Federal Manager's Daily Report

The DoD ethics office has sent a reminder that hiring officials there may no longer use a formerly common exception to the restriction against hiring retired military personnel into federal employee positions at the department within 180 days of their retirement.

The DoD budget law for the current fiscal year repealed a “national emergency” exception–which started in 2001 and had been renewed by Presidents annually afterward–that enabled DoD to hire military retirees immediately after their separation from uniformed service.

Unless another exception applies, “there is once again a 180-day waiting period before a retired military member is eligible for a civilian position at DoD. Please note that this is a civilian personnel issue and not an ethics issue,” the Standards of Conduct office said in an advisory.

The continuing exceptions mainly involve situations in which the DoD Secretary or a designee specifically authorizes the hiring of an individual for a position, and OPM approves.

The “national security” exception was repealed at the initiative of the Senate Armed Services Committee, which concluded that it was being used so much that it was becoming the rule. The MSPB earlier had raised concerns that the principles of merit hiring were at risk, since in many cases the retiree was hired for the civil service position even before separating from the military.