The annual DoD authorization bill being drafted in the House would largely reverse a 2016 policy change that restricted the hiring of recently retired military personnel into civilian positions at the department.

Within certain limited exceptions that continue to apply, DoD may not hire military retirees within 180 days of their retirements. Until the changes enacted two years ago, there was an additional exception for “national emergency” reasons. The Senate had initiated the repeal of that exception out of concern that it was being overused and limiting employment opportunities for others, including current federal employees looking to move up. The House ultimately consented to that repeal.


However, the measure now being readied for a vote in the House Armed Services Committee would create a new exception to allow such hiring at the department’s discretion: if it determines that the military retiree is highly qualified or if the need to fill the position makes going through standard hiring procedures “not appropriate or reasonable.”

The measure also would continue long-running authority to waive limits on premium pay and annual compensation for employees working overseas in dangerous situations, and for certain forward-deployed Navy employees.

Other proposals under consideration would reduce, eliminate or consolidate more than two dozen “fourth estate” DoD agencies outside the military services, including assigning a single individual to oversee them all and with a goal—to be imposed legislatively if not met—of a 25 percent reduction over two years.