Career Mapping: Plan Your Post-Military Journey 

In anticipation of GSX, we sat down with presenters of upcoming sessions in order to get a better understanding of the topics at hand. This week we are featuring, “Career Mapping: Plan Your Post-Military Journey,” presented by Michael Reiner, CPP, Assistant Vice President of Public Safety at Creighton University, who will interview two former military leaders in his session. Read on for what he had to say and don’t forget to register for GSX 2024!

Q: How did you become interested in your topic?  

A: I retired from the US Air Force over 7 years ago and transitioned directly into a senior security role, leading the Department of Public Safety at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska. I have also served on the Military and Veterans Community (MVC) Steering Group, both before and after my military retirement. What I observed is that too many service members have vague objectives for their post-military life and lack realistic expectations about the civilian job market. I spoke on this topic at GSX in Chicago in 2019 and again last year in Dallas—my hope is that by continuing to provide relevant content, the MVC can better prepare veterans for success at all stages of their professional careers! 

Q: Tell us about your presentation and why security professionals should have this topic on their radar.  

A: Our session is presented by the Military and Veterans Community (MVC), a group of ASIS members who are either currently serving or have served in the armed forces of their nation. We will present on Military and Law Enforcement Appreciation Day, Sept. 25, on the Career Center stage. Two former military leaders will discuss the key takeaways from their transitions to the civilian security sector. While we can’t possibly cover everything veterans need to know in a 20-minute session, we hope to spur veterans to start thinking about their career objectives and to connect them to people who can assist them in building the professional future they desire. 

Q: What advice would you give security professionals interested in this topic?  

A: Start early and ask lots of questions! If you are within your final year of military service and haven’t started your transition plan, you’ve put yourself at a disadvantage. Whether you serve for 4 years or 30 years, you have some tough decisions to make that shouldn’t be rushed. What are your priorities for the next chapter of your life—location, salary, type of work, industry sector, work/life balance, or something else? Come to our session to hear our thoughts on how to collect the information you need to make informed decisions that will meet your objectives.  

Q: How do you see this issue evolving in the next 2-5 years?  

A: Traditionally, presentations about transitioning from the military to the civilian sector focused on senior military officers and noncommissioned officers retiring from security or law enforcement roles with lifelong benefits and transitioning into senior security roles as civilians. I foresee a greater need to educate service members who are separating from the military earlier in their professional careers, often without retirement benefits. Our session will feature an officer from the US Navy who was not in a security role while serving in uniform and who did not serve over 20 years. Her story is compelling and will resonate with many young veterans. As the Military and Veterans Community, we want to inform and support all our fellow service members, not only during their transitions to the civilian sector, but also before and after they take off their military uniforms. 

Q: Why do you attend GSX?  

A: Networking in person! While the breakout sessions certainly provide outstanding educational opportunities, I can learn just as easily on a webinar. What I can’t get online are those face-to-face discussions with security professionals and leading vendors from around the globe who are wrestling with the same challenges we all address in our profession. I can trace specific steps in my own career progression to my attendance at GSX last year. See you in Orlando!