Deployment opportunities open to civilians


RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas — Qualified Air Force civilians can broaden their career experience and bring valuable knowledge back to the workplace by volunteering for deployments in a variety of career fields, including civil engineering, contracting, intelligence, logistics management and security administration.

As part of the Department of Defense Civilian Expeditionary Workforce initiative, more civilians are heading overseas, from the rugged terrain of Afghanistan to the coastal plains of Djibouti, as DOD officials employ new and innovative ways to support national security.

Lucy Burgard, a maintenance support specialist at the Air Force Research Laboratory in Rome, N.Y., recently spent six months as a driver at an air base in Southwest Asia.

“At first I was concerned about being accepted because I was the first and only civilian to deploy to a transportation unit,” said the Air Force retiree. “But everyone did accept me just like I belonged in their military family ... Every day was a great experience. I tried to extend (but the position) was already filled for the next year.”

John Corcoran from Patrick Air Force Base, Fla., is in the queue to deploy. He said he’s looking forward to the opportunity to take part in this program.

“I have been in government service for 23 years and have never deployed,” Corcoran said. “I want to be able to have the same experiences as the people I work with.”

DOD officials currently are supporting or advertising more than 980 opportunities identified as noncombatant positions that can be filled by qualified DOD civilians. Volunteer opportunities can be found at the Civilian Expeditionary Workforce website:

When Air Force civilians find an opening they’re interested in, they need to visit the Civilian Community of Practice site on the AF Portal and download the volunteer statement. The statement should be completed with all pertinent information regarding the Civilian Expeditionary Workforce, or CEW, position they are seeking.

“The Air Force requires each volunteer to submit (his or her) volunteer statement and resume for approval prior to OSD selection,” emphasized Larry Davis from the Air Force Personnel Center. “Those who previously applied through the (Civilian Personnel Management Service) website should resubmit their application through the AF Portal for consideration.”

Opportunities advertised are generally for 6- to 12-month tours. Participation in the CEW program requires the favorable recommendation of the supervisor, commander and major command and Headquarters Air Force functional area managers. Final approval or disapproval is made at the Office of Secretary of Defense level.

Commanders should consult their local financial management office for information regarding reimbursement procedures through Overseas Contingency Operations funding.

When considering employees for deployment, officials hope supervisors consider the more diverse employee who will be returning to the work area, one who has a greater understanding of his or her role in support of expanding missions, joint knowledge, cultural expertise, practical field experience and enhanced leadership skills.

“The Air Force has a civilian corps of more than 170,000 dedicated members that support the Air Force mission every day,” said Michelle LoweSolis, director of civilian force integration at AFPC. “These civilian expeditionary workforce opportunities not only provide some relief to our military forces, they provide valuable experiences to our civilian workforce as well.”

For more information, visit the AFPC personnel services website and search the key words “civilian deployment.” Air Force civilians also can call the 24-hour Total Force Service Center at (800) 525-0102.


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