About the Overseas Contracting Community
PRIVATE MILITARY CONTRACTORS
Private Military Company (PMC), or private military or a security company, provides military and armed security services. These combatants are commonly known as mercenaries, though modern-day PMCs euphemistically prefer to refer to their staff as security contractors or private military contractors.
The services and expertise offered by PMCs are typically similar to those of governmental military or police forces, most often on a smaller scale. While PMCs often provide services to train or supplement official armed forces in service of governments, they can also be employed by private companies to provide bodyguards for key staff or protection of company premises, especially in hostile territories. However, contractors who use offensive force in a war zone could be considered unlawful combatants, in reference to a concept outlined in the Geneva Conventions and explicitly specified by the US Military Commissions Act.
DEFENSE & MILITARY CONTRACTORS
Defense or military contractors in the community provide products or services to the military and the government. Services typically include military aircraft, ships, vehicles, weaponry, and electronic systems and can include logistics, technical and training communications support, and in some cases team-based engineering in cooperation with the government.
Contractors do not generally provide direct support of military operations. Under the 1949 Geneva Conventions military contractors engaged in direct support of military operations may be legitimate targets of military attacks (compared to a private military contractors).
Defense contracting has expanded dramatically over the last decade, particularly in the United States, where in the last fiscal year the Department of Defense spent nearly $316 billion on contracts. Contractors have also assumed a much larger on-the-ground presence during recent American conflicts: during the 1991 Gulf War the ratio of uniformed military to contractors was about 50 to 1, while during the first four years of the Iraq War the U.S. hired over 190,000 contractors, surpassing the total American military presence even during the 2007 Iraq surge and 23 times greater than other allied military personnel numbers. In Afghanistan alone, the presence of almost 100,000 contractors has resulted in a near 1 to 1 ratio with military personnel.
HUMANITARIAN RELIEF WORKERS
Humanitarian relief workers respond to natural disasters, assist refugees fleeing war, or help to rebuild shattered communities in post conflict environments. Most people find the job challenging, rewarding, unusual and absorbing.
Agencies and assignments vary greatly and can be the most meaningful job in the world. Working and living conditions in the field vary from one location to another. Depending on the circumstances, international aid and emergency response workers may work without many of the comforts, support network and basic infrastructure to which most overseas contractors accustomed.
ANTARCTIC SUPPORT CONTRACTORS
Antarctic support contractors support U.S. Antarctic Program (USAP), carrying forward U.S. goals in support of the Antarctic Treaty. The program strives to encourage international cooperation, maintain an active and influential presence in the region, and continue to conduct high-quality science research. The program is managed by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the USAP deploys roughly 3,000 people to Antarctica every year to conduct research, or provide support to researchers through the operation and maintenance of the research stations and vessels.
Workers provide support on the highest, driest, coldest, windiest and emptiest place on Earth and require exceptional logistics and planning expertise. A few of the unique challenges include managing the world’s longest supply chain, building airfields on ice and snow, mechanics, cooks, painters, carpenters, cargo handlers, computer people, electricians, plumbers, forklift and heavy machinery operators, laboratory assistants, housekeeping, buyers, doctors and nurses, communications folks, welders, administrators, chefs and laborers, working in the world’s worst weather conditions, and managing remote field camps, ice-breaking research vessels and the largest research stations and laboratories on the cold continent.
OFFSHORE OIL & GAS CONTRACTORS
Offshore oil and gas contractors tackle more challenging roles than land-based installations due to the remote and harsher environment. Some people go offshore seeking adventure, most people work offshore to earn a lot of money in a short time. Working on an offshore oil rig is one of the best paid but also toughest jobs in the world. You work 12-hour shifts for 21 consecutive days followed by 21 days paid leave.
An oil rig isle is like a small town offshore operating 24 hours a day. Various systems are used depending on helicopter arrival times and company policies. Often contractors start their “trip” on day shifts and then switch to night shifts on your final days before going home. There can be up to 1000 personnel on board. The crew stays in 1-2 bed cabins of a comfortable standard comparable to a middle to top class hotel which include a bathroom and TV or internet connection. Service personnel take care of laundry, cleaning and making up the cabins.
Construction workers work on construction sites around the world, doing a wide range of tasks from the very easy to the extremely difficult and hazardous. Although many of the tasks they do require some training and experience, most jobs usually require little skill and can be learned quickly.
Construction work is required in every industry but most of our members work on projects such as U.S. embassies & consulates, U.S. military installations, assist in rebuild in post conflict countries, and private high profile projects. There’s always construction going on in virtually every part of the world, but it seems building activity in certain countries are greater than in others. In any case, working in construction in another country can be a fun and valuable learning experience.