Civilian Contractors Don’t Belong On Base

I don’t think it’s fair that civilian contractors get to work on a military base, whether at home or at a deployed location. They typically receive more money and similar benefits, but don’t have to sign up for the commitment. The only time contractors should be allowed on base is to do very specified work; otherwise, all jobs on base should be military positions. I’m not talking about working at the BX or the shoppette, those can be reserved for civilians, but finance, human resources, contracting, and information technology jobs should be set aside for military personnel.

I worked as a civilian contractor at the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C. for a few months and I can tell you it was a completely different experience from active duty. I felt like a part of the military group because I had just separated from the Air Force, but I noticed a big difference between military and civilians. Civilian contractors can’t begin to understand how or why military personnel act or talk the way they do. There will always be friction and never full compatibility between the two groups, not to mention the security risks that are involved with having so many civilians work on a base.

Military members understand that they can be searched any time and value their safety. Civilians were responsible for three out of the six major shootings that occurred on military bases between December 2012 and April 2014. That’s not to say that every civilian contractor has a vendetta against military personnel, but it’s asking for trouble to have so many people come and go on base.

Often, jobs in finance, human resources and information technology are contracted out.
Often, jobs in finance, human resources and information technology are contracted out.

Gone is the era when civilian contractors could make BIG bucks while deployed. Certain contractors were jumping at the chance to deploy because they were getting paid six figures to be there, with housing and transportation provided. Normally, I would think it’s great of someone to volunteer to do something somewhere that no one else wanted to do. But, they are doing it surrounded by military personnel who aren’t getting paid six figures to work 12-hour days, 7 days a week.

At home, it seems like civilian contractors throw it in your face that they get to leave on time or aren’t forced to volunteer for anything. When they have to show for mandatory fun or wingman days, they are paid for it. They can find a new job whenever they want, so they aren’t necessarily loyal to the unit. It’s even worse that they seem to fill the “easy” positions, while the government expects the military personnel to fill the “hard” spots.

They typically aren’t held to the same standard of work that military members are held to, which makes it difficult to get the job done. Military members can be working their asses off while a contractor takes their time and doesn’t contribute. Not much can be done because many contractors are subcontracted out, with their main boss or supervisor at a different location.

In the end, it’s not fair that the military is cutting back its forces while hiring more contractors to pick up the slack. If they want to be hired for specific tasks that’s fine, but they shouldn’t have to intermingle with military members.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

Emily Ruch

Emily Ruch was born in Minnesota and raised in central California before joining the Air Force at the age of 17. While serving in the Air Force, Emily worked in the Base Command Post specializing in Emergency Management. She didn’t travel the world as expected, but spent time in west Texas, Washington D.C., plus a short deployment in Southeast Asia. Instead of traveling, Emily spent most of her time on education, cultivating friendships with coworkers, and enjoying her surroundings. She was lucky enough to meet her husband of seven years while serving in Texas. Emily left the service after six years and began working as a correspondence coordinator for the Department of Energy. Now she is a stay-at-home-mom with her 10-month-old son and three dogs.
Emily Ruch

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3 thoughts on “Civilian Contractors Don’t Belong On Base

  1. I spent two years in Afghanistan as a civilian contractor to HQ ISAF. I got on the plane at Ramstein less than two weeks after leaving the Army, so I’d say I had a pretty good understanding of how the military worked and acted. Almost everyone in my office was ex-UK or Canadian military as well – the exceptions were an ex-RCMP intelligence analyst and a former Turkish Army colonel – so we had a very good, highly trained and motivated team. Yes, there are bad contractors, but the good ones fill roles that you won’t find military personnel for – how many SNCOs can you really allocate to a database cell? – and provide continuity because they’re there for longer.

    1. Fergus,
      As I stated in the article, I worked as a civilian contractor weeks after separating from AD as well. Prior military personnel are the best candidates for contractors. I spoke with over 15 active duty personnel about this topic and they all had horrifying experiences with contractors. They could name one or two contractors that were okay to work with, but the rest never seemed to live up to their military standards.

  2. Former Airman Emily Ruch violates multiple rules of logical argument and generalizes DOD contractors. There is no mention of the many contractors who are former or retired military personnel and the military installations that are comprised predominantly of contractors–where work continues to march forward without a military culture. Perhaps Ruch should remember the US military is an all volunteer force and there are many AFSCs that have potential of attractive contractor pay and private sector jobs, too.
    As far as violence and shootings, military personnel are not under-represented on military installations and the examples follow.
    Specialist Ivan A. Lopez April 2014
    Alvin Roundtree: Retired US Army June 2013
    Marquinta E. Jacobs, US Army April 2013
    Sgt. Eusebrio Lopez, March 2013
    Spc Marshall Drake, December 2012
    Spc. Ricky Elder, June 2012
    Spc. Rico Rawls Jr, April 2012
    Army Pfc. Naser Abdo, July 2011 (attack averted)
    Sgt. Jason Seeds, May 2011
    Marine Corps reservist Yonathan Melaku , Oct and Nov 2010
    Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, Nov 2009
    Spc. Armano Baca, July 2009

    I like to believe a fellow Airman would only write such an inflammatory article to draw comments and replies on US Pat Blog and that she does not actually believe what she writes–in this case Brava! Otherwise Ruch should continue to developing herself as a writer.

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