You Sure You Want To Contract?

     It’s sexy. You see them around base, beards, leg holsters, whatever kit-set up they want, cool morale patches your 1stSgt. would lose their mind if they saw you wearing and of course the pay. But is it all to good to be true? 

     As glorious as it seems most US security contractors never really do much outside of walking down Disney Blvd grabbing Green Bean in their supervisors Hi-Lux and pressing a button on a gate. Now that’s not to say that there aren’t some amazing jobs out there. WPS and OGA contracts still have guys making six figures (even though that seems to be changing) however, not everyone guy who worked a force protection/prison detail during OIF 9.1 and OEF 14.1 qualifies for that.

     For most people security contracting is 6 days a week 12 hours a day, playing on your phone making friends with people who resign on leave and going to the gym counting down the days till your RnR to Thailand or to your po-dunk flyover state town that your company doesn’t pay for you to fly into the local regional airport.

     You’ll spend your days flirting with the Air Force girls and maybe one of your friends or even you may sleep with them because they probably just think you have way more money than you really have because you bought your third new plate carrier off GovX because of an awesome discount code your buddy gave you.

     Its not a glorious job by any means, you’ll work on taking cool angle photos to make it seem you’re outside the wire (can’t with Bagram’s flight line), and maybe you’ll find a local from the bazaar to take a photo with you as well. Hopefully, it grows your social media enough and you can get a free shirt or sunglasses.

     But in the end how worth it is it? Most entry level static positions make around 175-185 dollars a day for six days of work and supervisors maybe will top out at 225 on a lot of contracts. Companies like Triple Canopy maybe able to pay supervisors well but on some contracts while others pay around $11.00/hr. So, I ask those reading is it worth it, especially those with families.

     I had a great time the three years I was gone, I missed a lot of great memories at home, but I made amazing ones. However, I will say my experience was unique and not common for those who I began working with and if certain things didn’t happen, I would have never had those opportunities and probably left the second I saved 20k.

     Many people have a romantic version of contracting due to the lore and prowess of Erik Prince’s Blackwater but today it’s nothing like that. There are a lot of crazy and rambunctious events happening in the Middle East but unfortunately for many of the young buck contractors most of their stories involve pushing a button on a static post on an internal post.


  • I’ll piggy back on Miley’s comment. He litter nailed everything I wanted to say on the head. Money is nice don’t get me wrong but the new guys rolling in are so inexperienced and most companies are dropping standards just to make numbers on WPS, psd, nsd, ers teams. Your lucky when you find a team of guys in there 30s now. Definitely not for everyone in some ways it’s better then the military other it can suck just as much. For you young bucks trying to get into this… you should empty that over flowing cup of yours and listen to the guys before you. Learn from them this job isnt 13hrs the movie trust me less then 1% of you will have the exp for those gigs.

  • Good article man.

    I just quit my most recent WPS DDM contract in 2019. Was an absolute shit show, mostly due to the lack of combat experience (or any experience for that matter) by dudes who were shitbag E3’s that worried more about when they were getting released for the day than if they even knew the basics of their MOS.

    Then they get out and go contract as a PSS dude and immediately think they are “Oper8or AF” yet continuously fail PFTs & weapon quals, have NDs, can’t drive or navigate, have zero critical thinking skills, and look completely lost when it comes time to hit a door. But yet they cover their gear in mercenary/Viking/warrior/killer patches and grow their shitty beards out all while forgetting which way is north and that PMCS’ing vehicles is stupid.

    Contracting today, especially at the WPS level, has shifted gears to being 10% solid dudes (who are a cunt hair from quitting) and 90% worthless fucks who will get mother fuckers killed when shit happens.

    For those interested in contracting as an option post service, do your research prior to signing. Don’t just look at pay and jump at it. Quality of life and, even more important, contract legitimacy (as in working in support of the USG) should never be overlooked. However if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
    Contracting is a great way to get ahead financially…as long as you aren’t that 5th plate carrier purchase guy mentioned in the article lol. If you’re married or married with kids, it probably isn’t something you should think about doing for more than a rotation or two. Loss of family time isn’t worth it. Set a financial goal and bounce when you hit it. Pay and recruiting standards will continue to decrease as time goes on, and will do so until another large conflict comes about. Then requirements and pay will go back up across the board.

    Know your job and make yourself useful to your team. Don’t drink the contractor cool aid and you better expect that you aren’t going to be running and gunning. Most USG task orders don’t allow personal gear and most have done away with the wearing of patches (thank baby Jesus). When they say don’t show up to country with any tactical gear, they mean it. However don’t let the supply dude issue you a kydex holster for a Sig when you’re issued a G19. Read the statement of work (SOW) and know what is required of you and those around you.

    Oh, last piece of unsolicited advice to those looking at contracting on the WPS side… Don’t show up to your PSS course being unable to run 1.5 miles or do a push-up. The standards are an absolute joke and yet you still have people failing PFTs at a job interview. That’s exactly what the training course is…a job interview. As for shooting, if you can’t meet the PSS requirements for an M4 and G19 first go, you have zero excuse. Your resume says you can perform to the standard so stand by your written word. Fundamentals and integrity, you either have em or you don’t. …and if you don’t, you have zero place in an industry where you’re directly responsible for the lives of American citizens in high threat environments.



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