A Bipartisan Policy Center report has repeated commonly voiced criticisms of the length of the federal hiring process, which it attributed to the “various checks, filters, and reviews that must accompany applications.”

“Unlike most private-sector employers, hiring managers in the federal government are not allowed to review applicant résumés until late in the process; instead, automated systems and human-resources personnel handle these reviews. These processes are designed to ensure that various preferences and diversity requirements are met and to promote fair hiring practices. These procedures are well intentioned, but the result is a lengthy hiring process,” it said.

The report said that the average time-to-hire at DoD has improved from 116 to 83 days over 2010-2015, but the processes still “significantly curb the discretion of managers in hiring, promotion, and removal of employees.”

It said that veterans preference, while well intentioned, “has reduced the diversity of background and experience in the civilian employee pool.” Women make up only a third of the DoD workforce compared with nearly half at other agencies, and younger persons are under-represented in comparison with their share of the overall American workforce, it said.

One result, it said, is that “these challenges have dramatically increased the department’s reliance upon contractors. Use of contractors, which are typically more expensive than civilian employees, should be based on the needs of the mission or task at hand, not a fix for a flawed and inflexible civilian-employment model.”