The Business of War and Peace

July 1996

The Business of War and Peace

by Katherine McIntire Peters

About half of the civilians now deployed to support U.S. troops serving in Bosnia, Hungary and Croatia work for the Houston-based firm Brown & Root, Inc. The 76-year-old engineering, construction and diversified services company has sent about 1,000 employees to the region under contract with the Army.

Brown & Root personnel, along with the 5,500 locals they've hired, have built 33 camps and are now providing cooking, laundry, sanitation and sometimes mail services, says Barbara Johnson, a Brown & Root spokeswoman. Since the company won a contract to provide logistics services for the Army in 1992, Brown & Root employees have become a familiar sight for military troops in the field.

To help prepare Brown & Root and other contractor employees for future deployments, officials at the Army Materiel Command (AMC) are developing a deployment guide for contractors, which they hope to publish this summer.

"What this guide really is doing is recognizing the fact that this is happening without making a judgment as to whether that's good or bad, right or wrong," says Louis Rothberg, an attorney in AMC's office of command council, who helped prepared a draft of the contractor guide. "We understand we have to speak to the people who are going overseas under these contracts and tell them what their rights are, their benefits are, and what their obligations are. This guide is a consolidation of existing law, policy and practice."

The most important things contractor employees need to know are the terms of the contract they're working under and the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) between the United States and the country in which they're serving, he says. Depending on the SOFA, contractor employees may be subject to the local civil and criminal laws of the country in which they are deployed.

The guide AMC is preparing aims to explain the things contractors should know before they deploy, such as their medical and legal benefits, the training they may receive, the equipment they may be issued, the command and control arrangements in the field and what their status is if they are captured or become a prisoner of war.

In addition, the guide contains checklists to ensure contractor employees' families are prepared for medical and financial emergencies.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.