Civilian Mission 3-Year Guide

Expert Strategies from a Corporate Recruiter

Foreword for Civilian Mission: The Three-Year Guide for Military Professionals Seeking Civilian Careers

By Chase Hughes

Chase Hughes retired from the U.S. Navy in 2019

“In 2018, as the weight of retirement bore down on me with just 50 days to go, I found myself clutching a résumé at my kitchen table, pondering a $14.90/hour job at a shipyard.

Two decades in the military had cocooned me in security; a consistent paycheck, a buffer from the whims of the market, and the assurance of employment. Civilian life? What will that even look like?


That day, as I grasped that résumé, a call to my mentor reframed my perspective. He flipped a switch in me that I’m hoping I can flip inside you right NOW. He reminded me not of what I lacked, but what I had accumulated over the years.

That pivotal conversation made me realize that my preparation for the civilian world had unknowingly started a decade earlier. Every sacrifice, every night spent in online classes instead of at parties, every certification achieved during service—these weren’t mere events, but cornerstones, meticulously laying the foundation for my post-military life.

By the end of December, I retired as an E7. Fast-forward three years, and I was listed among Entrepreneur Magazine’s top 40 CEOs in America, earning in a month what the Secretary of the Navy made annually – it was surreal. Weird. I’m not telling you this to brag. I’m telling you this because if I can pivot like that, so can you.

Chase Hughes, CEO of Applied Behavior Research

This trajectory wasn’t just serendipity—it was guidance from a mentor who shifted my path. I offer this book as a compass for you, hoping to channel that guidance forward. Let these words resonate profoundly, shaping your perspective and actions.

Yes, your military service is a significant chapter in your life, but don’t let it be your only one. The starting gun fires now.

The worst insult someone can call me is ‘lucky’. There’s no luck here. It’s only effort. In the words of Thomas Jefferson, “The harder I work, the more luck I seem to have.”
Understand this truth: Your transition to civilian life began the moment you put on that uniform. Every endeavor, every accolade, and every habit cultivated will shape the narrative of your post-military journey.

While the prospect of civilian life may seem distant, it approaches a LOT faster than you can imagine. Let your military achievements be a chapter, not the entirety, of your story. Your civilian life has the potential to be magnitudes more significant and rewarding. And the sooner you commit to that vision, the more fruitful it becomes. Seize every opportunity that shapes this approaching chapter.

You swore an oath to defend this nation against all enemies. In civilian life, your most formidable adversary is the reluctance to act towards your future.

Your peers might not grasp why you’re tirelessly honing skills or refining your résumé. Extend them this book as a bridge, or share the wisdom, so they, too, can transition from military to civilian life, not just seamlessly, but spectacularly. This book you’re holding is a mentor, a guide, and an assistant. The more you decide to use it and take action, the more you will find yourself experiencing the ‘luck’ that people talk about”.

Chase Hughes signature

Chase Hughes
Applied Behavior Research

Chase Hughes, drawing on two decades of experience in the US Navy, has transformed his military training in human intelligence into a breakthrough career in behavior analysis and neuroscience. He is the author of five impactful books, including his Best-Selling book, “The Ellipsis Manual.” Just a few years after his military transition, he was named among the top 40-under-40 CEOs in America. Today, he continues to train government agencies and companies, write more books, guest on popular news, and talk shows, including Dr. Phil and create weekly videos with his behavioral expert colleagues, Greg Hartley (Fmr. US ARMY), Scott Rouse and Mark Bowden for The Behavior Panel on YouTube. Chase Hughes is a testament to leveraging military experience in impactful ways, creating a dynamic and successful post-military career.