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Military Veterans as Nannies: An Interview with Jonathan Gilliam of Tactical Nanny

February 24, 2013

by Michelle LaRowe
Editor in Chief

When it made the news that a nanny agency specializing in placing military veterans as caregivers was opening up, there was a buzz of concern and interest amongst those in the nanny industry. To learn more about the Tactical Nannies program I reached out to Jonathan Gilliam, president and CEO of United States Continued Service, the parent company of Tactical Nannies. Here’s what he had to share. 

eNannySource: I think when people first hear that military veterans are being sought out to provide nanny care they wonder two things: first, how do you reconcile the idea of being a combat veteran with a nurturing caregiver, and second, what about post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental issues?

Jonathan: I understand both of those concerns, and I think most people’s perception of the military is off the mark is many ways. With respect to reconciling a trained, military combat veteran, it is important to note the core elements that drive a person, male or female, to enter into military service. Those core elements are love of their fellow citizens and a desire to protect our freedoms and rights. The key words here are love and protect. Under the body armor and ammunitions is a human being who is serving at a level of selflessness that most people will never know without being in the military. This is easily translated into caring for children and protecting a family/home. Our pilot program includes several personality screening practices. Not only am I a former Navy SEAL, but I also served as a special agent in New York for eight years. I am associating with other agents to complete a background screening that gives us a complete picture of the personality and motivation of our nanny candidates, as well as making sure the underlying love and protective nature is at the forefront. I know it is unusual hearing those words from a trained warrior, but it is actually the basis for what we do.

PTSD is, as you pointed out, a major concern for many people. We understand that. In our screening process we will pay close attention to indicators of PTSD. However, the sheer numbers of veterans returning from duty overseas does not lend itself to an overwhelming percentage of PTSD sufferers. There just isn’t a lot of PTSD. What we see more often is the need for a “debrief” or time-out after returning from overseas. The awareness is so heightened in a war environment, that when you return, it takes time to turn it down. Reactions are quicker, attitudes are more assertive. But it is not PTSD the majority of the time.

eNannySource: You mentioned people’s views of the military are off the mark. Can you elaborate on what that means?

Jonathan: Unfortunately, many people in the American public see young enlisted people as dropouts that couldn’t make it anywhere else. This couldn’t be further from the truth in most cases. A high percentage of young people entering into military service have a drive to serve and a determination to succeed that cannot be met through college. Many of these individuals do in fact finish college after an initial tour of duty. Some take online classes, some night school and others transfer into the Reserves or National Guard and attend full time. Regardless, within two to four years of their entry into service, these young people have developed a core set of values and skills that propel them forward in life. Learning how to operate using Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) and how to function in a team environment, it is driven into everyone that serves that you are a leader no matter what rank you hold. This part of the training is widely unknown or understood by the majority of employers and the American public itself.

Jonathan: I am looking for a veteran who can verbalize their basic skills, understanding the core of their training. USCS will provide a series of tests, exercises and retesting on an individual and team basis to see how adept they are at using the skills they have acquired during their active military time. Each nanny will be screened for personality issues, to include PTSD, identity issues, stress and the possibility of personality disorders that may be threatening to children. This test is created by a former member of the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit, specializing in Child Sex Crimes and Child Abduction. We are actively looking for a child development expert to associate with in order to set up classes/training exercises to develop an effective curriculum that will ensure a well-rounded and educated nanny.eNannySource:  What will you look for in a nanny?

eNannySource: With your experience and background, what types of gaps in screening do you think currently exist when it comes to screening nannies?

Jonathan: I think the gaps begin with the families themselves. In many cases cost overrides experience and dependability when it comes to picking a nanny. Many parents give more thought to their budget than they do to the person they are hiring to watch over and protect their children. While it is understandable that budgets are an important issue in today’s tumultuous economic climate, the extra money for childcare can be found in the sacrifice of a few weekends out on the town a month, or the amount of Christmas presents a family buys each year.

On the other side of the spectrum, it is apparent that many of the nanny services employ “under the table” services. This allows for a cheaper full time nanny. This, along with little to no background check when background checks are promised, shows a sickening side of childcare. This is not only unacceptable, it is criminal. I have seen it, and regardless of the arguments on the side of nanny services, it exists in this industry. That is a standard USCS and the Tactical Nannies program will change.

eNannySource: Why nannies? How did you get into this business?

Jonathan: United States Continued Service (USCS) is the parent company of the Tactical Nannies program. Providing veterans as nannies is just one of our projects, as we are a company that creates projects/proposals around the skills of military and government veterans. We then market those projects/proposals to the public and private sectors, and then staff them with trained veterans once we have clients. We are involved in Law Enforcement Training (Patrol and SWAT), Executive Protection, Business Development, Company Restructuring, the instruction of SOP’s and Teamwork, etc. If there is an industry that we can influence, participate in or own using our trained veterans, USCS will be there. We are the cutting edge of veteran employment, where military and government veterans can go to continue their service and the American public can find the experience they need to have successful businesses or lives.

eNannySource: What do you want people to know most about what you do?

Jonathan: We believe in earning our citizenship. USCS is built upon those individuals that have served in a capacity that most people will never know or understand. We take these elite citizens and we introduce them into the public and private sectors to refine our communities, influence our industries and set the standard for what an American should be.

eNannySource: Who do you see as your ideal client?

Jonathan: In the case of the Tactical Nannies program, our ideal client can be on several levels. High income wealthy families, successful families that only need a part-time nanny, elderly families, special needs families and high end hotels. This list isn’t exhaustive, but is expanding everyday as requests and suggestions are made.

Jonathan Gilliam is the founder and CEO of United States Continued Service, the parent company of Tactical Nannies. To learn more visit http://continuedservice.com/Tactical_Nannies.html


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