Following is a summary of key personnel policies contained in the annual DoD budget, now ready for final voting in the House and Senate.

Direct hire authority for the Department of Defense for personnel to assist in business transformation and management innovation (sec. 1101)
The Senate amendment contained a provision (sec. 934) that would grant the Secretary of Defense the authority to appoint a small group of individuals to assist the Department in management innovation.

The House bill contained no similar provision.
The House recedes with an amendment that makes technical and conforming changes, limits the number of positions and sets a sunset date of September 30, 2021 for this authority.

Extension of direct hire authority for Domestic Defense Industrial Base Facilities and Major Range and Test Facilities Base (sec. 1102)
The House bill contained a provision (sec. 1101) that would extend the temporary direct hiring authority granted in section 1125 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017 (Public Law 114-328) until September 30, 2021.

The Senate amendment contained a similar provision (sec. 1105) that would extend section 1125(a) of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017 (Public Law 114-328) through fiscal year 2019.

The Senate recedes with an amendment requiring a briefing by the Secretary of Defense no later than 90 days after the end of each of fiscal years 2019 and 2021 to the Committees on Armed Services of the Senate and the House of Representatives, the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform of the House of Representatives, and the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs of the Senate.

Extension of authority to provide voluntary separation incentive pay for civilian employees of the Department of Defense (sec. 1103)
The House bill contained a provision (sec. 1102) that would extend the authority of the Secretary of Defense provided by the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017 (Public Law 114-328) to pay increased voluntary separation pay for Department of Defense civilian personnel until September 30, 2021.

The Senate amendment contained no similar provision.
The Senate recedes with an amendment that would require the Secretary of Defense to brief the Committees on Armed Services of the Senate and the House of Representatives, the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform of the House of Representatives, and the Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs of the Senate no later than December 31, 2019 and December 31, 2021, on the use of the extended authority.
Additional Department of Defense science and technology reinvention laboratories (sec. 1104)

The House bill contained a provision (sec. 1103) that would revise and update the list of laboratories designated as Science and Technology Reinvention Laboratories to include the Naval Medical Research Center and the Joint Warfighting Analysis Center.

The Senate amendment contained a similar provision (sec. 218) that would clarify the list of laboratories that are authorized to execute the special hiring, infrastructure recapitalization, technology transfer and industry partnership, research, and other authorities that have been previously authorized by Congress and by the Department of Defense.

The Senate recedes with an amendment that would include the Naval Facilities Engineering and Expeditionary Warfare Center in the list of laboratories designated.

The conferees note that the authorities granted to science and technology reinvention laboratories are intended to be executed by laboratory directors at the local laboratory level, so as to be better used to address local management and bureaucratic challenges and avoid the inefficiency and slowness of centralized control over organizations whose missions require agility and innovation. The conferees note that the technical directorates of the Air Force Research Laboratory in essence function as decentralized organizations under a larger corporate umbrella, and thus express many of the characteristics of independent laboratories.

The conferees expect that all authorities designed to ease bureaucratic burdens on the laboratories will be delegated to local laboratory directors and used, consistent with congressional intent, to the maximum intent practicable to support research efforts. In particular, the conferees urge the laboratory commander of the Air Force Research Laboratory to delegate all such authorities to directors of the laboratory’s technical directorates. These authorities include all authorities that have been previously authorized by Congress and by the Department of Defense.

One-year extension of authority to waive annual limitation on premium pay and aggregate limitation on pay for Federal civilian employees working overseas (sec. 1105)

The House bill contained a provision (sec. 1104) that would extend the authority provided by the Duncan Hunter National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2009 (Public Law 110-417) to waive the annual limitation on premium pay and the aggregate limitation of pay for federal civilian employees working overseas until September 30, 2019.

The Senate amendment contained a similar provision (sec. 1112).

The Senate recedes.
Direct hire authority for financial management experts in the Department of Defense workforce (sec. 1106)
The Senate amendment contained a provision (sec. 1106) that would extend the financial management hiring authority granted in section 1110 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017 (Public Law 114-38) to several Department of Defense components not included in the military departments or defense agencies.

The House bill contained a similar provision (sec. 1106) that would expand the number of Department of Defense components that may hire financial management experts using direct hire authority.

The House recedes with an amendment that adds a briefing to the Committee on Armed Services of the House of Representatives, the Committee on Armed Services of the Senate, the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs of the Senate in fiscal years 2019 and 2021.

Extension of authority for temporary personnel flexibilities for Domestic Defense Industrial Base Facilities and Major Range and Test Facilities Base civilian personnel (sec. 1107)

The House bill contained a provision (sec. 1107) that would amend subsection (a) of section 1132 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017 (Public Law 114- 328) to extend authority for temporary civilian personnel flexibilities for domestic defense industrial base facilities and Major Range and Test Facilities through fiscal year 2021.

The Senate amendment contained no similar provision.
The Senate recedes with an amendment requiring a briefing by the Secretary of Defense no later than 90 days after the end of each of fiscal years 2019 and 2021 to the Committees on Armed Services of the Senate and the House of Representatives, the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform of the House of Representatives, and the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs of the Senate.

One-year extension of temporary authority to grant allowances, benefits, and gratuities to civilian personnel on official duty in a combat zone (sec. 1108)
The House bill contained a provision (sec. 1108) that would amend section 1133 of the National Defense Authorization Act of Fiscal Year 2017 (Public Law 114-328) to extend by one year the authority of heads of federal agencies to provide allowances, benefits, and gratuities comparable to those provided to members of the Foreign Service to an agency’s employees on official duty in a combat zone.

The Senate amendment contained an identical provision (sec. 1113).
The conference agreement includes this provision.

Extension of overtime rate authority for Department of the Navy employees performing work aboard or dockside in support of the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier forward deployed in Japan (sec.  1109)

The House bill contained a provision (sec. 1109) that would extend by one year the authority of the Secretary of the Navy to pay overtime pay to civilian employees performing work in support of the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier forward deployed in Japan.

The Senate amendment contained no similar provision.
The Senate recedes.

Pilot program on enhanced personnel management system for cybersecurity and legal professionals in the Department of Defense (sec. 1110)
The Senate bill contained a provision (sec. 1101) that would require the Secretary of Defense to carry out a pilot program to assess the feasibility and advisability of an enhanced personnel management system for cybersecurity and legal professionals, applicable to new hires in those fields in pay grades GS-15 and below within the Department of Defense, commencing January 1, 2020.

The House bill contained no similar provision.
The House recedes.

Establishment of senior scientific technical managers at Major Range and Test Facility Base Facilities and Defense Test Resource Management Center (sec. 1111)

The Senate amendment contained a provision (sec. 1104) that would amend section 2358a of title 10, United States Code, to explicitly include the test and evaluation centers, defined as each facility of the Major Range and Test Facility Base, and the Defense Test Resource Management Center.
The House bill contained no similar provision.

The House recedes with a technical amendment specifying that each organization may hire at least one senior scientific technical manager, regardless of the number of scientists and engineers employed. The conferees note that this authority does not yet include the Operational Test Agencies, nor the Developmental Test and Evaluation office, housed within the Office of the Secretary of Defense. The conferees believe there may be merit to including these organizations in the future and direct the Department of Defense to submit to the Congressional defense committees a recommendation on whether these organizations could benefit from the hiring of senior scientific technical managers.

LEGISLATIVE PROVISIONS NOT ADOPTED
Inclusion of Strategic Capabilities Office and Defense Innovation Unit Experimental of the Department of Defense in personnel management authority to attract experts in science and engineering

The Senate amendment contained a provision (sec. 1102) that would extend certain existing personnel management authorities at the Department of Defense to include the Strategic Capabilities Office and the Defense Innovation Unit Experimental.
The House bill contained no similar provision.

The Senate recedes.
Appointment of retired members of the Armed Forces to positions in or under the Department of Defense
The House bill contained a provision (sec. 1105) that would amend section 3326 of title 5, United States Code, to allow the Secretary of Defense to appoint recently retired members of the Armed Forces in certain circumstances.

The Senate amendment contained no similar provision.
The House recedes.

Authority for wavier of requirement for a baccalaureate degree for positions in the Department of Defense on cybersecurity and computer programming
The Senate amendment contained a provision (sec. 1107) that would require a briefing by the Secretary of Defense to the Committees on Armed Services for the Senate and the House of Representatives, no later than 60 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, on the feasibility and advisability of the enactment into law of a wavier that would allow the Secretary of Defense to waive any requirement in law for the possession of a baccalaureate degree as a condition of appointment to a position with the primary duties of cyber security and computer programming.
The House bill contained no similar provision.

The Senate recedes.
Briefing on diversity in the civilian workforce on Air Force installations
The House bill contained a provision (sec. 1110) that would require the Secretary of the Air Force, not later than 120 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, to brief the Committees on Armed Services of the Senate and the House of Representatives, the Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs of the Senate, and the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform of the House of Representatives on efforts to increase diversity in the civilian workforce on each Air Force installation.

The Senate amendment contained no similar provision.
The House recedes.

The conferees direct the Secretary of the Air Force to brief the Committees on Armed Services of the Senate and the House of Representatives, the Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs of the Senate, and the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform of the House of Representatives on efforts to increase diversity in the civilian workforce on each Air Force installation.
Elimination of the foreign exemption provision in regard to overtime for Federal civilian employees temporarily assigned to a foreign area
The Senate amendment contained a provision (sec. 1111) that would amend sections 5542 and 5544 of title 5, United States Code, to allow the payment of overtime pay to nonexempt federal civilian employees assigned to temporary duty travel overseas.
The House bill contained no similar provision.

The Senate recedes.
Briefing on plans to develop and improve additive manufacturing capabilities

The Senate amendment contained a provision (sec. 6013) that would require the Secretary of Defense to brief the Committees on Armed Services of the Senate and the House of Representatives on the Department’s plans to develop and improve additive manufacturing, not later than December 1, 2017, to include the Department’s plans to: develop military and quality assurance standards as quickly as possible; leverage current manufacturing institutes to conduct research in the validation of quality standards for additive manufactured parts; and further integrate additive manufacturing capabilities and capacity into the Department’s organic depots, arsenals, and shipyards.

The House bill contained no similar provision.
The Senate recedes.

The conferees are aware of the significant possibilities that additive manufacturing, or 3-D printing, will provide to the Department of Defense, both in revolutionizing the industrial supply chain, as well as in providing radically new technological capabilities. The ability to utilize new materials in new ways, such as titanium or explosives, or to develop new manufacturing processes, has the potential to transform how the Department does business. The establishment of new Defense Manufacturing Innovation Institutes, as well as the growing prevalence of 3-D printers at tactical levels, indicates the Department sees that potential as well. Additive manufacturing could also greatly improve the organic industrial base’s ability to respond to demands that original equipment manufacturers are unable to meet or to fabricate obsolete parts that are no-longer manufactured.

The conferees understand that an inhibitor to seeing the full potential of this technology will be the need to do quality assurance and validation of additive manufactured parts, especially for those in flight or safety-critical systems. Until the Department can develop the standards and processes for assuring quality, 3-D printing will be limited in its application. Also, substantial opportunities remain across the force to add more capacity for this capability, both to repair out-of-date equipment and to speed repair to meet urgent operational requirements.

Therefore, the conferees direct the Secretary of Defense to provide a briefing to the House Committee on Armed Services and the Senate Committee on Armed Services not later than April 1, 2018, on the Department’s plans to develop and improve additive manufacturing. The briefing shall include the Department’s plans to: develop military and quality assurance standards as quickly as possible; leverage current manufacturing institutes to conduct research in the validation of quality standards for additive manufactured parts; and further integrate additive manufacturing capabilities and capacity into the Department’s organic depots, arsenals, and shipyards.

Expansion of SkillBridge initiative to include participation by Federal agencies
The Senate amendment contained a provision (sec. 14003)  that would require the Secretary of Defense, in consultation with the Director, Office of Personnel Management (OPM), to make such modifications to the SkillBridge program as necessary to enable Federal agencies to participate in the initiative as employers and trainers, and would require the Director, OPM, to take such actions necessary to ensure the participation of Federal agencies in the SkillBridge program.

The House bill contained no similar provision.
The Senate recedes.

The conferees note that, according to the Department of Defense, since its inception in 2012, the SkillBridge program has allowed transitioning Service members to participate in employer-driven job skills training, apprenticeships, and internship programs, beginning up to six months before leaving the military. Through such participation in private-sector SkillBridge training, transitioning Service members have received jobs in dozens of industries, ranging from corporate finance, to advanced manufacturing, to information technology, to cyber security. Just as businesses have greatly benefited from the program and the talents that highly trained Service members bring, so too would the other Federal agencies. The expansion of eligible employers and trainers under the program, to include Federal agencies, would prove mutually beneficial for the Federal Government, non-governmental employers, and transitioning service members. To that end, the conferees strongly urge the Secretary, in consultation with the Director, OPM, to take such actions as are necessary to encourage and enable other Federal agencies to participate in the SkillBridge program.