The Defense Department would have to assess its hard-to-fill positions, particularly in the STEM fields, as well as the “possible future gaps” in its workforce skills ahead, under the annual DoD appropriations bill now pending in the House.
The report by the Appropriations Committee says the committee “is concerned that Department of Defense recruiting and retention programs are not as effective as they could be to employ personnel for the challenging types of vacancies the department and the [individual military] services have.” It requires regular reporting on education and workforce development programs, retention incentives and manpower requirements for hard-to-fill positions, along with action plans.
It notes that for many positions DoD has discretion to use either federal civilian, contractor or military personnel; it requires a report how those choices affect recruitment and retention for such positions, which also is to take into account the impact on hiring of women, minorities, individuals with disabilities and veterans.
“In addition, the committee is concerned about hiring gaps relating to career and technical education and science, technology, engineering, and math programs and careers throughout the Department of Defense,” it says. It orders a separate review and report on use of those programs and then a strategy to “develop a comprehensive group of programs to address current and possible future defense workforce gaps in this arena.”