Frequently Asked Questions
These questions and answers are based on the experiences of our deployed civilians in the Central Command Area of Responsibility (Iraq and Afghanistan). We continue to add to this listing as necessary. If your question is not listed, or an answer is not fully satisfying, please contact our customer support at 1-877-873-0956.
- Where are the majority of the CEW assignments located?
- May I apply to serve humanitarian assistance efforts such as hurricane disaster relief?
- How long are the assignments?
- What occupations are in the highest demand?
- How current are the positions listed on the CEW website?
- What opportunities are available for SES Civilians?
- How do I apply for a position?
- How does CEW prioritize applicants/placements?
- What can I do to improve the quality of my application?
- Do you need to be a U.S. Citizen to apply for CEW positions?
- Do I need a special clearance (secret or top secret) to apply for these positions?
- What happens once I submit my resume?
- How long does it take to process my application?
- Once I apply for a position, do I need to keep applying (to other open positions) or will CEW match my qualifications against other openings?
- Will I hear from someone if I am not selected for consideration?
- What happens if I match a position requirement?
- Is there a way to check my status on jobs for which I have applied?
- What can I do if my supervisor is unwilling to approve my request to volunteer for a position for which I am qualified?
- As a volunteer, are there any negative consequences if I must decline an opportunity?
- What can I expect during the Pre-Deployment Process?
- What training is required to deploy with CEW?
- Is my organization required to give me leave in order to complete all of the pre-deployment tasks?
- Am I required to have an official (red) passport?
- If I decide I do not want to complete my tour of duty or an emergency family situation arises and I need to return home will I still be provided transportation back to my home of record?
- How often will I be able to travel back home while on my one-year tour of duty?
- What method of travel will I use to travel overseas (military or commercial)?
- Who will I work for while deployed?
- Will I need to wear a uniform while deployed?
- What is the dress code for Iraq?
- What is the dress code for Afghanistan?
- What are the guidelines for attire in an Islamic country?
- How can my family contact me in Afghanistan?
- What are my administrative responsibilities while deployed?
- What is the R&R policy for civilians deployed within the USCENTCOM area of responsibility?
- Will I be working on a military base or secured compound?
- What will be done to ensure my safety while serving?
- Will I be able to carry a weapon?
- Do I keep my insurance?
- What type of medical care will I receive if I am harmed, become ill, or have an accident while I am deployed?
- Can I bring my medication?
- Is there a checklist of medical tests I need to receive before deploying?
- How recent must my dental exam be?
- While deployed, are we eligible for TRICARE? If placed on TRICARE, do we continue to receive it upon return from the mission?
- Is health care available?
- Does my deployment fall under the 25% relocation incentive considered for DoD employees?
- I am a DOD civilian planning on deploying to Iraq, Afghanistan, or Pakistan. Where can I find a description of the benefits, allowances, and gratuities that will apply to me?
- I am a DOD civilian planning on deploying to Djibouti. Where can I find a description of the benefits, allowances, and gratuities that will apply to me?
- Am I guaranteed my job back after my deployment?
- I currently have 180 hours of use or lose time. What are my options?
- What is the Ministry of Defense Advisors (MoDA) Program?
- Who is eligible to participate as an advisor with the MoDA Program?
- How are MoDA advisors selected?
- Where are MoDA Program advisors deployed?
- How long are MoDA advisors deployed?
- What kind of expertise is the MoDA Program looking for?
- Do MoDA advisors receive training prior to deployment?
- Is language training required?
- I�m interested in the MoDA Program, but concerned about returning to my organization when the assignment is finished. Will I return to my same position?
- Who do I contact to learn more about current opportunities with the MoDA Program or if I have other questions?
- Is there more information on the MoDA program I can review?
Q. Where are the majority of the CEW assignments located?
A. The assignments are in support of DoD missions overseas and stateside. At this time, the majority of the positions are located in Iraq and Afghanistan, and some opportunities are in Africa and Europe.
Q. May I apply to serve humanitarian assistance efforts such as hurricane disaster relief?
A. Yes. The CEW serves humanitarian assistance efforts as well. Occupations that are commonly needed include engineers, logisticians, contract specialists, first responders, and medical personnel.
Q. How long are the assignments?
A. The majority of individual deployment tours are one year in length; however, there are occasionally six month tours. The CEW program does not permit tours of duty longer than two years and generally a minimum 90-day period of reintegration (referred to as "Dwell Time") between deployments is required.
Q. What occupations are in the highest demand?
- Public Affairs
- Transportation, Supply, Logistics
- Contracting and Acquisition
- Human Resources
- Finance and Budget
- International Policy and Relations
- Stability Operations
- Legal - Rule of Law
- English Language Teachers
Q. How current are the positions listed on the CEW website?
A. Positions announced on the website are those in critical demand. They do not make up the totality of open positions; go to the Apply Now page to view the categories of positions that might be available.
Q. What opportunities are available for SES Civilians?
A. We have very few positions for SES Civilians, but you are able to take a GS-15 position only if you are Level 1. SES deployees are eligible for danger pay, post differential, but not premium pay.
Q. How do I apply for a position?
A. Instead of applying for a specific position, CEW asks that you apply for a job category that best fits your skills and abilities. You can apply for up to three different categories. We are continuously recruiting for jobs; if you apply, your application will be considered for all positions and openings that fit within your selected categories.
To begin the process, click on the Apply Now link on this web site and follow the application instructions.
If there are no available openings within the job categories you have selected, your resume will be retained in the database and matched to future requirements as they become available.
If you are an Air Force Employee, the application process requires you to download the Volunteer Statement from the Community of Practice (CoP) link (CAC is required to access the portal). Follow the directions on the link and forward your application for AF approvals. Once CEW receives AF approval for your request to deploy, your application will be processed.
Q. How does CEW prioritize applicants/placements?
A. CEW priorities are as follows: (1) current DOD civilian employees, (2) other Federal agency civilian employees, and (3) non-Federal government employees.
Q. What can I do to improve the quality of my application?
A. Pay close attention to the position description and highlight your experience that matches the requirements. As with any job application, ensure that all statements are factual and verifiable, and edit carefully to ensure that your application is free from spelling or grammatical errors.
Q. Do you need to be a U.S. Citizen to apply for CEW positions?
A. Yes, at this time, these positions are currently open to U.S. Citizens only.
Q. Do I need a special clearance (secret or top secret) to apply for these positions?
A. The majority of the CEW positions require either a secret or top secret clearance. If you are currently a permanent Federal government civilian employee, we have the ability to obtain the clearance level needed. If you are applying from the private sector, we may be able to obtain the appropriate security clearance level after you have been selected for a position.
Q. What happens once I submit my resume?
A. Your resume will be reviewed and matched to the position(s) for which you applied or other available positions that match your qualifications. Generally, you will not be contacted unless your resume is under active consideration. We realize that you may be curious about whether your resume is still under active consideration, particularly if it has been some time since you submitted your resume. If you have questions, you may contact the CEW staff at CivDeploy@osd.mil. If you haven't been contacted for a position but remain interested in CEW opportunities, please update your resume annually.
Q. How long does it take to process my application?
A. Once you apply, your resume is immediately added to the CEW applicant database. Processing time depends on current requirements. For someone with qualifications that match an open requisition, the process can move quickly. Due to the volume of applicants, CEW can only respond to those candidates whose skills meet open requirements.
Q. Once I apply for a position, do I need to keep applying (to other open positions) or will CEW match my qualifications against other openings?
A. A resume submitted for a specific position will be saved in the CEW resume database and will be considered for other open requirements. You can indicate interest in up to three positions with a single application. You should re-apply when there have been significant changes to your qualifications documented in your resume.
Q. Will I hear from someone if I am not selected for consideration?
A. CEW receives thousands of resumes from interested applicants. We only respond to those candidates who are qualified for available positions.
Q. What happens if I match a position requirement?
A. Either the CEW staff or a Theater representative will notify you directly by phone and/or email. They will gauge your interest in the position and/or conduct an interview with you. You may be one of several candidates under consideration so your quick response is appreciated. If you receive an interest email/phone call, you will have five days to respond to this inquiry. If you accept the position, the CEW staff will submit your resume (which may be one of several qualified resumes) to the hiring official in the theater of operation for consideration and possible selection. If we receive concurrence from the theater supervisor, CEW staff will send a request for approval to your Service/Component at the HQ level.
If you are a federal employee, CEW staff will contact your supervisor and obtain approval for your release, and validate that you exhibit the competencies and characteristics for successful deployment. Your supervisor has a limited number of days to respond to this request. If you are endorsed for deployment, you will receive an official offer letter. If you are not selected, your resume will stay active unless you decide to withdraw it.
If you are not a federal employee and you are selected, CEW will begin processing your hire paperwork.
Q. Is there a way to check my status on jobs for which I have applied?
A. You may e-mail CEW at CivDeploy@osd.mil with any questions you may have. Please keep in mind that, due to the volume of inquiries received, we only contact those who are under consideration for open requirements. If you have not heard from us, it is likely that a position that meets your skill set is not currently available.
Q. What can I do if my supervisor is unwilling to approve my request to volunteer for a position for which I am qualified?
A. Disapprovals that are not related to performance or ability to represent the Department appropriately are reviewed by the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (Civilian Personnel Policy) (DASD [CPP]) within 30 days of the disapproval to ensure that any barriers are addressed. Documentation is submitted through the employee�s chain of command. Guidance is contained in Under Secretary of Defense Memorandum, "Building Increased Civilian Deployment Capacity," dated February 12, 2008.
Q. As a volunteer, are there any negative consequences if I must decline an opportunity?
A. There are no negative consequences if you decline an opportunity to serve. As an employee volunteer, you cannot be directed to serve in an expeditionary requirement. However, we discourage employees from applying for a position if they do not have a serious interest in deploying. A great deal of preparation and time is invested in the CEW recruitment process. If you decline an offer three times, your resume will be deactivated automatically. If this occurs, you must reapply for a position to be considered again.
Q. What can I expect during the Pre-Deployment Process?
A. Download the CEW Pre-Deployment Guide. It provides information on all aspects of what is expected of you during the pre-deployment period.
Q. What training is required to deploy with CEW?
A. All CEW deployees attend 40 hours of computer based training. Additionally, anyone deploying to Iraq and Afghanistan will attend DoD pre-deployment training at Muscatatuck Urban Training Center and at the Indiana National Guard Camp Atterbury Joint Maneuver Training Center. The 10-day training is a one-stop, fully integrated training and pre-deployment platform. This training consists of an intense mix of classroom and field exercises, providing a learning environment where the austere setting simulates the conditions of deployment and helps strengthen emotional and mental resilience. The majority of civilians selected for deployment will attend the training at Camp Atterbury; however, there is also training at the Conus Replacement Center (CRC), Ft. Benning, Georgia and the USACE Deployment Center (UDC) in Winchester, Virginia. Ft. Benning (CRC) and Winchester (UDC) will be used on a case by case basis. At the time an offer is made, you will be advised of the specific training requirements.
Q. Is my organization required to give me leave in order to complete all of the pre-deployment tasks?
A. No, it is not required, but we highly recommend taking administrative leave since you are serving your country.
Q. Am I required to have an official (red) passport?
A. CEW requires civilians to obtain an official passport if you are deploying on behalf of the Department of Defense.
Q. If I decide I do not want to complete my tour of duty or an emergency family situation arises and I need to return home will I still be provided transportation back to my home of record?
A. Yes, there are always going to be situations that cannot be avoided. If you find yourself in a position that you must return home and cannot finish your tour of duty, you may request an early return to the United States through your U.S. military commander. The request will be forwarded to the CEW cell and they will work with your home of record to start your preparation for deployment back to the U.S.
Q. How often will I be able to travel back home while on my one-year tour of duty?
A. DoD civilians assigned to Afghanistan or Iraq for 12 consecutive months are eligible for up to three rest and recuperation (R&R) trips. Each trip may total no more than 21 days away from your duty station, and you must be at your duty station for 60 consecutive days before you are eligible for your first R&R trip.
The policy governing leave for deployed civilians is nuanced and covers a variety of contingencies. If you are selected for a deployment, you will be responsible for reading the policy and planning your R&R trips accordingly.
Q. What method of travel will I use to travel overseas (military or commercial)?
A. DoD Civilians in the CENTCOM AOR are authorized fully funded transportation from their home into theater and during their R&R leave while in a deployment status. Most travel will be on military chartered flights leaving from Atlanta, Georgia, or Dallas, Texas into the Theater Gateway and commercial air from the military chartered flight to home address. Travel arrangements are based on the most cost effective solution to the government; however, USARCENT can approve participants to fly via commercial air when necessary and more cost effective than the contract flights. Once at the Theater Gateway, DoD civilians will travel via intra-theater airlift to their assignment.
Q. Who will I work for while deployed?
A. If you are assigned to a Department of Defense position, you will work for the local, on site, U.S. military commander. You will work under the command and control of the local U.S. military commander for the duration of your temporary assignment. Assignments in Iraq and Afghanistan are under the command and control of the U.S. Central Command (US CENTCOM), a joint command. However, for administrative purposes, you will still belong to your parent command.
For those who are hired on temporary appointments to serve time-limited term assignments in Iraq and Afghanistan, you will be temporarily assigned to an Army parent command, Army Central Command (ARCENT). Parent commands are responsible for ensuring that you are paid, receive performance objectives, are appraised on time and that other administrative support is provided regarding your overall employment. Parent organizations do not typically assign your daily work or assess your performance unless you are in theater to execute a specific responsibility for your parent organization.
Q. Will I need to wear a uniform while deployed?
A. Civilian attire is dependent on the theater or assignment you are posted to. In Iraq, civilians are not permitted to wear uniforms. Civilians in Afghanistan are issued uniforms but it is dependent on local command whether civilians can wear them. If you will not be wearing a uniform, pack clothing that will be comfortable given the weather conditions. Khaki pants, a short or long- sleeved shirt and comfortable walking shoes are appropriate for the hot summers. Boots, head gear, Gortex rain gear, and cold weather items are issued to all civilians to ensure they are adequately prepared. Boots are also practical when it rains and roads turn to thick clay-like mud. Aside from these dry goods, you will also be issued PPE (Personal Protective Equipment), which includes interceptor body armor (IBA), helmet, eye glasses, and gloves. All items are standard requirements for most unit convoy movements. Once again this is a blanket kit but will fulfill the requirements for theater.
Additionally, military Commanders may have established policies regarding proper attire. You should become familiar with these policies prior to deploying.
Q. What is the dress code for Iraq?
A. As of May 09, 2009, the Commanding General of Iraq issued an order that civilians are not required to wear military member uniforms. Exceptions to this order will be granted when necessary to ensure adequate force protection of DoD civilians and contractors. If you are required to wear a uniform, you will be issued it during your deployment training with the other required gear and equipment.
Q. What is the dress code for Afghanistan?
A. Wearing of the military uniform is authorized and optional in Afghanistan and the required uniform is issued during pre-deployment processing. The wearing of the uniform is based on operational necessity and deciding authority is delegated to the USFOR-A Chief of Staff. When the military uniform is required, it must be worn appropriately.
The uniform must be clean, neat, in good material condition, and must be worn complete, including prescribed belt, undershirt and boots. When the uniform is worn outdoors, the prescribed or authorized cover (hat or cap) shall be considered a required part of the uniform and worn appropriately. Wearing a combination of civilian attire and uniform items is not appropriate and not authorized. The only exceptions are the standard issue web belt and desert boots. Civilians are not authorized to wear service physical training (PT) uniforms.
Q. What are the guidelines for attire in an Islamic country?
A. As a civilian in a foreign country you are expected to adhere to a style and level of dress appropriate to a representative of the U.S. government in a foreign, primarily Islamic country. Dress should be conservative, clean and in good condition. Dress and grooming standards should logically be based on comfort, productivity, health, safety, and other considerations of the type of position occupied. The following types of clothing are considered inappropriate:
- Clothing that exposes chest cleavage, any portion of the buttocks or midriff.
- Shorts or short pants of any kind, unless participating in PT.
- Sheer, provocative, see-through, sleeveless or strapless garments.
- Any garment that could be offensive in nature (e.g., containing racial slurs, unlawful or distasteful behavior, derogatory language or pictures).
- Shower shoes or flip-flop foot wear in public.
Jewelry and accessories should be conservative in nature. You should strive to complement your military counterparts in presenting a neat, clean and professional image at all times; especially in public and in the workplace.
Q. How can my family contact me in Afghanistan?
A. Your theater POC will be able to provide you with the appropriate contact information for you in theater.
Q. What are my administrative responsibilities while deployed?
A. Your responsibility as a deployed employee is to turn in the DD1190 to start and stop post differential and danger pay and turn in your time cards. You will also be required to process your appraisal while deployed.
Q. What is the R&R policy for civilians deployed within the USCENTCOM area of responsibility?
A. You can find that information in the USARCENT G1 Rest and Recuperation (R&R) Leave Policy and Procedures.
Q. Will I be working on a military base or secured compound?
A. Many DoD civilians will be working on a secured U.S. military base or forward operating base (FOB). An FOB is a forward operating base that is used to support tactical operations. These bases have essential services that support a safe and productive working environment. For example, there are buildings, trailers, or tents for office-type work, dining, recreation, communication and first responder requirements. There are others who will be working outside the military base or secured compound in local communities with local officials, U.S. active duty officials, State Department and other Federal agency officials, and or coalition partners. Work may be in buildings or other temporary facilities or on farms or other rural environments. You will be advised of the location of your daily work at the time of your offer. However, because the environment is dynamic, these conditions can change without notice to meet mission and safety needs.
Q. What will be done to ensure my safety while serving?
A. Your living quarters will be inside a military base or on a forward operating base with the requisite level of force protection. While on or off the military reservation, you will be under the protection of U.S. Forces. All transportation and movement will be under U.S. Forces operational command.
Q. Will I be able to carry a weapon?
A. If your job requires a weapon, you will be trained and authorized to carry a weapon. If your position does not require that you carry a weapon, and you believe you need one for your personal safety, you may request a waiver through the Commander, United States Central Command (USCENTCOM).
Q. Do I keep my insurance?
A. Yes, you can keep your medical insurance if you are a DoD employee. If you are a Schedule A, you have the option of electing new insurance or keeping the insurance you currently have.
Q. What type of medical care will I receive if I am harmed, become ill, or have an accident while I am deployed?
A. If you are a DoD civilian who becomes ill, contracts a disease or is injured or wounded while deployed in support of U.S. military forces engaged in hostilities, you are eligible for medical evacuation and health care treatment and services in military treatment facilities (MTFs) at no cost to you. The treatment provided is at the same level and scope provided to military personnel. As a DoD civilian employee who is treated in theater, you continue to be eligible for treatment in an MTF or civilian medial facility for compensable illnesses, diseases, wounds, or injuries under the Department of Labor Office of Workers' Compensation Program upon your return at no cost to you.
Q. Can I bring my medication?
A. As you prepare for deployment, take no less than a 180-day supply of prescription medications. Necessary arrangements need to be made to mail the next shipment of prescription medications, or obtain refills while on travel back to your home of record during your rest and recuperation (R&R) visit.
Q. Is there a checklist of medical tests I need to receive before deploying?
A. Employees must complete a thorough medical examination no earlier than (NET) 90 days prior and no later than (NLT) 30 days prior to deployment date (D-date) at home station to determine medical, psychological and physical fitness for deployment in accordance with the CENTCOM medical standards. DoD Civilians deploying to CENTCOM's area of responsibility must meet the medical requirements outlined in MOD 11 to CENTCOM, USCINCCENT Individual Protection and Individual/Unit Deployment Policy and TAB A to Mod 11.
Q. How recent must my dental exam be?
A. Accepted dental exams must have been completed within the last 90 days.
Q. While deployed, are we eligible for TRICARE? If placed on TRICARE, do we continue to receive it upon return from the mission?
A. Yes, you are eligible for military treatment facilities (MTFs) while down range.
No, you will not be able to utilize TRICARE once you return from the mission.
Q. Is health care available?
A. If you are a non-DoD federal civilian, you are eligible for routine health care in Theater on a space available basis. The MTF, if it has the capability, will bill your agency at the interagency rate for any treatment received.
Q. Does my deployment fall under the 25% relocation incentive considered for DoD employees?
A. CEW does not have the authority to grant relocation incentives. Check with your HR POC to see if your parent organization offers an incentive for volunteers to deploy.
Q. I am a DOD civilian planning on deploying to Iraq, Afghanistan, or Pakistan. Where can I find a description of the benefits, allowances, and gratuities that will apply to me?
Q. I am a DOD civilian planning on deploying to Djibouti. Where can I find a description of the benefits, allowances, and gratuities that will apply to me?
A. You can find that information in this policy guideline.
Q. Is deployment tax free?
A. Compensation earned during deployment is not tax free (due to the 35% post-differential and 35% hazard pay that you are receiving in addition to your base pay). Contact your HR POC who will handle your pay and benefits.
Q. Do I pay for living arrangements?
A. No, all the expenses will be paid by the parent organization (e.g. living, transportation, etc.).
Q. Am I guaranteed my job back after my deployment?
A. As a DoD civilian you are guaranteed return rights to your job or a position of the same grade and responsibility. As a civilian employee in a temporary time-limited appointment, your employment ends when your deployment is terminated.
Q. I currently have 180 hours of use or lose time. What are my options?
A. You will not lose it; it will be suspended. For R&R, fill out form OF-71 and your Theater point of contact must approve your request.
Q. What is a Clearance?
A. A federal clearance is much like a basic background check. To receive a clearance, you must submit information regarding your background - where you've lived and worked, who is in your family, what your connections are to non-US Citizens, and what kinds of illegal or semi-legal activities you have participated in. Based on the investigation, the Government will make a determination as to whether you are sufficiently trustworthy to bear the responsibility of working in a classified environment.
Q. What is the Ministry of Defense Advisors (MoDA) Program?
A. The Ministry of Defense Advisors Program is designed to forge long-term relationships that strengthen a partner state's defense ministry. The program matches senior Department of Defense civilians who work within the Afghanistan Ministry of Defense and Ministry of Interior. While deployed, the advisors exchange expertise with Afghan counterparts in similar defense specialties.
Q. Who is eligible to participate as an advisor with the MoDA Program?
A. The MoDA Program selects, trains and deploys DoD civilian employees in the pay grade GS-13 and above. In certain circumstances, individuals who are not currently DoD employees may be hired temporarily to serve as MoDA advisors in Afghanistan.
Q. How are MoDA advisors selected?
A. The MoDA Program Office accepts resumes throughout the year from interested applicants, and deploys MoDA advisors to Afghanistan three times per year, in March, July, and November. In advance of each deployment, the Program Office screens applicants against existing vacancies, and selects the most highly qualified applicants for additional interviews. Following interviews, the new class of advisors is selected and begins preparations to deploy.
Q. Where are MoDA Program advisors deployed?
A. Currently, all MoDA advisors in Afghanistan live and work on a coalition facility in central Kabul.
Q. How long are MoDA advisors deployed?
A. MoDA advisors train for seven weeks and then deploy for a 12 month assignment to Afghanistan. Therefore, the time spent with the MoDA Program is approximately 14 months.
Q. What kind of expertise is the MoDA Program looking for?
A. The MoDA Program seeks DoD employees with expertise in Defense Policy and Strategy, Resource Management, Personnel and Readiness Management, Acquisitions and Procurement, Logistics, Infrastructure Management, Health Care, Information Technology, Facilities Engineering, Law Enforcement, and other fields, as needed. Contact the MoDA Program Office at MoDAPrograminfo@dsca.mil or telephone at 703-607-5204 for additional information on current requirements.
Q. Do MoDA advisors receive training prior to deployment?
A. The MoDA Program offers a comprehensive seven-week training course that includes: professional advisor training; cultural awareness, country familiarization, and language instruction; senior level consultations and briefings; and an evaluated capstone exercise.
Q. Is language training required?
A. Language proficiency is not required for a MoDA advisor; advisors interface with their counterparts with the assistance of interpreters. However, Dari language instruction is a key component of the seven-week training course.
Q. I�m interested in the MoDA Program, but concerned about returning to my organization when the assignment is finished. Will I return to my same position?
A. DoD employees remain administratively assigned to their home organization for the duration of their deployment with the MoDA Program. Upon completion of the assignment, they are guaranteed the right to return to the position they held prior to the deployment, or to a position of similar grade, level, and responsibility within the same local organization.
Q. Who do I contact to learn more about current opportunities with the MoDA Program or if I have other questions?
A. For additional information, contact the MoDA Program Office via email at MoDAPrograminfo@dsca.mil or by telephone at 703-607-5204.