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Private Military Ecology Blog
last updated 27-Mar-2016
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At Private Military Ecology we explore unfolding trends and alternative futures for the use and understanding of Private Military and/or Security Companies and services. Late in 2013, we opened shop at WordPress: --a nicer, cleaner and more elegant experience. At WordPress, we discuss the changing 21st century security environment in addition to private military and security issues. Private Military Ecology @Blogger, however, is our oldest blogging space and you might find many posts there not available here or at WordPress.
Transition assistance programs: incorporating the private military industry into the equation
open the door to private soldiers In a June post, ‘Supporting Britain’s Public and Private Security Personnel’, I commented on a British initiative aimed at encouraging business leaders to support the reserve forces: Supporting Britain’s Reservists and Employers (SaBRE). I noted that SaBRE implicitly highlights the fact that a number of the people involved in operations in Afghanistan and Iraq are not regular soldiers, but private personnel. While SaBRE is tailored for reservists and not private security personnel, it touches on the sensitive need to inform and educate the public and private employers about the growing role civilians play in arenas of conflict. It is a revolving door, not only between the military and the private sector, but also between military-oriented tasks and Civvy Street. There is the need to grease the wheels of this door in order to make sure transitions are smooth and there is a gracious exit to Civvy Street, hence initiatives such as SaBRE in the UK and the Transition Assistance Program (TAP) in the US are being enhanced.

TAP recently launched a new website to assist US veterans returning from Afghanistan and Iraq: TurboTAP. The website addresses what is becoming a problem, namely facilitating transitions for those who face difficulties in returning to old jobs or finding new ones. TurboTAP dresses in the now familiar structure of employment websites, providing general guidelines and offering a one-stop meeting point for candidates and employers. Yet an issue of concern is precisely that TurboTAP fails to set itself apart from other recruitment websites targeting the same audience. It is no a surprise therefore that the service goes under the ‘official transition assistance website’ banner. For once, it fails to provide guidelines to the public about the personal, practical, and professional challenges veterans returning to civilian life might face. Let us not forget that in the general public we find not only potential employers, but also people who are critical of the role played by many civilians in the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. Inevitably, to facilitate transitions they need to be informed. Wider access to authoritative material originating in the Department of Defense could throw new light on the issues at hand to critics as well as potential yet non-corporate employers. This broader focus would also work in setting TurboTAP apart from other employment websites.

Perhaps a good strategy is for the US to examine and amalgamate into TurboTAP SaBRE’s experience, and all the way round. The result could be a more robust service that is informative and useful to both returning veterans and the communities they are rejoining. Another issue that needs to be addressed is that some veterans might find themselves more at ease following a career that builds up from their recently acquired military experience. The private military and private security industries offer that alternative. These industries are perfectly aware and value the field experience of former military personnel and reservists. On the other hand, former military personnel and reservists already possess levels of security clearance that are necessary to undertake defence, military, and intelligence tasks outsourced by governments. At a time when a proven military background and a trustworthy service trajectory are increasingly in demand, it is time to bring vetted Private Military Companies and Private Security Companies into to the Transition Assistance equation. Inasmuch as the volatile times we are living call for it, the strategy could assist in alleviating an unfolding transition problem brought about by longer than expected campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq.

31 July 2007





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