Issue Briefs

Following is the section of a House report on the annual DoD authorization bill describing policy changes and requirements for studies that could lead to changes in the future.

TITLE XI—CIVILIAN PERSONNEL MATTERS

ITEMS OF SPECIAL INTEREST

Civilian Sexual Assault Study The committee is concerned about sexual harassment and assault prevention and response procedures within the civilian workforce of the Department of Defense. The committee notes that civilian employees report harassment and assault at higher rates than their uniformed counterparts, and in some instances express dissatisfaction with their management’s handling of these complaints.

Therefore, the committee directs the Comptroller General of the United States to submit a report to the congressional defense committees by March 1, 2020, on the Department of Defense sexual assault and harassment prevention and response system for civilian employees. This report shall include, but is not limited to, the following elements: (1) the utilization rate of the sexual assault services by civilian employees; (2) an assessment of the quality and timing of preventive training; (3) the staffing level of the prevention and response systems, Department of Defense counselors, victim advocates, and special victims counsels for civilian employee sexual assault victims; and (4) a comparison of the resources to those available for military personnel.

Department of Defense Report on Reduction in Force

The committee notes that section 1101 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016 (Public Law 114–92) required the Secretary of Defense to establish procedures to require that any reduction in force for civilian positions for the competitive service or the excepted service be conducted primarily on the basis of performance under any applicable performance management system.

The committee also notes that the ‘‘New Beginnings’’ performance management and workforce incentive system was authorized by section 1113 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 (Public Law 111–84) in conjunction with the repeal of the National Security Personnel System.

The committee believes the impacts of these significant changes to civilian workforce policy in the Department of Defense should be identified and reviewed for any necessary modification. Therefore, the committee directs the Secretary of Defense to submit a report to the congressional defense committees by March 1, 2020, concerning all involuntary civilian reductions in force conducted on or after January 1, 2016, broken out by Department of Defense component.

The report should illustrate the number of employees separated, the number of employees separated because of less favorable performance evaluations, and the demographics of each group.

Direct Hire Authority Clarification for Support Defense Activities

The committee notes that Subsection (a) of section 1125 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017 granted temporary direct hire authority for domestic defense industrial base facilities and major range and test facilities bases. Furthermore, section 1101 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019, implemented direct hire authority across the Department.

These changes have sped up hiring, brought employees on faster, and increased productivity at Air Force Depots.

The committee notes that these changes to section 1125 and 1101 intended to cover positions that work on and support defense activities for the defense industrial base or the major range and test facilities bases. Positions that support the Depots themselves, for example, plumbers, electricians, exterior maintenance, finance, etc., are currently not covered by the changes in section 1125 and section 1101. These types of employees, although not doing direct depot work, directly support and enable the operation of the depot.

Therefore, the committee directs the Secretary of Defense to submit a report on the effects of the current interpretation of section 1125, specifically the challenges faced by the Air Force due to inadequate direct hire authority for positions that support defense activities for the defense industrial base or the major range and test facilities bases.

Optimizing Total Force Management

The Department of Defense’s Fiscal Year 2020 budget request explains that the size and composition of its civilian workforce is shaped to reflect changes commensurate with the Department’s military force structure and its civilian workforce is key to warfighter readiness. However, when the committee examined the workforce projections of the Department of Defense, it found the civilian workforce increases by 0.7 percent from fiscal year 2019 to 2020, while Active Component End Strength increases by 6.2 percent and Reserve Component End Strength by 1.5 percent.

Therefore, given these workforce mix decisions, the committee directs the Secretary of Defense to contract with a federal funded research and development center to review the Department’s force structure decision-making processes in the Office of Secretary of Defense, Joint Staff and in each of the Military Departments to verify the Department is planning, programing and budgeting for a force structure that optimizes lethality by using military for warfighting functions and ensures that planned operational capabilities are fully executable and sustainable.

This review should include recommendations, and, as a minimum, include: (1) an identification of best practices as well as impediments to the optimum sizing of each component of the Total Force of active military, reserve component military, civilian workforce, host nation support, and contract support; (2) recommendations on how to leverage the Military Department’s modeling efforts in order to achieve a more balanced Total Force mix, and; (3) the effects of Full Time Equivalent (FTE) caps and associated business processes resulting from either legislation or Depart mental policy or practice that would impede the use of more holistic analytical tools for linking the enabling civilian to supported force structure.

The report should be provided and briefed to the Armed Services Committees not later than February 1, 2021.

Readiness and Borrowed Military Manpower

The committee notes that the Report of the Defense Science Board Task Force on Readiness concluded that in order to achieve and sustain readiness it was essential to consider, not just the amount of hardware but key manpower issues such as the activereserve mix, retention, training, and the sufficiency of supporting government civilians. The task force also concluded borrowed military manpower results in a loss of unit cohesiveness, reduced training efficiency, and lowered readiness.

The committee questions whether the Department of Defense continues to divert service members from their unit assignments to perform nonmilitary functions which could be performed by civilian employees.

Therefore, the committee directs the United States Comptroller General to submit a report to the congressional defense committees by April 1st, 2020 assessing the level and impacts of borrowed military manpower.

This report should include the following elements: (1) An analysis of the diversions of Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen or Marines from their unit assignments and or their military occupational specialties, to perform non-military essential functions which could be performed by civilian employees.

(2) A review the Department’s tracking of borrowed military manpower in its readiness reporting systems and an assessment of the impact this is having on both the Department’s ability to manage the Total Force, and the readiness effects of ‘‘missing’’, but unreported manpower.

The Department of Defense’s Use of Term and Temporary Hiring Authorities

The Committee questions if the Department of Defense’s Congressionally appropriated overseas contingency operations funds, exempt from The Budget Control Act of 2011 (P.L. 112–25), are funding enduring missions in support of the National Defense Strategy which is resulting in inappropriate use of term and temporary hiring authorities for enduring missions.

Furthermore, the Committee questions whether there are cases where term and temporary hiring authorities are being misused in cases when the funding for the program directly supports the National Defense Strategy and is funded over the Future Year Defense Program with an enduring funding line.

Lastly, the Committee is concerned that this creates a scenario for the Department of Defense to inappropriately circumvent title 5 due process and whistleblower protections and extend probationary periods.

Therefore, the committee directs the Comptroller General of the United States to submit a report to the congressional defense committees by March 1st, 2020 reviewing the Department’s use of term and temporary hiring authorities for enduring missions and analyzing the degree to which this is resulting from the misuse of overseas contingency operations funding or efforts to inappropriately extend probationary periods.

LEGISLATIVE PROVISIONS

Section 1101—Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Personnel Management Authority

This section would amend section 1599(h) of title 10, United States Code, to allow the Director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to appoint additional employees to the agency using the personnel management authority codified in section 1599(h) of title 10, United States Code.

Section 1102—Modification of Probationary Period for Certain Department of Defense Employees This section would amend section 1599e of title 10, United States Code, to change the probationary period for Department of Defense civilian employees from 2 years to 1 year.

Section 1103—Civilian Personnel Management This section would amend section 129 of title 10, United States Code, to clarify that civilian personnel of the Department of Defense may not be managed on the basis of man-years, end strength, or full-time equivalent positions, or maximum number of employees, and instead will be managed based on the total force management policies and procedures established under section 129a of title 10, United States Code, the workload required to carry out the functions and activities of the Department, and the funds made available to the Department for each fiscal year.

Section 1104—One-Year Extension of Temporary Authority to Grant Allowances, Benefits, and Gratuities to Civilian Personnel on Official Duty in a Combat Zone This section would amend section 1115 of the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019 (Public Law 115–232) by extending until 2021 the temporary authority granting allowances, benefits, and gratuities to civilian personnel on official duty in a combat zone.

Section 1105—One-Year Extension of Authority to Waive Annual Limitation on Premium Pay and Aggregate Limitation on Pay for Federal Civilian Employees Working Overseas This section would amend section 1101 of the Duncan Hunter National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2009 (Public Law 110–417) by extending premium pay for Federal civilian employees working overseas until the end of 2020.

Section 1106—Performance of Civilian Functions by Military Personnel This section would amend section 129a of title 10, United States Code, to ensure that before the Secretary of a military department directs military personnel to perform the functions of civilian personnel, the military department concerned is in compliance with section 129 of title 10, United States Code.

Section 1107—Extension of Direct Hire Authority for Domestic Industrial Base Facilities and Major Range and Test Facilities Base This section would amend section 1125 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017 (Public Law 114–328) to extend the authority of the Secretary of Defense to use direct hire procedures for civilian personnel at domestic defense industrial base facilities and the Major Range and Test Facilities Base until 2025.

Section 1108—Authority to Provide Additional Allowances and Benefits for Certain Defense Clandestine Service Employees This section would authorize the provision of additional allowances and benefits for certain Defense Intelligence Agency, Defense Clandestine Service employees located in the United States, limited to 125 covered employees per year for locations with living costs determined by the Secretary of Defense to be equal to or higher than the District of Columbia. Further, the provision stipulates that the authorization is contingent upon the Secretary of Defense submitting required reports to the appropriate congressional committees, to include a 5-year future-year defense program strategy and an implementation plan. This section also requires an annual report detailing the extent to which the authority was utilized and efficacy of such authority in enabling the execution of the objectives of the Defense Intelligence Agency.

Section 1109—Prohibited Personnel Practices This provision would amend section 2302 of title 5, United States Code, to extend the rights delineated in that section to all the interns in the United States Federal Government.

Section 1110—Enhancement of Antidiscrimination Protections for Federal Employees This section would amend section 2301 of title 5, United States Code, to strengthen the management of Federal equal employment opportunity programs by requiring that they operate independently of agencies’ human resources and general counsel offices. This section would also strengthen the accountability mechanisms that are central to the effectiveness of the equal employment opportunity process.

Section 1111—Modification of Direct Hire Authorities for the Department of Defense This section would amend section 9905 of title 5, United States Code, by consolidating direct hiring authorities for the following positions: (1) scientific, technical, engineering, mathematics positions within The (2) scientific, technical, engineering, mathematics positions working outside a scientific and technology reinvention laboratory (3) medical or health professional positions (4) childcare services positions (5) financial management, accounting, auditing, actuarial, cost estimation, operational research, or business or business administration positions (6) Department of Defense business transformation and management innovation positions.

The consolidation of these direct hiring authorities would sunset on September 30, 2025. In addition, this section would require the Secretary of Defense, in coordination with the Director of the Office of Personnel Management, to contract with a federally funded research and development center and submit a report to Congress by February 1, 2021, on improving competitive hiring at the Department of Defense.

Section 1112—Permitted Disclosures by Whistleblowers This section would amend section 2302(b)(8)(B) of title 5, United States Code, to provide additional protections for whistleblowers who report waste, fraud, or abuse to their supervisors at a government agency.