Everybody knows that a contracted company provides airplanes, tanks and clothing, but our conception of our military doesn’t generally include civilians out there with them. Fortunately for a multitude of federal contractors, this perception is quite mistaken. The biggest problem is confusion between the definition of a defense contractor and a private military contractor. Defense contractors are strictly civilians, providing only those products or services that do not involve direct combat or in a combat zone.
One of the bigger areas in which you’ll often find civilians working alongside military is in service capacities. While the military is more than capable of providing its own food in many circumstances, often they’ll opt to have a catering company come in and do it more efficiently. Laundry, dry cleaning, and many other amenities you can find on most military bases are all often provided by civilian contractors. Military support services is a huge industry for civilians, both at home and overseas.
Another area you’ll often find civilian contractors working alongside military is in on-site construction. After all, somebody needs to build the bases and housing for military installations all over the world. The military does keep its own engineers and construction crews, but again, it’s often more efficient to hire a full construction contractor who does it all the time for a variety of clients.
Logistics management for anything from supply to ordnance is yet another area in which you’ll often find civilian contractors working with military. The military often needs non-military personnel to handle administrative capacities in order to free our military volunteers for more vital work, especially now with the military personnel crunch we’re having. Warehouse coordinators, shipping coordinators, transportation managers, and purchasing supervisors are just a few of the huge number of logistics and coordination jobs our military needs to fill.
Qualified mechanics are always in demand, all over the world. Whether you’re trained in standard vehicle repair, hydraulic systems maintenance, computer technology troubleshooting, or the latest complex tank upkeep, the military probably has a place for you as a civilian contractor. Again, while these positions do exist within the military itself, they’re often in rather short supply and must be put in the most strategic positions. Who’s going to do it everywhere else?
Last, but certainly not least, the military needs knowledgable specialists to train their personnel in various activities and equipment use. Who trains military computer technicians on the brand new software that just came out? The civilian developers, of course. Civilian trainers work with military people on everything from language to computers to logistics to cultural studies. Military support services is a huge industry for civilians, both at home and overseas.
If you’ve got a skill the military can use and a will to serve our country somewhere in the world, it’s a fair bet that the military will find a place for you as a civilian contractor. As in any other demanding job, flexibility, creativity and a good sense of perspective in addition to your skills can take your career to heights you never dreamed of.