Cleared Hot: Career Advice and Veteran Transition News

The changing national security landscape has opened up new job markets for cleared transitioning service members, a factor that continues to increase opportunities for women seeking defense and security jobs.

According to Carolyn Becraft, former Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Manpower and Reserve Affairs), changes in both the military and defense sectors continue to widen the job market for cleared professional women.

“Having a security clearance is golden, and many of the discriminations of the past are not as prevalent today,” said Becraft. “From the military side, women have been in two wars now. The military recognizes the talent they possess and their critical role. Throughout the defense sector there is greater respect for the training, experience and skills they bring to the table. And there is the additional factor that there are more women in the workforce now.”

This month, Becraft, the former president of the original Capital Chapter of Women in Defense (WID), will be honored for her military service and her contributions in advancing women, as she receives the organization’s Service to the Flag Award at an event in celebration of Women’s History Month.

Becraft explained that at a time when the talent pool of women is more accomplished and heavier in numbers, women with security clearances are now competing for higher level jobs and landing them.

Brenda McKinney, WID board member and District Manager for Kelly Government Solutions, also sees a major shift in opportunities for women who hold security clearances. Due to increasing security requirements and job demand, her company relies on for services to vet candidates for cleared positions.

“The face of career opportunities for women, particularly security cleared women, has changed completely since September 11th,” said McKinnney. “They’re coming out of the military with much more diverse backgrounds; they are well educated, well trained, and more qualified for leadership positions than ever before. Having the clearance adds to professional opportunities today that simply didn’t exist in the past. A clearance is valuable in everything from EMTs and nurses, to grants managers, curriculum writers, trainers and absolutely anything related to IT.”

Women now make up about 14 percent of working engineers, and the number of promotions in management positions throughout the nation’s defense companies is rising. Currently, three of the top six U.S. weapons’ makers, BAE Systems, Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics, are now headed by women.


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Tranette Ledford is a writer and owner of Ledford, LLC, which provides writing, editorial and public relations consulting for defense, military and private sector businesses. You can contact her at: