Following is a summary from a Senate committee report of provisions affecting civilian employees in the annual DoD authorization bill there, some of them affecting only DoD employees but others applying government-wide.
Civilian personnel management (sec. 1101)
The committee recommends a provision 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 Secretary of each military department would also be required 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.
Repeal of requirement for annual strategic workforce plan for the Department of Defense (sec. 1102)
The committee recommends a provision 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.
Temporary and term appointments in the competitive service in the Department of Defense (sec. 1103)
The committee recommends a provision that would modify statutory provisions to allow the Department of Defense to develop more strategic outreach efforts to recruit the talent needed to address a critical hiring need. The Department of Defense would determine recruitment sources, including processes for the solicitation of applications, and agencies would continue to be held responsible for merit-based hiring decisions, consistent with other employment requirements.
Personnel authorities related to the defense acquisition workforce (sec. 1104)
The committee recommends a provision that would repeal section 1762 of title 10, United States Code, and create a new section 1763 of title 10, United States Code to provide a permanent authority that would allow the Secretary of Defense to establish and adjust a special system of personnel programs for employees in the Department of Defense civilian acquisition workforce and supporting personnel assigned to work directly with that workforce. Specifically, this provision would change the Civilian Acquisition Workforce Personnel Demonstration Project (AcqDemo) from an indefinite project to a permanent system under the sole authority of the Secretary. This provision would retain for the new system the current authorities applicable to the demonstration project and provide the ability to expand coverage of acquisition organizations and personnel so that all of the acquisition workforce and the supporting personnel assigned to work directly with that workforce may participate.
The AcqDemo was designed to experiment with the necessary personnel flexibilities and tools that can function in a dynamic acquisition environment to improve Department of Defense managers’ ability to manage the acquisition workforce and its productivity effectively. Since the AcqDemo implementation in fiscal year 1999, the classification, contribution assessment, and compensation flexibilities have become essential within the acquisition cadre of workforce management tools. Therefore, the committee recommends a provision that would make permanent the system of acquisition personnel programs containing tested and accepted flexibilities needed by the acquisition workforce to better support the warfighters under a single organization within the Department of Defense.
Direct hire authority for financial management experts into the Department of Defense workforce (sec. 1105)
The committee recommends a provision 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. This authority is limited to 10 percent of the total number of finance, accounting, management, or actuarial science degree to 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. This authority expires on January 1, 2023.
Direct hire authority for the Department of Defense for post-secondary students and recent graduates (sec. 1106)
The committee recommends a provision that would 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 occupa 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.
Public-private talent exchange (sec. 1107)
The committee recommends a provision that would allow Department of Defense employees to work in the private sector and for 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. 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.
Training for employment personnel of Department of Defense on matters relating to authorities for recruitment and retention at United States Cyber Command (sec. 1108)
The committee recommends a provision 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 committee recommends a report to be completed by the Secretary of Defense no later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act. The report shall include a description of the training that the Secretary intends to provide to each of the employees described and the frequency with which the Secretary intends to provide such training.
Increase in maximum amount of voluntary separation incentive pay authorized for civilian employees of the Department of Defense (sec. 1109)
The committee recommends a provision 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.
Repeal of certain basis for appointment of a retired member of the Armed Forces to Department of Defense position within 180 days of retirement (sec. 1110)
The committee recommends a provision 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 committee notes with concern the conclusions of the United States Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) in its report ‘‘Veteran Hiring in the Civil Service: Practices and Perceptions,’’ concerning the effect of the national emergency waiver since 2001 on the application of this so-called ‘‘180-day rule.’’ The purpose of the law, enacted over 50 years ago, was to ensure that retired military members were not given civil service positions for reasons other than merit, a practice that can, over time, lead to unhealthy results for the civil service, and more immediately undermine long-standing merit principles that seek to ensure the most-qualified individuals are considered for federal employment.
The committee appreciates the unique and broad experience military retirees bring to the civil service, but the committee also recognizes the virtues afforded by career civil servants. Most military retirees and other veterans already receive hiring preferences in recognition of their service. Beyond that, the committee believes veterans and retirees should compete on equal footing with other qualified applicants. As the report noted, between September 14, 2001, and the report’s publication in August 2014, 41,630 military retirees were hired by the Department within the 180-day window.
More than one-third of those appointments were made prior to the member’s effective retirement date, and more than half occurred within a single pay period after retirement. These figures strongly imply a significant number of these members were hired directly into the offices which they supported while in the military. While not improper, per se, it does, as the MSPB report noted, create suspicions.
Finally, the committee is concerned about the affect this practice has on diversity within the Department, not just in terms of diversity as it is traditionally defined, but also on diversity of thought, experience, and background within the Department that is desirable in any organization.
Accordingly, the committee directs the Secretary of Defense to submit a report to the Committees on Armed Services of the Senate and the House of Representatives no later than February 1, 2017 with data concerning the extent military retirees are hired by the Department. Such report shall include the following elements: (1) the number of military retirees hired by the Department in fiscal years 2014 and 2015 prior to or within 180 days of their retirement; (2) the total number of military retirees hired by the Department during fiscal years 2014 and 2015 broken down by whether those individuals served as officers or enlisted personnel; (3) the number of non-military retiree veterans hired by the Department during fiscal years 2014 and 2015 who were beneficiaries of the veteran preference; (4) the number and categories of non-veteran preference, preference eligible candidates hired by the Department during fiscal years 2014 and 2015; (5) the number of female applicants who did not qualify for preference eligible points hired by the Department during fiscal years 2014 and 2015; and (6) the number of male applicants who did not qualify for preference eligible points hired by the Department during fiscal years 2014 and 2015. Finally, the Secretary shall provide an assessment of how application of the veteran’s preference since 2001 in the case of military retirees has impacted diversity within the Department, and the ability of the Department and the military services to consistently hire best-qualified individuals for federal service.
Pilot programs on career sabbaticals for Department of Defense civilian employees (sec. 1111)
The committee recommends a provision that would create a pilot program on career sabbaticals for Department of Defense civilian employees. The pilot program would be limited to 300 full-time civilian employees of each military department who may be selected during each of calendar years 2017 through 2022 to participate.
Sabbaticals would be for 1 year and are intended to provide the Department of Defense an opportunity to respond to the personal, familial, and professional needs of individual members of its civilian workforce.
Limitation on number of SES employees (sec. 1112)
The committee recommends a provision 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.
No time limitation for appointment of relocating military spouses (sec. 1113)
The committee recommends a provision that would clearly articulate that there is no time limitation on a relocating spouse’s eligibility for noncompetitive appointment from the date of the service member’s permanent change of station orders to the spouses’ permanent appointment per duty station.
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 committee recommends a provision that would amend Chapter 81 of Title 10, United States Code, to support efforts by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) 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 recommended provision would make permanent 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 provision would also make permanent similar authority to the Department of Defense research labs, as well as the office of Operational Test and Evaluation.
The committee notes that the agency’s experimental personnel authority was originally authorized by Congress in section 1101 of the Strom Thurmond National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1999 (PL 105–261). Since then, the Agency has used this authority effectively to bring innovative and talented program managers into public service. This authority has allowed the Agency to use more rapid and flexible personnel practices to hire talented individuals into term positions in support of broader national security efforts.
The committee notes that these ‘‘1101’’ employees and their programs have made breakthrough contributions in areas as wideranging as robotics, unmanned systems, cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, and the development of advanced prosthetics currently being used by military veterans. These managers have overseen ground-breaking technological advances and investments in cutting- edge research, technologies, and prototypes that support current and future military capabilities. As an example, the committee highlights that technological advances made by the Agency have been fielded in operational systems used extensively over the last decade in successful operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. In total, the Agency is now leading efforts to develop critical military capabilities for the future.
The committee notes that on April 12, 2016, the subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities received testimony on the Agency’s current efforts to support the Secretary’s Third Offset Strategy, which is designed to maintain the military’s technological superiority over peer adversaries through work in areas such as hypersonics, space systems, and robotics. During that testimony, the Agency’s director highlighted the value of the Agency’s personnel system, stating ‘‘Of course, at the center of DARPA’s success is an abiding commitment to identify, recruit and support excellent program managers who are extraordinary individuals who are at the top of their fields and who are hungry for the opportunity to push the limits of their disciplines during their limited terms at DARPA. The 1101 experiment has now been running since 1999 and has clearly proven its benefits to DARPA and the nation. After 16 years of annual uncertainty about its ongoing availability, we would appreciate your support to make this authority permanent.’’
Permanent extension and modification of temporary authorities for certain positions at Department of Defense research and engineering laboratories (sec. 1122)
The committee recommends a provision that would amend Section 1107 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014 (Public Law 113–66).
The committee notes that each year the science and technology reinvention laboratories of the Department of Defense hire hundreds of students with the expectation and hope that the laboratories can then successfully recruit the next generation of the best and brightest scientists and engineers. To expedite this critical process, the Congress has provided in previous years a direct hire authority for a limited number of students each year. The committee understands, however, that even this limited authority has not been sufficient to meet the needs of the laboratories over the past several years. Consequently, the committee recommends a provision that would increase the limit on the total number of students eligible for direct hire by the laboratories.
The committee notes with dismay that students that are brought onto the federal workforce on a temporary basis are considered laboratory employees only for the time that they are still enrolled in school, plus 120 days, at which point, they are effectively let go from their positions. The committee understands that oftentimes this separation occurs against the wishes of the student and of the laboratory director, who has no specific authority to retain that employee.
In previous years, Congress has provided the authority for the labs to permanently hire some of these students upon graduation by converting them non-competitively to full-time status. The committee believes that expanding this direct hire authority to hire a greater number of students, and making the authority permanent, would allow directors to more effectively recruit the most talented students.
Direct hire authority for scientific and engineering positions for test and evaluation facilities of the Major Range and Test Facility Base (sec. 1123)
The committee recommends a provision that would give certain hiring authorities to test and evaluation centers.
In previous years, the committee has given the directors of the science and technology laboratories of the Department of Defense broad authority to shape their own workforce, including the ability to make direct hires. The committee is pleased to learn that, because of these authorities, lab directors report that they are now able to recruit and retain a workforce that is of a significantly higher quality. Directors are now able to compete more effectively with the private sector for top scientific and engineering talent.
Recognizing that a talented, high-quality workforce is also vital to the mission of the test and evaluation facilities of the Department, the committee recommends a provision that would give the directors of these facilities the same direct hire authorities.
Just as it has done for laboratory scientists and engineers in previous years, the committee recognizes that scientists and engineers employed by the Defense test and evaluation facilities are a valuable national resource that ensure that cutting-edge technologies meet the needs of and are adequately tested for those that engage in our nation’s frontline conflicts. These needs are continually evolving and as a result, the test and evaluation facilities across the enterprise are constantly called upon to prepare technologies and systems for deployment. In this regard, giving the directors for these facilities the authority to more freely shape their own workforces is in direct support of the national security needs of the nation.
Permanent authority for the temporary exchange of information technology personnel (sec. 1124)
The committee recommends a provision that would amend Section 1110 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 (Public Law 111–84).
The committee notes that since it was established by the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 (Public Law 111–84), the Information Technology Exchange Program has been used by the Defense Department to temporarily bring on board private- sector experts in information technology and its management.
The committee believes that this program has been helpful in modernizing the Defense Department’s information technology capabilities and also in providing the Department with access to best practices and technologies. The committee also notes that this exchange program is still considered a pilot program, but that Congress has extended the authorization each time it has been required. Consequently, the committee recommends a provision that would make the Information Technology Exchange Program permanent.
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. 1125)
The committee recommends a provision that would establish an enhanced compensation pilot program.
The committee notes that the workforce authorities Congress has provided to the Department of Defense science and technology laboratories in previous years have already proven to be quite beneficial in terms of recruiting and retaining a strong and talented science and engineering workforce that is ready to tackle the challenges of modern warfare. However, the committee is also aware that the laboratories continue to have difficult recruiting scientists at the very top of their fields, those that are bona fide global experts in their professions who command top salaries from their employers.
The committee notes that thus far, laboratories have been powerless to compete for these individuals against the private sector.
To help address this issue, the committee recommends a provision that would give service laboratories the authority to offer compensation above the maximum amount normally allowed by the executive schedule.
This provision would set strict limits on the types of positions that are eligible for enhanced pay authority, restricting them to positions that require expertise of an extremely high level and that are critical to the successful completion of an important laboratory mission. In addition, the authority could only be exercised with the approval of the relevant service acquisition executive, or higher depending on the level of authority exercised. As the provision would establish a pilot program for enhanced compensation, the authority would be limited to five positions in each service and only for term positions of less than 5 years. The committee believes that these limitations will allow for an assessment on the effectiveness of this authority over the first several years.
The committee notes that highly-skilled subject matter experts are often in high demand in their fields, not only in the private sector but in non-profit research organizations and private labs, as well as in the government. The committee believes that allowing the defense laboratories to compete on a more level playing field will help to enhance the quality of the technical workforce in the defense research enterprise and ultimately be of benefit for our national security interests.
Discharge of certain authorities to conduct personnel demonstration projects (sec. 1126)
The committee recommends a provision that would amend Section 342(b)(3) of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1995 (Public Law 103–37).
The Department of Defense laboratory demonstration program was established by section 342 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1995 (Public Law 103–337), and all decision- making authority regarding this program was granted to the Secretary of Defense by the Floyd D. Spence National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2001 (Public Law 106–398). These provisions granted the Secretary the ability to make waivers for the demonstration program based on enhanced laboratory performance.
Since then, despite numerous recommendations and internal disagreement, the Secretary opted to give exclusive jurisdiction over the program’s waiver authorities to the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness. To remedy this situation, the committee recommends a provision that would ensure that the authorities granted to the Secretary to conduct laboratory demonstration programs are discharged through the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics. The provision also indicates that in the exercise of such authorities, an emphasis shall be placed on enhancing efficient operations of the laborator.
The committee notes with dismay that over the past several years, the office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness has often declined proposals from the laboratories for demonstration programs. The committee believes that these denials have occurred because the office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness lacks the technical expertise that would be necessary to fairly evaluate demonstration program proposals. In response to this situation, the Congress has continued to pass statutes broadening these authorities, including statutes requiring the Secretary to fully implement laboratory authorities and granting laboratories broad authorities to shape their own workforces.
The committee believes that transferring the decision-making authority to the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics would re-focus the implementation of the demonstration program statutes on initiatives designed to enhance laboratory performance. The committee also believes that the Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics organization is most suited to provide legal interpretation on demonstration program proposals.
Subtitle C—Government-Wide Matters
Expansion of personnel flexibilities relating to land management agencies to include all agencies (sec. 1131)
The committee recommends a provision that would amend chapter 96 of title 5, United States Code, to expand the personnel flexibilities available to land management agencies to include all agencies government-wide, to include the Department of Defense.
Direct hiring for Federal wage schedule employees (sec. 1132)
The committee recommends a provision 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.
Appointment authority for uniquely qualified prevailing rate employees (sec. 1133)
The committee recommends a provision 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.
Limitation on preference eligible hiring preferences for permanent employees in the competitive service (sec. 1134)
The committee recommends a provision 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.
Authority for advancement of pay for certain employees relocating within the United States and its territories (sec. 1135)
The committee recommends a provision 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.
Elimination of the foreign exemption provision in regard to overtime for federal civilian employees temporarily assigned to a foreign area (sec. 1136)
The committee recommends a provision 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.
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 committee recommends a provision 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.
Subtitle D—Other Matters Modification of flat rate per diem requirement for personnel on long-term temporary duty assignments (sec. 1151)
The committee recommends a provision that would require the Secretary of Defense to take such action as may be necessary to provide that, to the extent that regulations implementing travel and transportation authorities for military and civilian personnel of the Department of Defense impose a flat rate per diem for meals and incidental expenses for authorized travelers on long term temporary duty (TDY) assignments that is at a reduced rate compared to the per diem rate otherwise applicable, the Service Secretary concerned may waive the applicability of such reduced rate and pay such travelers actual expenses up to the full per diem rate for such travel in any case when the Secretary concerned determines that the reduced flat rate per diem for meals and incidental expenses is not sufficient under the circumstances of the TDY assignment.
The provision would allow a Service Secretary to delegate this authority to any commander or head of an agency, component, or systems command of the Department of Defense at the level of lieutenant general or vice admiral, or above, or civilian equivalent thereof and would permit an agency, component, or systems command to which the authority has been delegated to waive any requirement for the submittal of receipts to receive the full per diem rate in instances in which such commander, or head of an agency, component, or systems command personally certifies that such requirement will negatively affect mission performance, create an undue administrative burden, or result in significant additional administrative processing costs.
In the report accompanying the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016 (Public Law 114–49), the committee stated that it wanted to ensure that the TDY ‘‘policy does not discourage some DOD personnel—including civilian workers at shipyards and depots—from volunteering for important TDY assignments’’ and directed the department to ‘‘monitor closely the effect of this new policy to avoid unintended disincentives and ensure that those who volunteer for mission essential travel are fully supported and en couraged.’’ Congress, in section 623 of that Act, directed a review of the impact this policy has on affected employees, particularly those at public shipyards.
The committee notes that civilian public shipyard workers play a critical role in maintaining naval ships and submarines, ensuring combatant commanders have the safe and combat ready naval vessels they require. The committee also notes that the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) has expressed concerns that the long-term temporary duty (TDY) per diem policy of the Department is having a negative impact on ship and submarine maintenance and the civilian employees of naval shipyards traveling for direct labor in support of off-yard work.
In a January 19, 2016 letter, the Commander of NAVSEA wrote that the new policy ‘‘has already had a negative impact on the Naval Shipyards’ ability to effectively and efficiently conduct Navy ship maintenance.’’ The commander also wrote that the policy ‘‘is jeopardizing the successful execution of off station availabilities and costing the Navy more than the intended savings’’, and that ‘‘civilian employee desire to voluntarily travel has significantly declined.’’ The commander requested that these shipyard workers be ‘‘exempt from Long Term Flat Rate Per Diem.’’ On April 5, 2016, the Commander, NAVSEA reiterated his concerns in his testimony before the Senate Armed Services Readiness and Management Support Subcommittee. On March 15, 2016, the Vice Chief of Naval Operations also expressed concern in her testimony before the committee about the long-term TDY policy and its impact on public shipyard workers.
It is the committee’s understanding and expectation that the Navy would delegate the authority to NAVSEA to waive the reduced TDY rate and waive any requirement for the submittal of receipts at a minimum for cases related to naval shipyard civilian employees traveling on TDY in support of off-yard work. The committee also understands and expects that, consistent with Commander, NAVSEA’s letter and Navy testimony, NAVSEA would utilize this authority to ensure that naval shipyard employees traveling on long term TDY in support of off-yard work would not be subject to the reduced TDY rate and would not be required to submit receipts in order to receive the full per diem rate if so certified by such commander in accordance with the provision.
One-year extension of temporary authority to grant allowances, benefits, and gratuities to civilian personnel on official duty in a combat zone (sec. 1152)
The committee recommends a provision 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.
Items of Special Interest Furlough of Department of Defense civilian employees
The committee notes that in the rare case of an administrative furlough, the Department of Defense should consider mission first 305 in making furlough decisions, with great consideration given to unit readiness.
Performance metrics relative to procedures for reduction in force of Department of Defense civilian personnel S
ection 1101 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016 (Public Law 114–92) requires the Secretary of Defense to establish procedures to provide that performance be the primary factor in determining which employees be separated under a reduction in force of civilian positions of the Department of Defense.
Subsequent to the enactment of this requirement, the Department implemented the New Beginnings performance management system, which includes two performance metrics, a summary rating and the rating of record. The Committee believes that the Department, in implementing the requirements of section 1101, should use the performance metric that best differentiates the performance of civilian employees for these purposes. The Committee directs the Secretary to provide the Committees on Armed Services of the Senate and the House of Representatives a report detailing its implementation plan for section 1101 by no later than September 1, 2016.
Report on automatic step increases for Department of Defense civilians
The committee directs the Secretary of Defense, in consultation with the Director of the Office of Personnel Management, to submit a report to the Committees on Armed Services of the Senate and the House of Representatives no later than March 1, 2017, on the feasibility of using a minimum of satisfactory performance as the metric required for step increases for Department of Defense civilians rather than the current time-in-grade system. The report should include an analysis of how such a change could enhance the ability of civilian personnel managers to manage those employees whose performance is below satisfactory and improve their performance.