By Thomas Harding of The Telegraph (Filed: 14/02/2005) The number of SAS troopers leaving for lucrative jobs in the security industry has prompted the regiment to write to all soldiers urging them to stay. A letter from the regiment's headquarters has told all the SAS's 300 front-line soldiers that "it would be in everyone's best interests" if they remained in service. An estimated 120 former Special Air Service and Special Boat Service troops have left, swapping a junior NCO's wage of about Â£2,000 a month for as much as Â£14,000 a month working as security co-ordinators in Iraq or Afghanistan. The letter is said to have told soldiers to consider their loyalty to the regiment and the kudos of being in the SAS. "This has always been an issue," an SAS soldier said yesterday. "It is not the young ones that they are worried about but the senior NCOs who are so important. "If they lose middle management they lose all that experience for the future and they are desperate to keep that experience there." One former 22 SAS soldier now working in security estimated that 120 former Special Forces men are working for security firms in Iraq. Some are earning Â£450 a day, or Â£14,000 a month, working for firms such as Kroll, Controlled Risks and Armour Security. The former soldier, who had just one week off in his last two years in the SAS, said: "They cannot stop people from leaving. The SAS lifestyle is extremely demanding and not really conducive to family life or long-term relationships. On the security circuit you have the potential to earn very high wages combined with an attractive working rotation, invariably one month on, one month off." While wages, pensions and life insurance have been addressed in recent years, the SAS still has substantial commitments around the world. Workload cannot be addressed, said the former soldier, "because the men are deployed all over the place". The United States Defence Department has offered its most experienced special forces a bonus of $150,000 (Â£80,000) to sign on for six years to stem an exodus to security jobs, it was announced last week. The two SAS Territorial Army regiments are also experiencing manning problems and weekend training has been threatened due to lack of numbers. Some TA have been granted permission for up to a year's leave of absence but others have left for the private sector. TA SAS soldiers, who have a similar selection process to their regular colleagues, are obliged to undertake a certain number of days' training a year. With about 120 front-line "sabre" trained troops each, the TA regiments cannot afford to lose many more. "The TA are struggling with manning, especially 21 SAS," said an SAS insider. "Drill nights and weekend training are especially suffering." A former TA SAS soldier said: "The regiment is going to find it difficult because sums just don't add up to replace those who have buggered off." The troop losses are also affecting the northern-based 23 SAS, which does not have the large number of well-paid doctors, lawyers and city workers found in the southern-based 21 SAS. A senior SAS source said there had been a loss of TA soldiers. He said: "It has not been astronomical or a massive haemorrhaging of talent because a lot of blokes have been deployed operationally anyway," he said. "It has not had a detrimental effect as yet." An MoD source did not deny that a number of soldiers had left for security jobs. While it is not MoD policy to comment on Special Forces, a spokesman said the appeal of "operating in elite units of the British Armed forces remains a very strong draw for our most exceptional people". He added: "Members of all TA regiments are entitled to full-time employment of their choice, this is the same for the TA SAS regiments."