Every spy starts out ordinary at first. Just an everyday person in an everyday world.
I wasn’t any different.
My public school years weren’t that different from yours. There were too many students and too little money, so your dreams and ambitions had to take a back-seat just to get by.
The whole world seemed to revolve around Friday night football games and rumors about who was having sex with who… and who wasn’t.
And just like you, I felt trapped…
“I’m thinking about attending the US Air Force Academy.”
I told my 10th grade guidance counselor. His name was ‘Tom.’
“Um… kids from our school don’t go there. But if you keep your grades up, you can start earning college credit at the Community College your senior year!”
I can’t blame Tom for being wrong. He wasn’t an idiot or a fool… he was just okay with losing.
But I’m not.
By 2007 I had become the youngest US Air Force Officer in history to command 200 nuclear ICBMs from an underground bunker with the highest possible military security clearance.
“Captain Bustamante, I look forward to extending your Air Force Officer commission for another 5 years!”
She was the nicest Human Resource person ever to wear the uniform, but she was just as wrong as Tom.
“I’ve decided not to extend, ma’am. I think there is more success waiting for me out there than in here.”
Without any idea where that success would come from, I decided to volunteer myself to the harshest place imaginable: war-torn Africa.
Limited resources, no outside support, and total chaos – sounds like heaven, right?!
I knew I couldn’t save everybody, but I figured I could at least meet a cute, big-hearted hippie chick with hairy armpits and nerves of steel! And in true action-movie style, we’d go on missions filled with danger, witty banter and passionate love-making.
But halfway through my online application, a big red screen popped up…
“WAIT: you may qualify for other federal positions. Will you put your application on hold for 72 hours while federal recruiters contact you?”
And like any 27-year-old single male seeking adventure, I clicked ‘yes.’
An unlisted number from area code 703 called my phone 24 hours later.
“Andrew Bustamante, would you accept a plane ticket to a national security interview outside of Washington, D.C.?”
It felt like a joke until FedEx showed up at my door the next morning with the ticket and a hotel reservation.
This was exactly the adventure I was looking for…
My time at CIA was a whirlwind of chasing bad guys, shutting down terrorist plots, and stealing foreign secrets right under the nose of world leaders. And every victory was that much sweeter because I did it all with my big-hearted hippie wife (also recruited by the CIA on her way to Africa…)
We operated as a ‘tandem couple’ – an inside term used for legally married covert operatives – and while she wasn’t as hairy as I had once hoped, she was more fearless than I could have ever imagined.
“Andy… I’m pregnant.”
Life comes at you fast.
And finding out your wife is carrying your unborn child while serving undercover in a hostile country is an unforgettable moment of incredible fear and excitement…
How’s that for a rush, 27-year-old me?
Serving the American people in uniform and in alias was an incredible privilege.
But the life that the CIA wanted from us was not the life we wanted for our family. So to step into our new family, we had to leave our covert brothers and sisters to serve without us.
The transition back to ordinary life was the hardest thing I ever faced.
The CIA needed 2 years to review our operational history and required us to remain undercover even after we left.
We had no real work history, no professional references, and a poorly written fake resume written by a low-level CIA secretary.
After six months living broke in my in-law’s garage with a 1 year-old child, it hit me…
Stop looking at life as an everyday struggle and start living it like a CIA mission.
I took everything I had learned at CIA and applied it to my current situation…
I used spy social skills to network into a high-paying corporate job I wasn’t qualified for.
I used spy influence skills to build a professional reputation that made companies compete for me.
I used spy ops skills to transform the companies I worked for into highly productive, high-efficiency industry leaders.
Four years after moving my wife and child into a windowless garage, spy skills had completely changed our lives and we joined the top 3% of income-earning households in America!
That’s when we knew we had to share the skills the CIA taught us with the world.
You see, the future my wife and I want for our children can’t be built by us alone. It will take brave, hard-working people with incredible skills to make the world better.
The world needs heroes.
And heroes are made from everyday people… just like you and me.
Heroes aren’t born; they are trained. Trained to become smarter, stronger, and more capable than any bad guy they will ever face. That’s a mission I can’t ignore.
And that is an adventure you can’t turn down.
One Life. No Compromise.