Congressman Blake Moore (R-UT), Congressman Derek Kilmer (D-WA), and Senator James Lankford (R-OK) reintroduced the bipartisan Retain Skilled Veterans Act for the 118th Congress. This legislation would permanently remove the existing requirement for retired military members to submit a waiver to work as a civilian employee at the Department of Defense within 180 days of their retirement or separation for positions at the GS-13 level or below. In 2020, the House Armed Services Committee improved veteran hiring by temporarily removing the “180-Day Rule” under a 2-year authority only for the Organic Industrial Base (Military Depots). The Retain Skilled Veterans Act furthers this progress by permanently repealing the rule across the Department of Defense for most positions.
“Congress should not create obstacles to veterans who want to transition into the civil service, especially as our depots, arsenals, and shipyards struggle to keep up with competitive hiring environments,” said Congressman Blake Moore. “Our veterans retire from the military with decades of technical and tactical expertise, strong academic backgrounds, security clearances, and desires to serve. I’m proud to champion this bipartisan and bicameral effort to improve our federal workforce and retain our skilled veterans.”
“If you serve our country, we ought to have your back,” said Congressman Kilmer. “That means Congress should be removing barriers facing service members when they want to transition into a civilian Defense job. Our service members develop extraordinary skills, and those skills can be put to work immediately in a military hospital or a public shipyard, or elsewhere. A veteran shouldn’t have to wait six months – or worse, be unemployed for six months – for bureaucratic reasons. This common-sense bipartisan bill will remove that hurdle and ensure that our service members can transition into good jobs.”
“We can and should address these hurdles for our heroes in Oklahoma and around the world to increase efficiency, open new opportunities, and address process flaws,” said Senator Lankford. “My bills give military spouses the option of federal careers, update the dollar amount for DOD service contracts, and establish direct hiring authority to fill critical support staff needs for our military. Additionally, military retirees currently have to wait six months to enter civilian employment at the DOD, which has caused the government to lose valuable and skilled workers to the private sector where they can start a new career much faster. Our military deserves the best and brightest civilian workforce. We should immediately pass these nonpartisan solutions for our service members, veterans, and their families.”
“The 180-day waiting period has been bad for DoD and for retirees,” said Jack Du Teil, President of The Military Coalition (TMC). TMC is a consortium of 34 veteran and military service organizations and the 5.5 million service members, retirees, veterans, their families, and survivors they represent. “The waiting period has resulted in a talent management problem for hiring officials and an antiquated, cumbersome process for qualified candidates. Removing it helps federal hiring become more competitive with private industry and more navigable for the skilled technicians with security clearances who can support our weapons systems and national security priorities.”
“The Retain Skilled Veterans Act greatly improves the competitive pool of applicants for GS-13 and below positions,” said Military Officers Association of America President and CEO Lt. Gen. Brian T. Kelly, USAF (Ret). “This provides DoD with expedited access to experienced candidates who often hold active security clearances or unique skills not easily replicated within other candidate pools; at the same time the GS-13 limit still provides opportunities for our important career civil servants to reach senior ranks and continues to guard against the potential for senior military leaders creating positions for themselves, one of the original intents. In a competition with China or any adversary, speed and access to talent matters. Operating with the existing 180-day rule and current waiver process forces DoD to compete with one-hand tied behind their back. We look forward to working with Congress to pass this overdue bipartisan and bicameral legislation.”
The Retain Skilled Veterans Act would help federal hiring become more competitive with private industry and obtain the skilled technicians needed to maintain, equip, and support next-generation weapon systems. The government’s ability to quickly hire veterans after their departure from the military will offset its rapidly aging workforce and provide these military members pathways for employment after their service.
This legislation has received broad support from external organizations and stakeholders, including The Military Coalition.