BTU #71 - Jeff Tiegs: 25 Years of Army Counter Terrorism to the Guardian Group

“I don't think that it's easy for people to recognize what their calling is. One, you really have to listen. And sometimes you get pulled into things that you weren't ready for. My wife and I did not plan on leaving a very difficult life as a counter terrorism family to pursue... this. To dig into this really vile crime. We thought we were going to retire in the mountains, and kind of gallop off into the sunset and work leadership issues and things like that. And as I got more called to this problem set, there's a certain amount of duty and obedience you have to walk through and sometimes that can be difficult."– Jeff Tiegs

Jeff Tiegs is a Counter Terrorism and Counter Insurgency Expert with over 25 years in US Army Special Operations. His combat experience includes operations around the globe to include multiple tours in Afghanistan and Iraq. He is applying this expertise to Counter Trafficking in the United States and is the Chief Operating Officer for Guardian Group. Guardian Group is a non-profit that works with law enforcement to illuminate, disrupt, prosecute and relentlessly pursue child predators. After his transition from the Army, he attended Breakline Education, which we talked about in Episode 54 with Bethany Coates.

The top three reasons to listen to today’s show are:

  1. Experience - Jeff joined the Army when he was just 17 years old and served with Army Special Operations for 25 years. He’s one of the few people I’ve had on the show who transitioned into a career that puts these exact same skills to use but in the civilian sector, and it’s an incredible story.
  2. Doing Good - Jeff is one of the few people I’ve met - in my life - where it seems like he has a calling rather than a career. I’m inspired by how he followed that calling, even though it wasn’t what he thought he wanted to do after the military. He is putting his skills to use in a way that is clearly making the world a better place, and it’s really inspiring.
  3. Second revolution - Jeff talks about WW2’s impact on world and veterans lead a revolution in starting small businesses. He talks about how today is following a second trend, and I found it very energizing.


To help the Guardian Group in their fight against child predators, you can help encourage hotels to go through the Guardian Group Silver Seal program. This will help hotels recognize child trafficking activities, and is a crucial initial step in stopping this pattern. For your favorite hotel chain, you can can use the following template:

  • @[hotel chain] please join the @GuardianGroupGG Silver Seal program to help put an end human trafficking #IAmAGuardian
    • Example: @marriott please join the @GuardianGroupGG Silver Seal program to help put an end human trafficking #IAmAGuardian
    • Guardians - Support us in your community, on social media, and with your talents (use #IAmAGuardian)
    • Partners- Collaborate with Guardian Group with goods and services
    • Donors - Give in a way that helps us sustain current operations
    • Sponsors - Commit to help us expand operations and hire veterans into this Fight
    • Funders - Fully fund a year or more of our operations and national expansion


Audible is offering one FREE audio book to Beyond the Uniform listeners. You can claim this offer here, and see a list of books recommended by my guests at

Selected Links

Show Notes

  • 2:39 - Jeff's background, joining the Army at 17 and serving in counter terrorism for twenty-five years
  • 3:35 - How Jeff decided to leave the Army after 25 years of service, and how this was a very gradual process for Jeff
  • 5:50 - Jeff and I discuss how this is a calling - not a career - for Jeff, and he followed that calling
  • 7:35 - What lead Jeff to Breakline and what his experience was like while there
  • 9:35 - How Jeff was first connected to the Guardian Group and how he found his way to join them. He talks about how callings are never overnight, and that it happened after a chance encounter at a retirement ceremony that - years later - turned into a job
  • 11:23 - Jeff provides an overview of the Guardian Group and the work that they do
  • 14:15 - How Jeff found a very purpose-driven career after the Army, and one that utilizes his specific training from within the military. He also talks about the trend after WW2 for veterans to start companies, and how we are in a second revolution now similar to this
  • 17:25 - Jeff and I discuss the power of passion - how mission and vision can drive us to achieve more in our civilian career
  • 21:26 A look at what Jeff's day-to-day life looks like as COO at the Guardian Group
  • 24:48 - How listeners can support the Guardian Group; even if you don't want to work with the Guardian Group, tactical steps you can take - today - to support their cause
  • 29:29 - Jeff shares a short story, of Emily, and how they helped her. It's a powerful example of what the Guardian Group does
  • 33:18 - For listeners who are interested in applying to the Guardian Group or working in this space, advice that Jeff would give
  • 40:00 - The most challenging part of Jeff's job (hint... you've heard it before... it's about having to ask for money and fundraise for his company)
  • 41:37 - Jeff's final words of wisdom