WASHINGTON, D.C. – Utah Rep. Blake Moore, R-District 1, is fighting to make it easier for skilled military veterans to find employment within the Department of Defense civilian workforce.
“It is essential that we attract and retain qualified and skilled veterans into our civilian (DoD) workforce,” said Moore, who serves of the House Armed Services Committee in Congress.
“I am proud to introduce the Retain Skilled Veterans Act with Sen. James Lankford (R-OK),” he added, “to provide a pathway for most military veterans to immediately transition to civilian work and use their invaluable knowledge and skills to make our federal workforce stronger.”
Under federal law enacted in 1964, military retirees must wait 180 days after leaving the military before starting a civilian job within the Department of Defense.
The intent of that law was to preclude a so-called “revolving door” in DoD civilian hiring practices, particularly at senior management levels.
But the “180-Day Rule” was suspended from 2001 to 2017 during the emergency situation following the terrorist attack on Sept. 11, 2001.
During that period, more than 41,000 critically-needed retired service members were permitted to start government jobs without the 180-day wait, according to a recent report compiled by the United States Merit Systems Protection Board.
In 2020, the House Armed Service Committee temporarily removed the “180-Day Rule” under a two-year authority, but only for veterans seeking employment at military depots throughout the United States.
Retirees seeking other forms of DoD employment now must either wait six months after separating from the service or jump through bureaucratic hoops to request a waiver of the “180-Day Rule” from Pentagon officials.
Moore’s proposed legislation would permanently repeal the 180-day rule for retired military members seeking employment at Government Service Level 13 or below throughout the Department of Defense.
In 2020, about 1.4 million U.S. active duty or reserve service members were supported by nearly 900,000 DoD civilian employees. Recent increases in the Pentagon’s civilian workforce have focused largely on technical skills and experience that can only be acquired through military service.
Moore’s staff members emphasized that the Retain Skilled Veterans Act would help federal hiring become more competitive with private industry and facilitate recruitment of skilled technicians needed to maintain and support next-generation equipment and weapons.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average age of a federal employee is 46, compared to the national average of 41 years of age. About 29 percent of federal employees are now over the age of 55.
“The government’s ability to quickly hire veterans after their departure from the military,” Moore stressed, “will offset its rapidly aging workforce and provide these military members with pathways for employment after their service.”