An Army civilian employee, left, speaks with an Army officer before undergoing training at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, in August 2008. The Defense Department is developing a more formal process for deploying civilian employees to war zones. (File photo / Army)
The Defense Department is developing a more formal process for deploying civilian employees to war zones.
After nearly 10 years of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan — wars that have depended upon the support of deployed federal civilians — Defense offices are starting to strain because of their employees' absences, Anthony Stamilio, the Army's deputy assistant secretary for civilian personnel and quality of life, said Wednesday at the Association of the U.S. Army conference. When civilians volunteer to go overseas, their jobs remain unfilled until they return, which makes it difficult for their home offices to accomplish their missions.
Stamilio said a more organized approach is necessary, with a separate structure to organize how civilians are deployed and to lessen the burden on home offices while they are gone.
"Our approach to deploying civilians … is ad hoc at best," Stamilio said. "We've been doing that for a real long time, so the impact has been significant."
Stamilio would not offer any details on the new system, but said it will be unveiled "in the very near term." Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Michele Flournoy is now reviewing the proposal, he said.