Paramilitary: August 18, 2004


The largest paramilitary organization in the United States, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, is recruiting more people for its operations in Iraq. With a staff of 35,000, and only about two percent of them military, the mostly civilian Corps of Engineers has long been responsible for;

* Planning, designing, building and operating water resources and other civil works projects (Navigation, Flood Control, Environmental Protection, Disaster Response, etc.)

* Designing and managing the construction of military facilities for the Army and Air Force. (Military Construction)

* Providing design and construction management support for other Defense and federal agencies. (Interagency and International Services)

The Corps began as part of the military engineers. Early in Americas history, there was an unmet need for trained engineers. That was the argument used to get Congress to fund the founding of West Point, the U.S. Army military academy. For decades, the main job of West Point was to train world class engineers. Throughout the 19th century, the Corps took the lead in planning, and sometimes building, large scale transportation and infrastructure projects. Congress quickly found that Corps of Engineer projects were very popular with the voters, and this guaranteed a steady flow of work (although some of it was plain old pork.) There are some 300 Corps of Engineers people in Afghanistan and Iraq, and they want to double that number by the end of the year. About 16 percent of those over there now are military, but nearly all the additional ones will be civilians. If youre an engineer and interested is that kind of work, contact the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Human Resources Office by e-mail at or call (202) 761-1885.


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