Is a Career As a Department of Defense Truck Driver For You?

As a Department of Defense (D.O.D.) truck driver, your role is integral to the logistics and supply chain operations of the military.

You’re responsible for the secure and timely transport of equipment, supplies, and personnel to various military installations and outposts.

This isn’t your ordinary truck driving job.

It demands a higher level of commitment and often comes with a unique set of challenges, including navigating through tough terrains or occasionally working in conflict zones.

A D.O.D. truck parked at a military base, surrounded by soldiers and equipment

Before you can get behind the wheel of a military vehicle, you need to be well-acquainted with specific regulations and requirements.

Becoming a Department of Defense Truck Driver

Before you hit the road for the Department of Defense (DoD), know that being a D.O.D. driver involves stringent qualifications and a commitment to safety and excellence.

Your role is critical, whether you’re operating solo as a company driver or as part of a team.

Qualities of a Top Notch D.O.D. Driver

A top-notch D.O.D. driver is more than just a steering wheel holder.

You’ll need to exhibit:

  • Attention to Detail: Every logbook entry and safety check counts.
  • Reliability: Your role is mission-critical, so showing up on time, every time, is essential.
  • Safety-Consciousness: Adherence to FMCSA rules and regulations
  • Physical Fitness: You’ll pass rigorous physical examinations to ensure you’re up to the task.
  • Hazard Awareness: Carrying Hazmat? You’ll need to know the ins and outs of handling dangerous goods with care.

Qualifications Required

Becoming a D.O.D. driver means ticking all the right boxes on the qualifications checklist:

  • Valid CDL: Your Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) is your passport to driving semi trucks.
  • Medical Examiner’s Certificate: This document proves your physical fitness based on a medical examination report.
  • Clearance: You may need security clearance to haul sensitive D.O.D. loads.
  • Experience: Previous truck driving experience, meeting specific criteria, often comes into play.

How To Become a D.O.D. Driver

Here’s how to steer your career toward becoming a D.O.D. driver:

  1. Obtain Your CDL: Without it, you’re not going anywhere. Get your CDL license from an accredited CDL school or program.
  2. Stay Healthy: Pass that physical examination with flying colors to get your medical examiner’s certificate.
  3. Gain Experience: Consider starting as a regular company or team driver to build your resume.
  4. Understand Regulations: Know the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR) and Hazmat requirements inside and out.
  5. Apply: Look for D.O.D. carrier opportunities that align with your qualifications and desired home time.

Department of Defense Trucking Companies

If you’re interested in applying for a truck driving job as a D.O.D. driver, here’s a few companies to contact directly. You’ll need to undergo a security clearance process, if they are hiring at the time you apply.

  1. ARC Transportation, Dallas, Texas
  2. G + G Transportation, Dallas-Ft Worth, Texas
  3. Boyle Transportation, Billerica, Massachusetts
  4. A.T.S., St. Cloud, Minnesota

Remember, being flexible with your availability could mean a better shot at those coveted positions, and potentially better pay.

Roles and Responsibilities

A D.O.D. truck being loaded with supplies by workers on a military base

In this section, you’ll get the lowdown on what a D.O.D. (Department of Defense) truck driver does and the specific requirements they face, including security clearances and safe handling of materials.

What Exactly Does a D.O.D. Driver Do?

As a D.O.D. truck driver, you’re not just hitting the road with cargo; you’re providing essential support to military operations. Your main gig involves:

  • Transporting a variety of goods, such as equipment, supplies, and sometimes classified materials, to and from military bases and other designated locations.
  • Operating different CMVs (Commercial Motor Vehicles) that are often more complex due to the sensitive nature of the cargo.
  • Coordinating closely with dispatchers to plan the safest and most efficient routes.
  • Following strict guidelines for vehicle maintenance, ensuring each transport meets the high safety standards required.

Security and Clearances

Now, let’s talk about the hush-hush side.

Dealing with D.O.D. shipments means you’ve got a few extra hoops to jump through:

  • Undergoing rigorous background checks to obtain necessary security clearances.
  • Maintaining a clean record, both on and off duty, since you’ll handle sensitive information and materials.
  • Being responsible for securing cargo with locks and seals, and performing detailed vehicle searches when necessary to ensure nothing compromises the integrity of the transport.

Remember, in this role, your responsibility goes beyond just taking cargo from point A to B; you’re a vital cog in the national security machine.

Passing The Background Check

  • The background check process for hauling exclusive TPS freight is rigorous and can pose a barrier to entry for drivers, especially those already part of a team.
  • Trucking companies must possess certifications for both TPS and AA&E freight, although some may only handle TPS freight.
  • Completion of the SF-86 form is required, a U.S. government questionnaire for background investigations.
  • The form demands comprehensive details, taking approximately four hours with prepared information or over eight hours if research is necessary.
  • Approval of the background check may take weeks or even a month.
  • On the form, you’ll be asked about citizenship, work and school history, where you’ve lived, family details, marital status, financial history, psychological health, drug use, foreign/professional activities, and criminal record.
  • Emphasis is placed on financial and family history to ensure trustworthiness.
  • Honesty on the form is crucial; approximate dates may be provided if exact details are unclear, but intentional withholding of information can raise red flags and jeopardize approval.
  • Incomplete information can delay the review process, so thoroughness is essential.

Job Demand For D.O.D. Drivers

A D.O.D. truck parked in a busy industrial yard, surrounded by stacks of shipping containers and heavy machinery

D.O.D. drivers are a critical component of the nation’s defense logistics, handling sensitive materials and ensuring that goods are moved efficiently.

Job demand for these positions typically remains steady, as the function of logistics and interstate commerce is essential to military operations.

As a driver, you may find yourself part of a team driver setup, where you and a partner alternate driving duties.

Being a driver in the D.O.D. sphere often requires a higher level of clearance and trust, adding to the job’s unique demands.

Aspect Details
Clearance Level Higher-than-average, due to sensitive cargo
Job Stability Steady, with critical role in national defense logistics
Working Environment Can involve long-haul interstate commerce and team driving setups

Specifically, a D.O.D. driver’s role might involve working closely with management and mechanics to ensure that vehicles are maintained and operations run smoothly.

So Just How Much Do D.O.D. Drivers Earn?

ATS is a trucking company that hires D.O.D. drivers.

They haul arms, ammo and explosives and take part in the Transportation Protective Services.

This freight needs constant supervision, clearance and surveillance.

ATS claims their drivers earn $6,000-$8000 per week.

These earnings reflect the income of the average team.

Although team drivers might cover fewer miles compared to their long-haul trips, their earnings are significantly higher.

This profession proves highly profitable due to the critical nature of the freight being transported.

When you advance in the ranks as a D.O.D. truck driver, your pay reflects your elite status.

Unlike some carriers where pay can be unpredictable, D.O.D. drivers often have access to competitive salaries that recognize the higher level of responsibility and risk involved.

An elite D.O.D. driver’s earning potential depends on

  • Experience: More experience can lead to higher pay
  • Material Type: Sensitive or hazardous materials often mean premium pay.
  • Role: Advancement into management roles offers increased earnings.

Remember, as a D.O.D. truck driver, you’re not just behind the wheel—you’re a key player in a crucial sector that demands efficiency and reliability.

Your pay ultimately reflects the critical nature of your role.

If this type of truck driving job appeals to you, check out a company that hires D.O.D. drivers, to apply.

The Challenges and Rewards of a D.O.D. Driv

No Doubt, You’ve Got to Be Tough

Being a D.O.D. truck driver isn’t a gig for the faint of heart.

You’re on the front lines of logistics, responsible for hauling critical supplies, sometimes under tough and demanding conditions.

  • Here are some of the challenges of the job:
    • Long hours away from your family.
    • Navigating tight scheduling to meet delivery deadlines.
    • Adhering to strict military transportation regulations.
    • Handling large, sometimes hazardous materials.


  • Monetary Rewards of a D.O.D. Driving Job
    • Competitive pay: Often higher than other driving gigs because of the risks and responsibilities.
    • Benefits: Solid health insurance, retirement plans, and sometimes housing allowances.
    • Adventure: You’re not stuck in an office; it’s the open road for you, with ever-changing scenery and challenges.
    • Pride: Knowing you support critical operations puts real weight behind what you do.

At The End of the Day…….

Remember, everyone’s experience is different.

So while there’s no sugarcoating the job, know that being a D.O.D. truck driver can be as good as you make it.

Your responsibility carries both the weight of the challenge and the heft of the rewards.

Not all trucking jobs are created equal, so take your time to find a carrier that ticks your boxes for flexibility, home time, and career growth.

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