|by Karen B. Keller-Kappaun
deploying to a combat zone must take certain steps
to prepare themselves and their families for the deployment.
In the early morning hours of 5 October 2005, the main body
of Headquarters, 3d Corps Support Command, boarded chartered
buses for the first leg of their deployment to Iraq in support
of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Among the group of more than 200
were 15 emergency-essential civilians (EECs) preparing to join
4 other civilians who had previously deployed with an advance
party. Deploying to a combat zone presents specific challenges
to civilian employees. This article, based on the experience
of those civilians, should prove useful to Federal civilian
employees who may deploy to combat zones in the future.
EECs are Department of Defense civilian employees who perform
specific battle tasks during a mobilization. Although most
deployed civilians hold positions designated as EEC, non-EEC
employees may provide short-term wartime support on a temporary
duty basis. Any civilian performing work in a combat zone,
regardless of previous position designation, becomes an EEC
for the period of his deployment and is therefore subject to
all regulations governing the deployment of civilian personnel.
Generally speaking, deployment, or short-term assignment, of
civilians to a combat zone should be considered only when—
The specific skill set required for mission
accomplishment is not readily available in the uniformed force
A civilian position cannot be converted to a military position
without interrupting critical combat operations.
Unlike military personnel, deployed civilians are noncombatants and are not entitled to certain
military benefits, such as tax-free earnings while serving in a combat zone. However, deployed civilians receive
danger pay and foreign post differential as required by Department of State regulations. They also are issued, or
reimbursed for, military uniforms, granted post exchange privileges, and authorized military medical care while
serving in a temporary duty capacity in designated combat zones.
Before the Army’s involvement in Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom, regulations on civilian deployment
were vague because most civilian deployments had been to relatively secure long-term assignments at semipermanent
military bases in Kosovo and the Balkans.
Because of its growing dependence on civilians to accomplish missions effectively, U.S. Army Europe (USAREUR) published guidance in
2005 governing the deployment of civilians. This guidance includes Army in Europe (AE) Regulation 69047, Civilian Personnel Deployment
and Redeployment, and AE Pamphlet 690471, Civilian Deployment Handbook, which provide the most recent requirements for preparing for
Whether serving in EEC or non-EEC positions, civilians must
ensure that their personal affairs at home station are in
that specific predeployment and training requirements are met
before they depart. They must complete a number of regulatory
tasks, including medical examinations, equipment issue, and
predeployment military training, including chemical warfare
aid, Soldier field survivor tasks, and a Geneva Conventions
familiarization course. Specific predeployment requirements
may differ from one
command to another. Civilian employees serving in EEC positions
should have previously completed all of these requirements.
Non-EEC employees who are volunteering to deploy in an EEC
begin basic EEC training requirements as soon as they are notified
that deployment is imminent.
Training is the cornerstone of deployment preparedness. However,
having the appropriate equipment
plays an equally important role in preparing for
deployment. Units should issue deploying civilians protective
masks and hoods and protective overgarments for chemical agent
exposure. Employees must use these items during chemical warfare
training and include them on their deployment packing list.
After their command issues a memorandum authorizing
them to draw military uniforms and equipment,
civilian employees should visit the central issue
facility to receive organizational clothing and individual
equipment, including protective vests, sleeping
bags, duffel bags, and Kevlar helmets. They also are required
to draw a desert camouflage uniform and
desert combat boots.
Deploying civilians are authorized up to $400 reimbursement
per fiscal year for expenditures for military clothing not
by the central issue facility. This reimbursement covers purchases
of t-shirts, socks, and other items bought at the post military
clothing sales store that are needed to complete deployment
Shortly before deployment, the community medical clinic conducts
a predeployment medical examination for each deploying civilian.
examination will be used to determine any pre-existing conditions
or medical issues that require attention
Commands will hold a predeployment processing (PDP) event 30
to 60 days before each deployment. PDPs provide a one-stop opportunity
to finalize predeployment requirements. Representatives from
the community legal office, medical clinic, civilian personnel
office, and command will be on hand to assist with powers of
attorney, wills, vehicle registration, immunizations, beneficiary
forms, and last-minute training requirements. PDP attendance
Civilians deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom are
not authorized to carry weapons. Although deployed civilians
are designated as noncombatants, service down range has its
share of risk. Civilian employees are encouraged to update
life insurance policies, legal authorization documents, and
financial investments before they deploy. Federal beneficiary
the Thrift Savings Plan, unpaid compensation, the retirement
system, and Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance should
be updated with a civilian personnel advisory center representative.
Civilian employees must register in the Civilian Tracking System
and the Emergency Contact Data System before they deploy and
should regularly update those systems with changes in location,
contact information, or expected deployment dates. Their servicing
civilian personnel advisory centers can provide assistance with
civilian in uniform stands in a formation at a farewell
ceremony before he deploys with a unit to Iraq.
Professional Development Opportunities
Deployed civilians have a unique opportunity to take advantage
of their “captive” deployment time. Because the
activities available during free time are limited, civilians
are encouraged to participate in professional development training,
such as the Supervisor Development Course, Manager Development
Course, and Action Officer Development Course that are available
on line through the Civilian Personnel Online Web site at http://cpol.army.mil/.
Many universities have special arrangements with U.S. forces
overseas and offer distance education coursework for students
interested in pursuing associate’s, bachelor’s,
or master’s degrees. The Army Distance Learning Program
Web site, www.aimsrdl.atsc.army.mil/secured/accp_top.htm,
offers training in specific occupational areas and can provide
and introductory training in occupational areas unrelated to
a civilian’s career code.
In any 6-month period, students may earn as many as 16 credit
hours at participating colleges and universities through various
online programs and up to 80 hours of Army classroom training
and continuing education credits.
A deployed civilian often performs slightly different tasks
in a deployed environment than he does at home station. For
this reason, it is important that the employee and his supervisor
develop a clear set of performance standards for the job that
the employee will be performing while deployed. A civilian
employee who deploys should take advantage of the opportunity
to let his deployment experience address his outstanding service.
When writing accomplishments at the end of the rating period,
he should highlight the time spent deployed and clearly identify
any leadership abilities and extra responsibilities he assumed
during the deployment.
Deployment also might become a ticket to future employment
opportunities. The Department of Defense automated civilian
resumé system, Resumix, should be updated with all deployment
accomplishments and include points of contact outside of the
employee’s immediate chain of command that can be contacted
to verify new skills and abilities. A good list of networking
contacts is also helpful for future job searches.
Special opportunities for rest and recuperation (R&R) travel
may exist for civilians who deploy for a 1-year period. According
to the current U.S. Central Command and USAREUR regulations
on civilian deployment, the R&R program authorizes payment
for all airline expenses for civilian employees to the location
of their choice. Ticketing to the airport nearest the leave
address is arranged in the theater of operations. However,
the final decision about R&R eligibility lies with the
theater commander. More information on R&R for civilians
is available at the USAREUR Civilian Personnel Directorate
Web site at www.per.hqusareur.army.mil/rr/details.htm or
from a unit resource management representative.
Once a deployment is concluded, and before they are transported
back to home station, employees must complete a postdeployment
questionnaire and have a tuberculin skin test. As part of postdeployment
processing, employees are required to receive followup medical
examinations and a reading of the tuberculin skin test within
a specified period of time. Employees will be instructed on
specific procedures before departing for their home stations.
Toward the end of their deployment, civilians should think
about the upcoming redeployment and home station reintegration
procedures. All deployed personnel are required to complete
a postdeployment questionnaire that enables healthcare professionals
to gauge their physical and mental health. Civilians should
complete the questionnaires thoroughly and honestly since access
to military medical treatment facilities at Government cost
will be limited after they return from deployment. Medical
conditions caused by deployment conditions should be well documented
in the employees’ military treatment facility records
and post-deployment questionnaires before redeployment. Employees
who feel that they have valid claims for continued medical
compensation should speak directly with their servicing civilian
personnel advisory center representatives.
Civilians and their family members are encouraged to use the
family resources available to them in their communities. Army
Community Services, chaplain’s offices, and military
treatment facilities all employ professionals to assist returning
employees with reintegration into their families. Information
concerning civilian redeployment is available on the USAREUR
Civilian Personnel Directorate Web site at www.per.hqusareur.army.mil/cpd/contingency_info/redeployment.htm.
Civilian personnel deploying to a combat zone face a number
of challenges that are different from those they face at home
station. To prepare for these challenges, civilians must complete
specific training and other preparations before they deploy.
Knowing what they must do to prepare themselves and their families
for deployment will help ease the deployment process.
Karen B. Keller-Kappaun is attending the
Defense Comptrollership Program at Syracuse University. She
was the Chief of Manpower and Management at Headquarters,
3d Corps Support Command, in Wiesbaden, Germany, when she
wrote this article. She has a B.A. degree in German studies
from the University of Maryland, University College, and
a B.S. degree in labor and industrial relations from Pennsylvania