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NEWS | Aug. 15, 2023

US-based HR specialists use AECW program in Europe to help broaden their careers

By Cameron Porter 405th Army Field Support Brigade

The Army Expeditionary Civilian Workforce program is not just for Army civilian personnel working in operations, maintenance, transportation and logistics.

Ken Gregoire is wrapping up a six-month AECW tour at the Coleman Army Prepositioned Stocks-2 worksite in Mannheim as a human resources specialist with Army Field Support Battalion-Manheim. He said AECW has been a positive, career-broadening experience.

The former Air Force senior master sergeant who retired with 21 years of active-duty service is permanently assigned to U.S. Army Joint Munitions Command at Rock Island Arsenal, Illinois. He volunteered to come to Germany and serve with the 405th Army Field Support Brigade starting in March to help AFSBn-Mannheim as it supports current operations in Europe and prepares to transition to Army Field Support Battalion-Poland.

In five months, Gregoire has assisted with the hiring actions for more than 70 personnel at both AFSBn-Mannheim and AFSBn-Poland.

“Stateside, I manage all the HR actions at the JMC headquarters – the entire primary staff – and with all my actions open at that command level I don’t deal with as many actions as I have (at these two battalions),” said Gregoire.

“From an HR respective, until now I’ve only worked HR stateside,” added Gregoire. “Here I’ve been able to learn more about what actually happens overseas. A lot of the processes are totally different overseas, and the benefits are totally different, too. Understanding those benefits and what all the employees must go through to qualify for those benefits has been a huge education point for me.”

“For example, now I can go back to my home station – when recruiting candidates who are coming from overseas or personnel who are accepting jobs overseas – and I can help provide liaison support and guidance on certain processes and requirements specific to overseas government civilian service,” Gregoire said.

“AECW has been a huge benefit for me,” Gregoire said. “I’ve learned a lot.”

“I loved my AECW assignment,” said Jennifer Nunez, an HR specialist with Army Field Support Battalion-Germany, who departs her battalion and her AECW duties in Europe in one week.

“The job was challenging, but I learned a lot. And the people I worked with were all very receiving of me and made me feel welcome and part of the team,” said Nunez, who came to Europe on a six-month TDY from 1st Brigade, U.S. Army Cadet Command at Fort Knox, Kentucky, as part of the AECW program.

On a day-to-day basis this would probably be a standard HR assignment, Gregoire said of his time with AFSBn-Mannheim. But with the requirement to stand up a new battalion in Poland while managing all the positions at Mannheim battalion – which was only filled at 18 percent when he arrived – Gregoire said his work was extremely demanding.

Even so, he said his battalion leadership and the staff and leadership at the 405th AFSB have been nothing but supportive.

Before the 405th AFSB received this current iteration of HR specialists from the AECW program – Gregoire and Nunez included – not much HR progress had been made standing up Poland battalion, said Joseph Scheff, the 405th AFSB deputy to the commander.

“These folks had a lot of HR experience and navigated through much HR and (Civilian Personnel Advisory Center) red tape. They worked some very complex hiring actions and planning for hiring in Poland – none of it being simple tasks,” Scheff said.

“For the broadening experience alone, I’d recommend the AECW program to anyone,” said Gregoire. “It's a very worthy program.”

“I would sign up for another AECW deployment in the future,” Nunez added.

The AECW program has deployment opportunities in a temporary duty status for six, nine, or 12 months available for Army civilians worldwide, to include many with the 405th AFSB in Europe. The program offers overseas assignments at a variety of locations with no change to an employee's permanent grade or position of record. The grade level listed for an AECW position is suggested, and employees can be plus or minus one grade interval from what is listed.

Assignments under the AECW program are available to permanent and term Army civilians. Individuals on overseas assignments must have at least 18 months remaining prior to their Date of Return from Overseas Station, or DEROS. Army civilians who are in the Army Reserve must be in a retired or standby status. They cannot be in the Ready Reserve, as this would be a dual obligation for deployment. Army civilians must have or be able to obtain a security clearance at the interim secret level, at a minimum. Some positions may require higher clearances.

According to the Defense Civilian Personnel Advisory Service the program provides interested personnel with extraordinary opportunities to support operations of national interest. Deployments under the program offer opportunities to work and live in foreign countries, opportunities to experience work challenges not found at their day-to-day jobs, and opportunities to make a difference working alongside Soldiers supporting America’s mission around the globe.

Army civilians who are interested in applying for the AECW program may submit a resume, recent SF-50, DD214 (if former military) and a signed request for deployment form through their supervisory chain and human resources department. For more information, contact the AECW program office at

The 405th AFSB is assigned to U.S. Army Sustainment Command and under the operational control of the 21st Theater Sustainment Command, U.S. Army Europe and Africa. The brigade is headquartered in Kaiserslautern, Germany, and provides materiel enterprise support to U.S. Forces throughout Europe and Africa – providing theater sustainment logistics; synchronizing acquisition, logistics and technology; and leveraging U.S. Army Materiel Command’s materiel enterprise to support joint forces. For more information on the 405th AFSB, visit the official website at and the official Facebook site at