In 2009, the United States Department of Defense began to construct a civilian expeditionary workforce. This was at the command of Defense Department Directive 1404.10, which was intended to carry out President Barack Obama’s mission of establishing a comprehensive civilian national security force. This workforce is a pool of American civilians that are trained to deploy equipment and support overseas, as a component of United States military operations occurring abroad. The program is intended to train and ready civilian employees to perform a variety of tasks related to equipment deployment, repair, and maintenance, as well as other support tasks – so that uniformed military personnel can be better allocated to positions that actually require the skills and talents of soldiers, sailors, and airmen. The program is intended to draw on the talents of the Department of Defense’s civilian employees.
What Does the Civilian Expeditionary Workforce Do?
In many ways, the civilian expeditionary workforce will represent the first line of support for military personnel carrying out missions when abroad. As a result, some of those that elect to serve in the civilian expeditionary workforce will be asked to sign an agreement that they will deploy to wherever the Department of Defense needs them, if such deployment should ever become necessary. If the employee does not wish to deploy at that time, initially, efforts will be made to assign that employee to a non-deploying position. However, even if volunteers are sought after in order to meet initial personnel deployment requirements, the Department of Defense does reserve the right to compel individuals to deploy on short notice. In these instances, deployment would be involuntary.
Deployments will result in tours of duty that will not exceed two years. Those that are deployable will undergo rigorous training, receive necessary equipment, and other preparation in order to help carry out overseas support missions. These missions, carried out at the United States Department of Defense or its various components, will entail everything from support of humanitarian operations, to support of reconstruction activities, to combat support missions (if necessary).
Who is Eligible to Join the Civilian Expeditionary Workforce?
To be eligible for employment, and deployment, all participants in this program will undergo medical testing before and after their deployment. This medical testing includes both a physical health assessment, as well as a psychological/mental health examination. The program is open to former and/or retired civilian employees of the United States government that wish to return to federal employment on a limited basis. In addition, active civilian employees of the United States federal government are eligible, though the program is mostly in need of individuals working in a civilian capacity for the Department of Defense. Whenever a Department of Defense worker is pulled away from their normal responsibilities in order to serve overseas, they will be granted to the right to return to the same positions that they held before their deployment, or to a similar position of a similar grade, level, and responsibility, within the same organization. This guarantee applies to members of the civilian expeditionary workforce regardless of the length of their deployment.
Whenever a member of the civilian expeditionary workforce is called for deployment, they (and their families) will receive support from the Department of Defense, and will be provided with information that describes the benefits, entitlements, and privileges that are associated with participation in the program. In addition, they will receive information in issues that will be faced in relation to the employee’s service, as well as what to expect whenever an employee in the civilian expeditionary workforce returns home. In addition, those Department of Defense employees that are deployed abroad will become eligible for military medical support while they are carrying out their tour of duty abroad – which ensures that they will receive only the very best medical care.
Why Do we Need the Civilian Expeditionary Workforce?
The aim of the civilian expeditionary force program is to establish a civilian national security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, and just as well funded as the United States military forces. Civilian expeditionary workforce employees are expected to respond to issues such as combat support, emergency operations, military contingencies, humanitarian missions, disaster relief, drug interdiction, and other civil actions intended to establish peace, order, and stability. Since the creation of the civilian expeditionary workforce program, civilian expeditionary workers have provided direct support to operations such as Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom, and Operation Unified Response. As a result, civilian employees have been deployed to locations such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Haiti.
To prepare members of the civilian expeditionary workforce for their deployments, rigorous training is provided. Employees are trained on how to interact with combat patrols, how to deal with enemy contact, and other emergency situations. In addition, their training often involves a very large amount of interaction with uniformed United States military personnel, in order to familiarize both soldiers and the civilian employees with each other. Two large training programs for the civilian expeditionary workforce are currently in place at the United States Army’s Camp Atterbury and Camp Muscatatuck bases. Here, the civilian employees receive their training, assignments, and undergo the very same screening procedures that United States military personnel must undergo prior to their deployment.
Additional Useful Information
In addition to helping support military operations overseas, the civilian expeditionary workforce program also provides valuable professional experience for the civilian employees that participate. In addition to providing individuals with an arena in which to practice and hone their skills in the real world, the program provides valuable insight into Department of Defense activities that most civilian employees would never encounter. For instance, civilians that are deployed alongside soldiers can gain valuable knowledge by observing soldiers and the way in which their user their equipment and weapons in the field. This allows the civilian employee to gain first-hand, experiential knowledge of whether or not the tools and equipment that the Department of Defense is providing soldiers is actually effective. Whenever these employees return to their civilian jobs, they can provide their co-workers and superiors with real-life examples and experience that can help them make better decisions for the benefit of national interests and national security.
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