By Kim Gillespie, USASAC Public AffairsJanuary 5, 2016
The Office of the Program Manager-Saudi Arabian National Guard Modernization Program, or OPM-SANG as it is commonly referred, is looking for a few good Army Contracting Command contract specialists. OPM-SANG Contracting Deputy Director Vernon Cooper said numerous GS-1102 positions are being recruited, with most being "around the GS-12 level."
"We would like to get contract specialists from ACC because we know they have experience with PD2 [Procurement Desktop-Defense]," Cooper stated.
But why would someone choose to go to Saudi Arabia? According to Cooper, the benefits are numerous, and most people are just not aware of the high quality of life that is maintained for employees of OPM-SANG.
Cooper emphasized that just spending 12-months at OPM-SANG, which is the standard unaccompanied tour, will allow a specialist to work with "every type of contract". "You also work really big contracts. For instance, the Aviation Program has contracts upwards of $100 million," he noted.
Cooper also cites the fact that you are working with foreign nationals, "You are exposed to different cultures, and it is an opportunity to learn Foreign Military Sales (FMS). This experience will definitely make you more attractive because your resume will really stand out," he explained.
As far as the quality of life, Cooper's first love is the ease of travel the location offers. "You can catch a flight and be in Europe, the Pacific or Africa in just a few hours," he said. "You also receive a flight home to the U.S. each year, and the opportunity to travel is enhanced by the numerous Saudi holidays that are also recognized by OPM-SANG," he said.
There are also monetary advantages, with a 25 percent pay differential added, and other perks such as having a fully furnished villa (most of which are newly renovated), a sport utility vehicle (for male employees for on/off-site use) or sedan (for female employees for on-site use) provided for all hires during their tour, free gas and free medical care. Cooper even mentions the Sunday through Thursday work schedule as being something most employees enjoy. "Again, this is a pay incentive because you receive Sunday pay."
During the winter months, the temperature is around 80 degrees (Fahrenheit), and Cooper adds that employees can take advantage of the swimming pool and driving range on-site year round. There are numerous activities in the area that are offered, including golf, diving and horseback riding.
While Cooper admits that Central Command's restriction to adult-only dependents may significantly reduce the pool of interested applicants, he is quick to note that those who do accept jobs at OPM-SANG nearly always extend beyond the initial year (or two years for those on an accompanied tour).
While potential employees may also express concerns about security, Cooper and others at OPM-SANG praise how operations are handled by U.S. forces and their Saudi counterparts, with the common phrase, "Safer than most cities" most often repeated. Cooper, who has been at OPM-SANG 19 months summed it up by saying, "It's just a great experience."
For more information regarding OPM-SANG and job opportunities, visit the website at: www.army.mil/OPM-SANG. OPM-SANG is a subordinate organization to U.S. Army Security Assistance Command, which an Army Materiel Command subordinate command.