The Challenges and Rewards of Overseas Contract Jobs With the Military

Contract Jobs With the Military

Contract Jobs With the Military — The prospect of working in a war zone might be unthinkable for most. The inherent risks and personal hardships are real enough and should not be underestimated. Yet, for many, the challenge of working alongside the military in a dynamic, and often chaotic, environment can be personally and professionally rewarding.

Working in a war zone imposes conditions and challenges not found in most jobs. In some respects, the experience could more aptly be described as a lifestyle. As defense contractors are either directly, or indirectly attached to the armed forces, many aspects of daily life are governed by the military. The typical overseas contractor has little to no influence over the individual services and support he or she is provided.

Dining hall menus, laundry schedules, personal transportation and housing arrangements largely reflect the availability of resources. The majority of contractors receive the same level of services. They live in identical quarters, eat at the same dining hall and perform their duties with the tools and facilities they are provided. Yet, the shared sacrifice often creates camaraderie among co-workers, creating personal bonds that cross traditional lines.

Working in a conflict zone is not for everyone. Most contractors work a minimum of 12 hours per day, 6-7 days per week. Many work much longer. The physical and mental toll of working 72-100 hours for successive weeks is not insignificant. Depending on your location, weather can also impact daily life.

Sandstorms, rivaling anything produced by Hollywood special effects, deposit layers of dust and sand in every imaginable location. Heavy rains transform dusty bases into quagmires of mud that clings with each step. Temperatures extremes can range from oppressively hot to bone chilling cold.

After hours activities are limited, even on larger installations. On sprawling bases, such as Kandahar, frequent use of recreational facilities, food courts and PX facilities is limited by a perpetual shortage of available transportation. On smaller, more remote bases, available facilities and services range from austere to primitive. Fortunately, internet access is available at most permanent installations, providing an important link to families and the outside world.

From a professional perspective, overseas contractors face an array of challenges. Ever-changing procedures, security directives and power outages are just a few factors that can affect operations. Employee turnover, overlapping bureaucracies and the perpetual shortage of basic supplies have an additive effect. So, what’s the appeal? What drives tens of thousands to knowingly accept the personal hardships and seek out overseas contract jobs?

An obvious answer is financial reward. Overseas contractors can often double or triple their Stateside earnings. One or two years of personal sacrifice can pay off bills, add to retirement savings or make a down-payment on a family home. Much of the windfall results from salary uplifts, paid to compensate employees for increased personal hazard and hardship.

Federal tax exemptions for foreign earned income are also available for contractors who remain outside of the U.S. for 330 days per year. However, while financial benefits may the prime motivator, experienced expats will tell you that there’s more to it than just the money.

Expats, who spend years traveling from one overseas assignment to the next, enjoy the degree of autonomy they have in managing day-to-day operations. For some, the heightened activity levels and lack of routine become addictive. They are often happiest the day they arrive at the next dusty outpost with little more than their duffel bag and their wits.

Drawing on years of experience they will assess operational requirements, size up available resources, adjust for cultural influences and set about developing organizations that accomplish the seemingly impossible.
Working within a war zone is a unique experience that will test one’s patience and resolve. Yet, in spite of the challenges, for thousands of expats, their experience will be remembered as the most frustrating, demanding, chaotic and exhausting job they ever loved.

Contract Jobs With the Military

The Challenges and Rewards of Overseas Contract Jobs With the Military

Most people are very interested in alternative energy because they believe in global warming and climate change. They also believe that humankind needs to reduce their carbon CO2 footprint. However, I would submit to you that there are other more important reasons and pressing issues, and even crisis is to consider in this entire issue. One is the fact that the United States of America relies on foreign oil to propel our transportation. Without oil America stops.

It is for this reason that we really have no choice and we are being held ransom for our energy needs. This is perhaps the greatest reason to be concerned with the concept of alternative energy. And nowhere is it more important than with our automobiles. Thus, we should all applaud the exploits of electric cars, solar energy for your home so you can use that energy to charge up your car. If we can significantly reduce our thirst for foreign oil we will do a lot for the future security of our nation.

Are we going into peak oil as many might suggest? Well, perhaps not now, but it’s getting a lot more costly to get to the oil reserves which are still available, we’ve already tapped into all the easy stuff, and it’s going to run out. Now then, with regards to fossil fuels (oil), Iraq is coming on line finally, and that should indeed, help with the global needs. Still, if we get a big Middle Eastern challenge – Saudi Arabia overthrow, or Iran war escalation (assuming it’s only a matter of time now) then things could get pretty nasty.

And yes, I suppose it’s good to see the military is hedging their bet with goals for fossil free force, even if that is a lofty goal currently. The reduction of consumption is a plus for our national security needs in the event all heck breaks loose, and it might someday.

Meanwhile, I am pro-alternative energy vehicles, and more research in high tech materials to lighten the cars for better efficiency, not because of global warming, but because, it’s vital to the reality of supply and demand of oil. Please consider all this.

For many years since their introduction, challenge coins have always been a good source of morale boosting in society. But as we scramble for any little opportunity to make money, we end up losing the value attached to the coins by flooding the market with many fake ones that hold no achievement value. This, to me, is the greatest danger facing the good military coin tradition.

Initially, challenge coins were used in the military to reward soldiers who deserved recognition for an outstanding performance. Such coins do not hold monetary value and are not easily available, not even for sale. The funny bit is that you will notice the same on the market, be it eBay or with some funny dealer out there who never runs out of stock for a military coin awarded to a U.S soldier back in the 70’s. Who is fooling who?

In the modern world, challenge coins are no longer just a military preserve. They are used by other companies, organizations and movements to reward their members for an outstanding performance. Normally, these coins would have the name of the individual or group engraved on them. But what is amazing is that you will notice many copies identical to the same flooded out there in the market. So one gets to wonder, which is the real one and which one is fake.

According to me, a custom coin that is not given freely for achieving a certain goal in society is a fake one. So all those coins in shops could as well be regarded as fake because they hold no recognition value. But do not get me wrong, I am not against modern uses of custom coins.

The Chinese have developed several new secret bases to build more warships. And they have been playing hide and seek with their nuclear submarines with the United States Navy. Up until now usually the United States Navy pretends not to notice them, thinking that the Chinese will simply believe that they got away with it. However, not long ago the United States Navy was challenged by Chinese vessels from the Chinese Navy.

If China and her economic strength have come from the United States, and we are in fact a first-tier trading partner, it seems kind of silly all this aggression. The US and China are not at war, we are friends and trading partners, and yet, it appears, there is a “disconnect” in their minds, but not in ours. In other words, we are trading partners and friends on one hand, but the Chinese military thinks that the United States is an enemy on the other. How on earth are we suppose to get along in the world with that type of an attitude?

The crisis with the P3 Orion aircraft which was intercepted by two Chinese fighter pilots was a very touchy situation. And it was very unfortunate that China took that action when they seized that aircraft and her crew. The Chinese had accused the United States of spying, even though the crew of that aircraft were well off the coast and well into international waters. It seems rather laughable that the Chinese would accuse the United States military of spying, when there are known to be 6000 spies in the US doing corporate espionage on defense contractors and our greatest corporations.

Maybe the reason that China is so paranoid; is they think that we are like them, and using the same underhanded tactics that they do. In fact, it is rather telling their behavior, and it gives away their strategic thinking. What China is not thinking about is that if the US middle class consumer desides to boycott Chinese goods, their exports will stay down by 35%, and their economic growth of 8 to 10% per year, year-over-year will end and when it ends, there will not be enough money for the Chinese military war machine to continue its advances in growth.

Now I might be going out on a limb here today, but as a military analyst all I see right now is China is shooting themselves in the foot. Of course, some historians say that the Chinese have always had problems with their feet. Not long ago, I mentioned this to Guang Wu, the author of a new book; “China: Has the Last Opportunity Passed by!?” and he indicated that these issues were not quite that simple. Please consider all this.

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