Your New Post-Military Mission: Understand the Demand

You’ve spent the last four to 25 years with a laser like focus on the mission. And whether that mission was breaking up the Haqqani network, or defeating the device, or getting the barracks ready for inspection — you understood it clearly. You were given an objective and resources, and then you made a detailed execution plan for making it happen. Furthermore, you were fully supported in completing this mission by everyone around you up and down the chain of command; and from all the voices on the other end of every comms channel. Everyone had a mission, and all those missions supported the overall mission the U.S Military has executed since 1776. The Mission is the purpose of the military, and the mission gave you purpose. Everyone that’s worn the uniform knows this implicitly, because they felt it every day they were in it.

Now that you’re transitioning out, your mission is changing drastically. When you were in, the mission was easy to understand…this doesn’t mean it was easy, just that it was clear, well defined and passed up and down the chain. Entering the civilian workforce turns out to be a chaotic, ill-defined, and often opaque mess. There are a plethora of transitioning resources, Veteran Service Organizations (VSO) offering help, and more jobs boards than capital ships in the Navy. But at the end of the day, it’s all a new and uncomfortable mission that you have to figure out for yourself. Your new mission objective may be to find your dream job, or the best job in a defined location; or to plot the best way forward economically for college or technical training. No matter what your new mission objective is, there is a huge, implied mission task you must fulfill in order to meet your optimal mission objective. Your new transition mission is to ‘Understand the Demand’ because Demand is the new battlefield you’re living in.

Since you’re American (give us another year Five Eyes), you’ve probably heard of Supply and Demand as the core building blocks of capitalism. If you were a 92A, a 0402, or a 2S0XX you really understand Supply and Demand at a very real and detailed level. But for the rest of us, especially us combat arms guys, here is what you need to know: ‘Jobs are Demand, You are Supply.’ This is actually easier for Vets to understand then most, because you’ve been “Supply” your entire military career…the Demand was the mission. Your military mission changed as technologies evolved and geopolitics shifted, and as you evolved and gained skills and knowledge over your career. You were the “Supply” that was specifically trained and supported to evolve with the mission and to meet the mission demands. More importantly, you were taught to be flexible and to take the initiative when you saw new “Demands” reveal themselves. Yup, whether you were an E4 11B or an O5 Nuclear Engineer, you were Supply, and your detailer was in charge of making sure you closed a defined Military Mission Demand.

You are about to become Supply in the open economy, so congrats, just became your own detailer. Problem is, there is no machine in the Pentagon spitting out a list from which to choose your next Demand position. You have to do that part, align yourself to open economy Demand, all by yourself. Luckily you have a lot of options. Every night there are about 5 million jobs openings posted in English, and you can see them all. There on the career sites of Microsoft, and Lockheed, and Amazon, and Indeed, and 100,000+ plus other careers sites and aggregators every night, all just a click away. The problem for you is that they are all analog; or for the 25X series out there, you could say Open Demand is “all noise and no signal.” They aren’t networked. They aren’t targeting packages that are just sitting there mostly useless.

Every Essential Element of Information you need to understand your new mission battlefield and how to optimize yourself in it is out there. All the information is out there: What company has your ideal job, what industry sectors are growing, how valuable the certification you’re thinking about is to the market, what’s the best jobs for you within 25 miles of base right now, etc. But you have to get line of sight on it in order to see and understand it. And to get a full line of sight understanding on 5 million jobs just by giving each a 10 second view would take 578 days without a break…which by anyone’s measure is a long deployment, even for Colonels in Crystal City. That’s right, you just moved from THE most sophisticated understanding of real time mission demands via a massively powerful, globally networked C5ISR system that reaches across space and down into each individual soldier, sailor, airman, and Marine…to the technical equivalent of a drunken Austrian cavalry officer stumbling around Vienna looking for Napoléon’s baggage train while the Battle of Austerlitz is underway.

Without knowing what the market Demand is, and exactly how this new battlefield is laid out for your unique skill set you are basically “Transitioning in the Blind.” Don’t worry, it’s kinda like jumping out of a C-17; there’s a little anxiety on the ramp, but gravity still works and you will be on the ground off and running soon. Every member of the Vetlign team did this at one point, as did everyone you knew that already got out. Because every member of the Vetlign team was in the Military, we understand the power of a well defined, well structured, and fully articulated mission set…and since Demand is the new Mission… that is what we did. The Oplign team took the lessons we learned in uniform about the power of network communications, and mission planning, and battlefield prep, and S&R, and C4ISR, and targeting intelligence, and force multipliers, and all kinds of unique mission hacks, and we put them all together to structure the new mission battlefield for all our transitioning brothers and sisters.

Vetlign and its parent site,, allows you as new Supply to immediately understand how you sync to the real time Demand in the marketplace simply by inputting your Branch, Rank, and MOS. Oplign’s technology has turned the open Demand in the marketplace into “signal” and stripped out the noise, so that you can immediately see it, interrogate it, and compare all the skills, experiences, platforms, and certifications you gathered in the military, with the structured Demand in the marketplace. Vetlign gives you C5ISR for market demand, for clearly seeing the mission battlefield in front of you 24/7/365. Vetlign puts 24/7/365 structure around your new Mission — Vetlign gives you the C5ISR infrastructure you need to fully Understanding the Demand today, tomorrow, and for the rest of your civilian career.

Vetlign is our mission. Making your C-17 jump into the new civilian economy battlefield as smooth as productive as possible is our objective. We don’t have a vision, we have an execution check list…and high on that list is making sure every Vet in this country has the optimal job for their skills set. So please help us in your mission, and sign up via and tell us how we can make the system better for you and everyone else following you out the back of that Globemaster.

About the author: Mike Grow is the CEO and co-founder of Oplign. He was a peace-frog in the 90’s and has spent the last two decades in technology consulting, defense contracting, and AI development. He read a lot of history books on a lot of tarmacs, and watched a lot of movies on float, so we apologize in advance for any and all esoteric movie quotes or references to obscure battlefields.

Mike will be releasing a series of articles over the next few months every week or so, in between code releases for new modules in Oplign. Here are some of the upcoming articles to help you better understand how you as Supply and the marketplace as Demand come together in the world, and in Oplign’s data about it.

· How Senior Chief taught me everything you need to know about The Future of Work

· Demand in the Open…Click for Effect

· Oplign ORE #1: Indexlign

· Job Fairs: The Civilian Equivalent of Unscrewing your Pay over at Personnel…Again

· The Military Talent Network: The Holy Roman Empire of the Recruiter World

· Talent Acquisition Doesn’t

· The Vetlign Challenge

· When Supply Met Demand: Yes is like Meg Ryan in the Diner Scene

· Oplign ORE #2: Guidelign

· Every Oplign Signal tells the Salary

· History Majors: The Cannon Fodder of the Demand Battlefield

· Oplign ORE #3: Courselign

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store