Following is a summary by House-Senate conferees of their agreement on the annual DoD spending bill, which contains some provisions applying only there plus others that will apply government-wide.

SUBTITLE A—DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE MATTERS GENERALLY

Civilian personnel management (sec. 1101) The Senate bill contained a provision (sec. 1101) that would modify Section 129 of title 10, United States Code to remove restrictions on managing civilian personnel within the Department of Defense on the basis of man years, end strength, full-time equivalent positions, or maximum number of employees.

The provision would add a new section requiring a report no later than February 1 of each year from the Secretary of Defense to the congressional defense committees on the management of the civilian workforce of the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Defense Agencies and Field Activities. The provision would require the Secretary of each military department to submit a report on the management of the civilian workforce under the jurisdiction of each Secretary which provides for the projected size of the civilian workforce in the current year and for each year in the future-years defense program to include a justification of any projected increases.

The House amendment contained no similar provision.

The House recedes.

Repeal of requirement for annual strategic workforce plan for the Department of Defense (sec. 1102) The Senate bill contained a provision (sec. 1102) that would repeal the reporting requirement for the Department of Defense to submit a biennial strategic workforce plan, as contained in section 115b of title 10, United States Code.

The House amendment contained no similar provision.

The House recedes.

Training for employment personnel of Department of Defense on matters relating to authorities for recruitment and retention at United States Cyber Command (sec. 1103) The Senate bill contained a provision (sec. 1108) that would require training for employment and human resources personnel at the Department of Defense on special recruitment, hiring, special pays, and retention authorities for positions at United States Cyber Command. In addition to training, written guidance would also be required to inform such employees of the Department of Defense on which authorities are available and how to use those authorities.

The House amendment contained no similar provision.

The House recedes with a technical amendment.

Public-private talent exchange (sec. 1104) The Senate bill contained a provision (sec. 1107) that would allow Department of Defense employees to work in the private sector and private industry employees to work within the Department of Defense. Exchanges would encourage Department of Defense employees to gain skills that align with functional communities or occupational specialties.

The House amendment contained a similar provision (sec. 1113).

The Senate recedes with an amendment that would clarify the conditions under which a temporary assignment of an employee of the Department of Defense may be made and the terms and conditions for private-sector employees assigned to a Department of Defense organization.

The conferees note that as this authority would build on programs like the Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA), the committee understands that the Department of Defense has established procedures for monitoring and controlling salaries and expenses for the IPA program, including a limitation on salaries that may be paid or reimbursed for IPAs, and expects that such constraints will be applied to the pilot authorized by this provision.

Temporary and term appointments in the competitive service in the Department of Defense (sec. 1105) The Senate bill contained a provision (sec. 1103) that would allow non-competitive appointments to Department of Defense temporary and term positions for no more than 18 months without the possibility of extension.

The House amendment contained no similar provision.

The House recedes.

Direct-hire authority for the Department of Defense for postsecondary students and recent graduates (sec. 1106) The Senate bill contained a provision (sec. 1106) that would establish a Department of Defense (DoD) civilian on-campus recruiting authority under title 10 as an alternative to the federal government-wide Pathways program (established by Executive Order 13562) and other Title 5 hiring authorities.

This proposal would facilitate DoD recruiters’ efforts to recruit students directly to civilian positions using a new hiring authority expressly designed for this purpose. Hiring managers and recruiters, who already travel to specific schools with programs they want to target, would be able to involve candidates in a rigorous interview process, and make conditional offers on the spot. This would allow DoD to compete for highly qualified students and recent graduates. This authority would be limited to no more than 15 percent of the total number of hires made into professional and administrative occupations of the Department at the GS-11 level and below annually and would sunset four years after the date on which the Secretary first appoints a recent graduate or current post-secondary student to a position under this section.

The House amendment contained no similar provision.

The House recedes with an amendment that would sunset the provision on September 30, 2021 and require the Secretary of Defense, to the extent practical, to provide public notice and advertising of positions offered under this authority.

Temporary increase in maximum amount of voluntary separation incentive pay authorized for civilian employees of the Department of Defense (sec. 1107) The Senate bill contained a provision (sec. 1109) that would increase the maximum amount of separation pay authorized for Voluntary Separation Incentive Pay (VSIP) from the current ceiling of $25,000 to $40,000 for civilian employees of the Department of Defense. This increased maximum amount would adjust for inflation from when VSIP was first authorized for the Department of Defense in 1993. The Chief Human Capital Officers Act of 2002 (Public Law 107-296) provided government-wide authority to provide VSIP. The maximum payable amount has not been adjusted since VSIP was first authorized.

The House amendment contained no similar provision.

The House recedes with an amendment that would sunset the provision on September 30, 2018.

Extension of the rate of overtime pay for Department of the Navy employees performing work aboard or dockside in support of the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier forward deployed in Japan (sec. 1108) The Senate bill contains a provision (sec. 1136) that would amend sections 5542 and 5544 of title 5, United States Code, to allow overtime pay equal to one and one-half times the hourly rate of basic pay for nonexempt Federal civilian employees assigned to temporary duty travel in exempt areas as defined by the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938.

The House amendment contains no similar provision.

The House recedes with an amendment that would extend the authority to pay overtime to Department of the Navy employees performing work aboard or dockside in support of the nuclearpowered aircraft carrier forward deployed in Japan through September 30, 2018.

Limitation on number of DOD SES positions (sec. 1109) The Senate bill contained a provision (sec. 1112) that would limit the number of employees at the Department of Defense who are in the Senior Executive Service (SES). The limitation in this provision would reduce by 25 percent the number of covered SES employees of the Department, which were employed on December 31, 2015. The reduction required by this provision would be effective on January 1, 2019. Covered SES employees would not include “Highly Qualified Experts,” which the provision limits to 200. The limitation would not apply to those employees of the Department who are appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate.

The House amendment contained no similar provision.

The House recedes with an amendment that would limit the number of senior executives authorized for the Department of Defense to 1,260, and Highly Qualified Experts to 200.

Direct hire authority for financial management experts into the Department of Defense workforce (sec. 1110) The Senate bill contained a provision (sec. 1105) that would provide each secretary of a military department with the authority to appoint qualified candidates possessing a finance, accounting, management, or actuarial science degree to financial management, accounting, auditing, and actuarial positions within the Department of Defense workforce. The authority would be limited to 10 percent of the total number of finance, accounting, management, actuarial science, or financial management positions within each military department that are filled as of the close of the fiscal year last ending before the start of such calendar year. The authority would expire on January 1, 2023.

The House amendment contained no similar provision.

The House recedes with an amendment that would include within this direct appointment authority those possessing a degree or related experience with business administration.

the Armed Forces to Department of Defense position within 180 days of retirement (sec. 1111) The Senate bill contained a provision (sec. 1110) that would amend section 3326 of title 5, United States Code, to repeal subsection (b)(3) which allows the Secretary concerned to waive the restriction on the appointment of retired members of the armed forces to positions in the civil service in the Department of Defense within 180 days of their retirement based on a state of national emergency.

The House amendment contained no similar provision.

The House recedes.

SUBTITLE B—DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY LABORATORIES AND RELATED MATTERS

Permanent personnel management authority for the Department of Defense for experts in science and engineering (sec. 1121) The Senate bill contained a provision (sec. 1121) that would support efforts by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to attract, recruit, and employ world-class scientific, technical, and engineering talent to manage and oversee the innovative research and technology development programs of the agency. The provision would make permanent and codify the current experimental personnel authority that the agency has quite successfully employed, as well as preserve the agency’s ability to compete with the private sector for technical talent through flexibility in setting compensation levels.

The House amendment contained a similar provision (sec. 1105) that would remove the sunset date and annual reporting requirement for these authorities and codify them in chapter 81 of title 10, United States Code.

The House recedes with a technical amendment.

Codification and modification of certain authorities for certain positions at Department of Defense research and engineering laboratories (sec. 1122) The Senate bill contained a provision (sec. 1122) that would increase the limit from 3 percent to 10 percent on the total number of student employees eligible for direct hire by the directors of the Department of Defense science and technology reinvention laboratories. The provision would also make this authority permanent.

The House amendment contained no similar provision.

The House recedes with an amendment to codify this authority in chapter 139 of Title 10, United States Code.

Modification to information technology personnel exchange program (sec. 1123) The Senate bill contained a provision (sec. 1124) that would make the Department of Defense’s Information Technology Exchange Program permanent.

The House amendment contained a similar provision (sec. 1106) that would expand the scope of the program to include cyber operations personnel, and increase the number of personnel that could be exchanged from 10 to 50.

The Senate recedes with an amendment to extend the sunset of the program from 2018 to 2022.

Pilot program on enhanced pay authority for certain research and technology positions in the science and technology reinvention laboratories of the Department of Defense (sec. 1124) The Senate bill contained a provision (sec. 1125) that would give Department of Defense science and technology laboratories the authority to offer compensation for certain positions requiring extremely high levels of experience above the maximum amount normally allowed by the executive schedule.

The House amendment contained no similar provision.

The House recedes.

Temporary direct hire authority for domestic defense industrial base facilities, the Major Range and Test Facilities Base, and the Office of the Director of Operational Test and Evaluation (sec. 1125) The Senate bill contained a provision (sec. 1123) that would give the directors of Department of Defense test and evaluations facilities the same direct hire authorities already provided to the directors of the Department’s science and technology laboratories.

The House amendment contained a similar provision (sec. 1101) that would provide direct hire authority for Department of Defense industrial base facilities located in the United States, as well as the Major Range and Test Facilities Base.

The Senate recedes with an amendment to clarify and enhance several aspects of the authorities.

The conferees direct the Secretary of Defense to provide a briefing to the House and Senate Armed Services Committees as well as the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, not later than 60 days after the end of fiscal year 2018 and again each year until the temporary authorities expire, on the effectiveness of all direct hire authorities granted in this Act in fulfilling the civilian manpower needs of the Department.

SUBTITLE C—GOVERNMENT-WIDE MATTERS

Elimination of two-year eligibility limitation for noncompetitive appointment of spouses of members of the Armed Forces (sec. 1131) The House amendment contained a provision (sec. 574) that would specify that there is no time limitation on a relocating spouse’s eligibility for noncompetitive appointment from the date of the servicemember’s permanent change of station orders to the spouse’s permanent appointment per duty station.

The Senate bill contained a similar provision (sec. 1113).

The Senate recedes.

Temporary personnel flexibilities for domestic defense industrial base facilities and Major Range and Test Facilities Base civilian personnel (sec. 1132) The House amendment contained a provision (sec. 1102) that would allow Department of Defense industrial base facilities located in the United States and Major Range and Test Facilities Base centers to hire temporary employees into permanent positions outside of the requirements of the competitive services.

The Senate bill contained no similar provision.

The Senate recedes with an amendment to clarify the benefits available to such personnel.

One-year extension of temporary authority to grant allowances, benefits, and gratuities to civilian personnel on official duty in a combat zone (sec. 1133) The House amendment contained a provision (sec. 1103) that would extend by 1 year the discretionary authority of the head of a federal agency to provide allowances, benefits, and gratuities comparable to those provided to members of the Foreign Service to an agency’s civilian employees on official duty in a combat zone.

The Senate bill contained a similar provision (sec. 1152).

The Senate recedes.

Advance payments for employees relocating within the United States and its territories (sec. 1134) The Senate bill contained a provision (sec. 1135) that would authorize the use of advance payment of basic pay for current employees who relocate within the United States and its territories to a location outside the employee’s current commuting area. Advance payment of basic pay under this provision would be limited in amount to not more than two pay periods.

The House amendment contained a similar provision (sec. 1104) that would limit the amount to not more than six pay periods.

The Senate recedes with an amendment that would limit the amount to not more than four pay periods.

Eligibility of employees in a time-limited appointment to compete for a permanent appointment at any Federal agency (sec. 1135) The House amendment contained a provision (sec. 1108) that would modify section 9602 of title 5, United States Code, to clarify the eligibility of employees of a land management agency in a time-limited appointment to compete for a permanent appointment at any Federal agency.

The Senate bill contained a similar provision (sec. 1131).

The Senate recedes.

Review of official personnel file of former Federal employee before rehiring (sec. 1136) The House amendment contained an amendment (sec. 1111) that would require an appointing authority to review and consider the information relating to a prospective employee’s former government service in the candidate’s official personnel record file prior to making any determination with respect to the appointment or reinstatement of the employee to such a person.

The Senate bill contained no similar provision.

The Senate recedes with an amendment that would clarify which types of information an appointing authority should review.

One-year extension of authority to waive annual limitation on premium pay and aggregate limitation on pay for Federal civilian employees working overseas (sec. 1137) The Senate bill contained a provision (sec. 1137) that would amend section 1101 of the Duncan Hunter National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2009 (Public Law 110-417), as most recently amended by section as amended by section 1108 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016 (Public Law 114-92), to extend through 2017 the authority of heads of executive agencies to waive limitation on the aggregate of basic and premium pay of employees who perform work in an overseas location that is in the area of responsibility of the commander, U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), or a location that was formerly in CENTCOM but has been moved to an area of responsibility for the Commander, U.S. Africa Command, in support of a military operation or an operation in response to a declared emergency.

The House amendment contained no similar provision.

The House recedes.

Administrative leave (sec. 1138) The House amendment contained a provision (sec. 1109) that would provide that a Federal employee may not be placed on administrative leave, or other paid non-duty status without charging leave, for more than 14 total days for reasons relating to misconduct or performance.

The Senate bill contained no similar provision.

The Senate recedes with an amendment that would provide that a Federal employee may not be placed on administrative leave for more than 10 work days in any calendar year, and authorize additional periods of administrative leave only for employees under investigation or in a notice period, subject to agency determination that the continued presence of the employee in the workplace poses a threat to other employees, evidence relevant to a pending investigation, Government property, or legitimate Government interests.

Direct hiring for Federal wage schedule employees (sec. 1139) The Senate bill contained a provision (sec. 1132) that would direct the Director of the Office of Personnel Management to permit certain agencies to use the direct-hire authority of permanent and non-permanent positions in the competitive service for prevailing rate employees when there is a severe shortage of candidates or a critical hiring need for such positions.

The House amendment contained no similar provision.

The House recedes.

Record of investigation of personnel action in separated employee’s official personnel file (sec. 1140) The House amendment contained a provision (sec. 1110) that would require the head of an agency to make a permanent notation in an individual’s personnel file if the individual resigns from government employment while the subject of a personnel investigation and an adverse finding against the individual is made as a result of the investigation.

The Senate bill contained no similar amendment.

The Senate recedes.

LEGISLATIVE PROVISIONS NOT ADOPTED

Treatment of certain localities for calculation of per diem allowances The House amendment contained a provision (sec. 1107) that would consolidate per diem localities in the Dayton, Ohio, area.

The Senate bill contained no similar provision.

The House recedes.

Pilot programs on career sabbaticals for Department of Defense civilian employees The Senate bill contained a provision (sec. 1111) that would create a pilot program on career sabbaticals for Department of Defense civilian employees.

The House amendment contained no similar provision.

The Senate recedes.

Report on Department of Defense civilian workforce personnel and contractors The House amendment contained a provision (sec. 1112) that would require the Secretary of Defense to submit a detailed report on the structure and number of the civilian workforce and contractors of the Department of Defense.

The Senate bill contained no similar amendment.

The House recedes.

Appointment authority for uniquely qualified prevailing rate employees  The Senate bill contained a provision (sec. 1133) that would allow the head of an agency to appoint an individual to a prevailing rate position at such a rate of basic pay above the minimum rate of the appropriate grade in cases where there is an unusually large shortage of qualified candidates for employment, unique qualifications of a candidate of employment, or a special need of the Government for the services of a candidate for employment.

The House amendment contained no similar provision.

The Senate recedes.

Limitation on preference eligible hiring preferences for permanent employees in the competitive service The Senate bill contained a provision (sec. 1134) that would limit the application of points for preference eligible hiring to the first appointment of a preference eligible candidate in a permanent position in the competitive service.

The House amendment contained no similar provision.

The Senate recedes.

The conferees remain concerned that the Department of Defense has difficulty accessing highly skilled non-veterans into its civilian labor force due to strict preference eligible hiring requirements, and believes that a detailed examination of Department of Defense preference eligible hiring practices is overdue. Therefore, the conferees direct the Secretary of Defense, in coordination with the Secretary of Labor, Secretary of Veterans Affairs, and the Director of the Office of Personnel Management to submit a report no later than May 1, 2017, to the Committees on Armed Services of the Senate and House of Representatives, the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs of the Senate, and the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform of the House of Representatives.

Such report shall consist of a coordinated overview of the Veterans preference process in Federal hiring and shall contain the following elements: (1) an analysis of how the current process of applying preference eligible points works in practice, including initial hires and the process as employees move and advance into new positions; (2) a review of positive impacts realized in the past five years of preference eligible hiring; (3) an analysis of the impact of preference eligible hiring on agencies’ ability to hire qualified non-veteran applicants; (4) an analysis of the impact of preference eligible graduates and young talent needed to build the future workforce; (5) a review of challenges identified in the past five years of preference eligible hiring; (6) an analysis of the impact of preference eligible hiring on science, technology, engineering and math positions; and (7) proposals from the reviewing agencies to improve the current preference eligible hiring process.