If you hold a security clearance, there’s a good chance you’ve heard rumors that the world is an unstable place, and that terrible things are happening everywhere. Where American forces operate, however, American contractors operate, and that means jobs. There are a lot of reasons you might want to work in a risky area: you miss the adventure of military life or the intelligence world; you want to make giant piles of money; or you genuinely want to try to make the world a better place. Your clearance, coupled with a little experience, might make you a prime candidate for such jobs. Here are four hot spots around the world where there are jobs to be found.


Here is what the State Department has to say about traveling to Baghdad: Don’t.

“U.S. citizens in Iraq remain at high risk for kidnapping and terrorist violence. Methods of attack have included roadside improvised explosive devices (IEDs) including explosively formed penetrators (EFPs), magnetic IEDs placed on vehicles, human and vehicle-borne IEDs, mines placed on or concealed near roads, mortars and rockets, and shootings using various direct fire weapons. When such attacks occur, they frequently take place in public gathering places such as cafes, markets, and other public venues.”

So, don’t board a Baghdad-bound flight expecting to find Switzerland on the other end. That said, there are jobs available in Iraq for those prepared for the risks—and they’re not all mercenary or security-guard-related. (Though those jobs are hiring.) Consider a recent Clearance Jobs posting by PAE Government Services, which provides support for the U.S. and allies around the world. They are hiring an expert on fire alarm systems—someone qualified to do everything from inspect fire extinguishers to test strobes and horns. It’s not the first job that comes to mind when you think “Working in Iraq”, but it is important and necessary work.


Like Baghdad, Kabul has been through quite a bit over the last decade, and they’re trying to rebuild faster than the monsters can destroy. The United States and allied forces have a massive reconstruction operation underway in Kabul and elsewhere in Afghanistan, and that effort needs men and women who know how to build things. Michael Baker International, a construction firm with projects around the world, is presently hiring electrical engineers to work in Kabul. Let’s face it: Don’t Kansas City and Kennebunkport and Kenosha have enough electrical engineers? Don’t you want to live a little before you die? Give Kabul a try. The food is great and not every part of it looks like a scene from Black Hawk Down.


If you’re an expert in explosive ordnance disposal, you’ve probably been to places worse than U.S. Africa Command’s area of operations. (I would imagine the blast area of any live ordnance is an unpleasant place to be, whether in Prague or Palmyra.) Obsidian Solutions Group hires subject matter experts in everything from the Java programming language to nuclear bombs, and provides their services to the U.S. government for global operations. Right now they need former EOD and Special Forces personnel to train civilians and the military in Africa. (You’ll need a Top Secret clearance to get information any more specific than that.) The best part: when a job posting uses phrases like “directly support WMD search operations,” “land, sea, and air,” and “up to and including tactical actions during the conduct of real world operations,” you know the pay is going to be great and you’ll never have a boring day at the office.


Within Ukraine’s borders is the Autonomous Republic of Crimea. In 2014, Pro-Russian forces, supported by actual Russian forces, seized control of Crimea and held a vote as to whether the territory should leave Ukraine and become annexed by Russia, which neighbors Crimea to the east. The Crimeans voted yes in a referendum almost certainly rigged. (When you have 123 percent turnout in some areas, with 95.5 percent voting yes to joining Russia, while Russia is already occupying your territory—well, we’re not exactly dealing with Vienna here.) This hasn’t gone over well with Ukraine. A trade war is now underway, and Russia is being accused of attacking Ukraine’s power grid. The State Department wants Americans to stay out of Crimea.

If you want to work in Kiev, capital of Ukraine, the International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program is hiring a Senior Operations Specialist to help develop a law enforcement agency that “that protects human rights, combats corruption, and reduces the threat of transnational crime and terrorism, in support of U.S. foreign policy and national security objectives.” Kiev isn’t a dangerous place, and it’s about 500 miles from Crimea, or the distance from San Diego to San Francisco. But when a former superpower decides to make trouble in your backyard, you are officially a global hot spot.

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David Brown is a regular contributor to ClearanceJobs. He is currently at work on his next book, One Inch From Earth, which tells the story of scientists who study the outer planets of the solar system. He can be found online at http://dwb.io.