Use Your Experience to Fight the War on Drugs |
Published in the March/April 2011 issue of print Search & Employ® |
Marine veteran Sean Flanders is now fighting the war on drugs as a member of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Flanders joined the Marines in 1983 and spent most of his military career with a Marine Expeditionary Unit. After completing active duty, he joined the New York State Police while continued to serve in a reserve unit. He worked his way through the ranks of the New York State Police, then joined a DEA Task Force in New York City, working in a narcotics-related homicide unit. Nearly ten years later, he became a DEA Special Agent. He currently investigates high-level international narcotics traffickers and violent domestic narcotics-distribution organizations.
Flanders thinks that veterans are a great fit for the DEA. “As a field training officer and a senior agent, it is my opinion that individuals with a military background often excel in environments with a clearly-defined organizational structure,” he said. “The DEA is an organization based on structure and command leadership. As such, many of the rules that applied in the military regarding the use of the proper chain of
Veterans will also find a familiar style at the DEA. “DEA agents are known for their ability to work long hours under stressful conditions, in teams or groups, and be accountable for their actions,” Flanders said. “Successful military personnel also work under similar conditions, making them a natural fit for the position of special agent.”
Sarah Pullen, a public information officer with the DEA, said that the agency has a lot of needs, but the agency is very careful about whom they hire. “As the world’s leading drug enforcement agency, DEA offers rewarding opportunities for those interested in contributing to the well-being of the American public and the world population,” she said. “All applicants must meet the certain conditions of employment to be eligible for employment at DEA. These conditions include: U.S. Citizenship, successfully passing a DEA-administered drug test for illegal drugs, completing a DEA drug questionnaire to show compliance with the DEA drug policy, successfully passing a background investigation, and if required, registering with the Selective Service System.”
Many of the agency’s openings are for work behind the scenes. “In addition to special agent and intelligence analyst jobs, positions are frequently available for the following occupations: accounting intern, budget analyst, program analyst, management analyst, contract specialist , diversion investigator, fingerprint specialist, forensic specialist, information technology, intelligence research specialist, and procurement analyst,” Pullen said.
The good news is that veterans have a leg up when it comes to being hired at the DEA. “Federal veteran preference laws apply to DEA’s positions, and about 20 percent of Special Agent candidates who received conditional letters from DEA are eligible for veterans preference,” said Pullen.