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Contrary to common belief, the United States military services employ an extremely large number of civilians for a large variety of purposes. As early as the dawn of the nation’s history, American military forces have depended heavily upon civilian employees to provide mission critical assets. In 1776, civilians were widely used to drive wagons, produce uniforms and other goods, for carpentry, and for construction projects. Today, civilians make up an important component of the United States armed services. Today, civilians are regularly hired by the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, and the Coast Guard. These civilians work in sectors such as medicine, information technology, diplomacy and international relations, contract management, social work and mental health services, human resources, budget and finance, engineering, and much more.
The United States Army employs a massive number of civilians. Over 330,000 men and women work in innumerable professions within the Army. These personnel are not active duty or uniformed military personnel, but still provide critical services and support to enlisted military personnel. Jobs are available throughout the country, and a large number of army civilian jobs are available abroad.
When Applying for Army Civilian Jobs Do you need Military Experience?
Civilians that work for the United States Army do not necessarily need to have prior military service experience. Many of the personnel that work for the United States Army do so precisely because they have been educated and trained to develop skill sets that are vastly different that those that are expected in uniformed service personnel. As a result, most civilians employed by the United States Army work in positions where they indirectly support army facilities, operations, and goals. This allows the army to more efficiently utilize uniformed personnel in order to complete various tasks that are not directly related to critical military functions. For instance, it makes sense to train enlisted Army personnel to repair, maintain, and troubleshoot a piece of equipment such as an armored personnel carrier or a helicopter. This allows enlisted personnel the flexibility to repair this sort of machinery at home, and in combat situations – there is a direct mission advantage associated with training enlisted personnel to perform these tasks.
On the other hand, it might not make sense to train enlisted personnel to deal with supply chain networks that allow the Army to purchase the parts and supplies necessary to maintain and repair these types of machinery. For example, a civilian Army worker with practical experience in the business world might be employed by the army in order to negotiate agreements with parts vendors, determine whether contractors should be employed, and to purchase and manage the distribution of parts to various military bases. As demonstrated by this hypothetical example, it is easy to see that there are plenty of jobs where a soldier’s training either conveys no knowledge or skills that would help in achieving certain tasks, or where training a solider to complete these tasks would represent a mis-allocation of personnel resources that could be better used to deal with issues directly related to combat or defense needs.
Benefits for Veterans and for the Family of Service Members
That said, many civilians and veterans that work for the United States Army do have enlisted military service under their belt. These civilians have retired from enlisted service, but return to work for the Army as a regular civilian. There are a number of reasons why they might do this. For instance, working at a military facility might allow them to remain close to family and friends that live nearby, or they might want to remain immersed in military culture. For some types of jobs, hiring a former enlisted service member can possibly save the Army large amounts of money on training, since the person being hired might be familiar with processes, technologies, and protocols that are utilized in certain applications. Plus, certain types of civilian military jobs require that civilian workers attain security clearance. Attaining various levels of security clearance is often a process that takes a considerable amount of time – sometimes, many months. As a result, persons with existing security clearances in good standing – such as recently retired military personnel – are often valuable assets when filling openings for Army civilian jobs.
In addition, civilian family members of enlisted personnel are often employed by the United States Army. Civilian spouses, and sometimes even children, can be employed to work in a number of capacities in and around military bases at home and abroad. In some cases, those making hiring decisions favor those with an enlisted service member in their household, as individuals from ‘military families’ often integrate into professional life within the Army much more effectively than individuals without any direct or regular contact with service members. Plus, employing family members of enlisted personnel provides a way for the Army to ensure that the spouses of active duty service members are able to supplement their family income, and to utilize and develop their professional skill-sets while their significant other is assigned to a military base located in a foreign country or a remote part of the United States. In a way, hiring these civilian workers provides a means for the military to provide additional support to military families living at home and abroad.
Army Civilian Jobs – Contract Employment within the United States Army
Civilians also frequently work with the United States Army as “contract” employees. These employees work for the Army in the sense that they perform maintenance, training, construction, and other essential services and tasks for the Army, but they are not directly employed by the Army. Instead, they work for a firm that specializes in “contract” services for government agencies and departments. This means that the Army can save money by paying these firms to send their employees to work on behalf of the Army. Cost savings are realized because it means that the Army does not have to manage these personnel, is not responsible for paying for their benefits or retirement plans, and does not need to worry about hiring or moving personnel to fulfill temporary project requirements. As a result, more and more civilians that work for the United States Army do so in a ‘contract’ position.