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The Civilian Deployment Program

A civilian deployment allows civilians to apply their capability, experience, and knowledge as a crucial part of helping the Department of Defense (DOD) accomplish its mission abroad. Individuals who are interested in deploying can volunteer for positions for which they are qualified in locations such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Djibouti, Qatar, and other places across the globe. If qualified, civilian volunteers will be selected for a tour of duty (usually for 12 months) and normally work alongside deployed US military members. Candidates selected will have an extraordinary opportunity to exercise their skills and expertise directly supporting operations of national interest. The Civilian Expeditionary Workforce Program Office (CEWPO) currently manages the application process for joint theater billets.


Established in 2009

The Department of Defense established the Civilian Expeditionary Workforce policy in January 2009 in which an appropriately sized subset of the DOD civilian workforce would be pre-identified to be organized, trained, and equipped in a manner that facilitates the use of their capabilities for operational requirements.

Since then, thousands of civilian volunteers have deployed to assist the military in a variety of locations abroad. The jobs performed by these volunteers have included administrative, engineering, safety, project management, operational support, education, medical support – an enormous range of categories and job types. Volunteers often work in high-pressure and austere operational environments, alongside military, contractor, Federal civilian, and foreign national personnel. The Civilian Deployment Experience offers DOD civilians the opportunity to participate in what is often a life-altering experience, working in an environment where often they are the only ones who have the skills and expertise so greatly needed to accomplish a mission.


About the CEW Program Office (CEWPO)

The mission of the Civilian Expeditionary Workforce Program Office is to develop and implement policy within the DOD that enables the Services and DOD Commands to efficiently organize, train, and equip qualified civilian employees to meet global and domestic national security mission requirements as an integral part of the Total Force. We meet our mission by connecting the Combatant Commands (CCMDs) that need civilian expertise to accomplish their goals with qualified candidates who are eager to spend a year working alongside their Military colleagues. Because we are focused on contingency operations, the requirements we meet for our CCMD customers are always evolving. Our most successful candidates recognize the fluid nature of Contingency support and remain flexible throughout the application and deployment process.

CEWPO is one component of a process that involves the CCMDs, our applicants, and those who are selected for contingency operations positions. Each of these entities has distinct roles and responsibilities.


  • CCMDs define the requirements and make the final selection on all candidates.
  • CEWPO solicits and reviews resumes, and forwards all qualified candidates to the CCMDs for selection. CEWPO also guides selected candidates through the pre-deployment process to ensure that they are trained and equipped for their deployment, and provides as-required support to deployees throughout the course of their deployment.
  • Applicants assess their qualifications against the requirements and ensure that they meet the eligibility requirements for deployment.
  • Deployees spend up to a year working alongside their Military counterparts, and provide critical expertise to meet operational needs.