Command Information Officer
Public Affairs Office, Georgia Department of Defense
There are more than 500 state employees who work for the Georgia Department of Defense (Ga. DoD) in capacities ranging from sanitation services, to human resources, to public affairs. Often, that there is even such a thing as a state DoD gets forgotten or overlooked because the National Guard is the driving force within the organization. The Ga. DoD is comprised of three primary components: the Georgia Air National Guard, Georgia Army National Guard, and the all-volunteer Georgia State Defense Force. With such visible and important flag-bearers, it’s easy to see how the hundreds of state employees who serve them are often overlooked.
But state employees provide a crucial, strategically significant role in the Defense community. In addition to providing top-tier service and subject matter expertise, these civilians (though some are former military themselves) provide continuity to an organization that is otherwise always in flux. Whereas a given Army or Air position is likely to change hands every couple years, state employee positions tend to be more stable – with some employees serving more than a decade or even two in the same position. As a result, state employees become the “constant” in various offices – the one thing that remains the same after military personnel are rotated in and out around deployments, promotions, training, etc. – making state employees the gatekeepers of valuable institutional and functional knowledge.
Important, too, are the interns who serve as state employees for the Ga. DoD. Many of them are either currently earning their undergraduate degree or recently graduated. Their internships provide them with valuable real-life work experience, of course, but these hard-workers also get the opportunity to work side-by-side with real-life heroes every day – creating a formative experience which no doubt molds the way these interns will go on to become leaders themselves. I cannot think of a better place to observe and participate in civil leadership than by working with the U.S. military. While these interns do not provide the continuity long-term employees do, they serve as a valuable “force-multiplier” for the organization. While they receive valuable, high-speed experience and mentorship paired with meaningful work – the organization receives in return a lower cost labor-multiplier and, in some instances, the opportunity to give folks who will turn out to be future employees a “test run.”
All in all, the state employees of the Georgia Department of Defense provide a valuable and meaningful service to their state, their nation and – particularly – their National Guard.