Federal Manager's Daily Report

In announcing that it will hire for civilian jobs only on a limited basis even though the government-wide general freeze is no longer in effect, the Defense Department has noted that it is operating under several directives aimed at reducing and reshaping civilian personnel.

In addition to the OMB memo’s mandate to prepare reorganization and downsizing plans, DoD is required by its authorization law to restructure and downsize certain functions, a memo from Deputy Secretary Robert Work noted.

DoD organizations affected by that requirement are to assess in advance of any hiring action “whether the position should be filled in light of potential organizational and mission uncertainties.” These include the medical and intelligence functions of all components and the office of the undersecretary for acquisition, technology and logistics, which is set to be split and reorganized.

The defense budget also calls for a reduction in SES positions by a quarter by 2022, and until such a plan is in place, vacancies are to be initially announced only within DoD; applications received in response will be evaluated before any recruitment from the outside.

In addition, components must operate within FTE limits set by the 2017 budget and the Future Years Defense Program, and limits on hiring by “major headquarters activities” remain in effect. In those activities, staffing “adjustments or growth are not authorized unless approved through the program review and budget process,” the memo says.