This past Monday marked the first furlough day for civilians working at the U.S. Army War College. Because I am an unpaid intern, one might say that every day is a furlough day for me… However my supervisor, Dwight Raymond, along with hundreds of other civilian employees were furloughed on Monday for the first of 10 unpaid Mondays as part of the government sequester.
This difference between civilian and military officials is something I have been observing since I arrived at the PKSOI. Having no military background, participation in ROTC (Reserve Officer Training Company), or career at West Point, I was completely oblivious to the civilian-military relationship prior to this internship. In my time at PKSOI, I have learned how the differences between civilians and military personnel, are not as stark as it sounds. In many cases, such as Dwight, the civilians at the War College are retired colonels or other officers and therefore have worked on both sides of the table. When it comes down writing doctrine, conducting studies, or doing research, the only thing that matters is mental capacity instead of military experience. At PKSOI the research being conducted is by both civilians and military personnel, who are both educated, motivated, enthusiastic and passionate about their jobs.
This collaboration between civilian and military personnel increases the production power of organizations like PKSOI. There is absolutely no bias or barrier between military and civilian personnel and as a result, I have been welcomed with open arms by military employees at PKSOI. They have helped explain military hierarchy, operations and lifestyles, which have subsequently helped me in understanding things I have come across in my research. Furthermore, they have been very willing to explain their experiences and express their appreciation in regards to the work that I am doing. I could not be more impressed and thankful of the warm welcome offered to me by the military personnel at PKSOI.