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I am a DoD civilian contract specialist with an agency that does not deploy any of its civilians to the Middle East (or anywhere). I have heard much about how the DoD desperately needs contract specialists to deploy to the Middle East (and other locations) and I am willing to go. I have been trying to find opportunities to deploy, but I have not had any luck. I have submitted applications with the Civilian Expeditionary Workforce, various USAjobs notices, Army Contracting Command, and other places, but I have not received any responses.

I have about one year of experience, which I thought would be enough. Any advice?

Also, I would appreciate any general thoughts on deploying to the Middle East as a contract specialist.

Thanks!

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Guest Vern Edwards
I have submitted applications with the Civilian Expeditionary Workforce, various USAjobs notices, Army Contracting Command, and other places, but I have not received any responses.

Be aggressive. Get names and phone numbers. Telephone people. Call them every day. Keep at it. They are contracting people, after all, which means that it takes them forever to get anything done unless you push them.

I saw some openings in Afghanistan at USA Jobs. They must need people. Get the name of the military commander and call him or her. Tell him you've submitted applications, but haven't heard back. Get General Petraeus's email address and write to him. Tell him you want to serve, but that you can't get anyone to respond. I'm not kidding. That's what I would do. Bypass the stateside bureaucrats and go directly to the overseas office chiefs.

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I considered applying, and contacted CEW -- they told me there is no agreement between the Departments of Defense (where CEW is) and Agriculture (where I am) -- so I cannot apply with any hope of return rights. I have many years of experience and a warrant and everything else. I guess they don't want me, either, or at least not enough to make an agreement with the Agriculture Department to allow persons like me to help the effort.

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ji, first I commend you on wanting to deploy. To me is one of the most rewarding and fun things you can do. In my travels over there the majority of the civilians I've met have been with ACE, DCMA, or contractors. I agree with Vern if you want to go over make some phone calls or think about moving to another organization. Good luck!

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At the very least you'll need to be a GS-12 and Lvl 2 certified. From the briefings I've had on the subject they repeat the same phrase: "War isn't a training environment. They want experienced people." The civilians I've known that were deployed were all GS-13's or above.

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Be aggressive. Get names and phone numbers. Telephone people. Call them every day. Keep at it. They are contracting people, after all, which means that it takes them forever to get anything done unless you push them.

I saw some openings in Afghanistan at USA Jobs. They must need people. Get the name of the military commander and call him or her. Tell him you've submitted applications, but haven't heard back. Get General Petraeus's email address and write to him. Tell him you want to serve, but that you can't get anyone to respond. I'm not kidding. That's what I would do. Bypass the stateside bureaucrats and go directly to the overseas office chiefs.

Albeit obvious you may want to proof read your email, review its content for appropriateness, prior to sending it to a GO or other senior official. For example, avoid "Hey General P Id be like deploying cause Im good at contracting." :)

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I am a DoD civilian contract specialist with an agency that does not deploy any of its civilians to the Middle East (or anywhere). I have heard much about how the DoD desperately needs contract specialists to deploy to the Middle East (and other locations) and I am willing to go. I have been trying to find opportunities to deploy, but I have not had any luck. I have submitted applications with the Civilian Expeditionary Workforce, various USAjobs notices, Army Contracting Command, and other places, but I have not received any responses.

I have about one year of experience, which I thought would be enough. Any advice?

Also, I would appreciate any general thoughts on deploying to the Middle East as a contract specialist.

Thanks!

I work for the US Army Corps of Engineers - It appears as if the personnel deploying are primarily GS-12 or above 1102s with at least 5 years of experience on a TDY basis for up to 6 months and under a PCS with return rights for up to one year. All of the 1102s that have deployed were warranted contracting officers. Each was a graduate of the DAU contingency contracting course and at least CON Level II certified. My opinion - one year is not enough unless that year was spent in a contingency contracting environment. If you e-mail Gen Petraeus, be prepared for whatever the consequences may be - positive or negative. I spent 20 years in the military and that is a HUGE jump in the chain of command. I admire your willingness to service in a contingency environment, I just think it is too soon in your contracting career. I encourage you to expand your knowledge base, your practical experience, and your educational endeavors.

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Guest Vern Edwards

He/she is not in the command and is thus not bound by the chain of command. He/she wants to be in the command. There will be no consequences for writing to General Petraeus, other than possibly being ignored. Fortune favors the bold. (Motto of the 3d Marines and many others.)

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My experience for both senior militray and non-military leaders is they like hearing from people, especially those wanting to help in some way but can't get through the normal channels. I can't remember any instances of negative fall out from avoiding the chain of command either.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Are you open to going as a contractor? I just deployed to Afghanistan as an acquisition support contractor. If you don't mind leaving federal service, it can be the quickest path out here. I had also applied to civilian positions (I was a GS-13 prior to this current job) and found that although the hiring process was going more quickly than typical for civ jobs with the Army, it was still quite slow. I really have not encountered anyone DoD civilian employees out here lower than GS-12...most seem to be 13s.

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I should add, for what it's worth, a good number of the DoD civilian 1102s I have encountered up here do not seem to have contracting knowledge comensurate with the number of years experience they claim to have. And do not worry about not having taking the contingency contracting course, this place is honestly a complete cluster. The most important thing you need professionally to do well out here is the ability to be savy and the ability to be flexible. You will get pulled in more competing directions than you thought possible. This is not the place for someone without a strong contracting background.

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Thank you all for your thoughts, encouragement, and advice; they are very much appreciated. I am open to going as a fed or as a contractor. I am continuing to contact as many people as possible, both in the US and in the Middle East in search of a command that will take me. I intend to keep pushing until I find a way to make it happen!

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  • 4 weeks later...

Greetings,

I am currently in the process of deploying this coming late Fall '11. I'm enrolled in the Deployable Civilian Contracting Cadre Program which is spearheaded by Army Contracting Command (ACC). Basic requirement is a Level II certification and a minimum of two years experience in contracting which has some exceptions. A quick backgorund on myself: I was in an 1102 internship program a year and a half ago, just got my lvl II certification last month, and currently working on my pre deployment processing paper work.

I've spoken with fellow peers that have done contingency contracting and their feedback is: (1) work is constant - pulling 12 - 16 hour workdays. (2) you have to be comfortable with your knowledge in contracting. (3) you do a lot of reach back work (i.e., working with personnel back in the U.S. for some/most procurements).

Which DoD agency do you work for? Is it Army - it wasn't clear, if so I can give you a POC... I just do not want to disclose it here :D

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