Where do soldiers go after they are discharged from military service? Some go home, some, get back into the fight.
My original incarnation of the Rangers was as a pseudo mercenary unit, I later shifted them into government military but have maintained that there will be military contractors in the story.
This soldier is from a notable merc unit, which largely employs ex Rangers, and has attained the industry and political leverage to acquire some of their restricted technology. The regular joke is "buy everyone's gear and rent it back to them"
This Elemental isn't quite the real deal though. The technology and a skilled pilot are there. Only the lack of highly potent learning AI and it's coupling with the pilot and machine will prevent the suit and pilot from becoming what they're truly capable of. Hence the abundance of additional combat gear.
:: ps, old art throwback included too ::