compete againist guys with current experience.

Finally no one owes you a job just because you want it.

Slammer445 30 May 2006 11:22

Quick Question
 
Hey guys I'm new to this website so I'll make it brief. I just applied for a job at SOC-SMG and have no contracting experience.

I spent 5 years active as a field MP mainly living in the desert running convoy ops and scout work. Spent 4 years in the reserves as a CID agent and went to the Army PSD school and did one travel mission with Dep Sec Def.

I have been a police officer for over four years and I've been on our SWAT team for over a year (Slammer/Entry).

I have no Spec Ops experience although I have trained with them a time or two in my civilian job. Are Cops recieved well in the contracting field??? I'm a quiet professional that is looking to get out of debt. I have combed this website and found there is a s#$% load of professionals that have made some really good posts so I figured this would be a good place to ask a question. I don't have thin skin so honesty would be appreciated.

Thank you in advance for your time.

A.E.S.

backblast 3 June 2006 18:47

slammer445, welcome, im new here myself, so many professionals on here, great to listen to them...I am also a police officer, have worked for soc-smg since oct 05 until may 06...I had to take the hdsoc course first, didn't guarantee work, but put me in the field....you'll probably have to do the same...but when they need people for a gig right after katrina, they called and I put in for a leave of absence...on reserve now with pd, and did a short contract with soc in iraq...their a good company, great guys, some of them....best of luck...ps keep picking these guys brains, i know i will.

RAT 3 June 2006 20:25

Let me say this.

IMHO...

If you are wanting to do this job to get "Out of Debit" you are doing it for the wrong reasons. You must want to do the job because it is something you want to do. Meaning such.

People who get involved with this business don't know that this can be really nasty and dirty business.

Some facts:

Companies will leave you out in the wind.

The bottom line counts. It is business, not the LEO area or the military or GOV job. You are a number alive or dead just a number. Companies and clients will try and make you do some dumb shit. Do NOT do it.

Most companies do not insure you. (DBA does not count. DBA is workers comp. You must know the laws of your state about that. Meaning that most compaines will have you sigin the contract of the State they are located and that states workers comp may not cover what you just might need to get better)

A good CPA wil cost you to figure out how to keep the gov from grabbing the money you have made.

The contract can end at anytime.

You can get fired at anytime.

You might have to E&E on your own. (Better have a lot of cash stashed to pay people off to get out alive.)

* This is one of the most imporatant things you have to remember... Going overseas to a hostial area to get out of debt will make you do dumb shit. You will take chances that put you and your team at risk. You do not want to do that. Remember the boys hung from the bridge. Know what you are getting into.

Again, these are some of my thoughts.

Good luck to you and hope you do well. Stay locked on.


RAT OUT!!!

Slammer445 3 June 2006 23:03

Thanks for the heads up RAT, and I'll take that information to heart. Getting out of debit is not the sole purpose for going over, but I see your point. I have two friends that are working over seas and I pick there brains religiously on a regular occasion to make sure this is something I want to get in to. I know there are many aspects of working in Iraq and abroad to include danger and ugly working enviroments. I've been busy doing lots of homework to make sure I know what I'm getting into.

Massgrunt 3 June 2006 23:05

Most people want to get in to debit. :D


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