Pentagon Secretary Ash Carter unveiled a slate of personnel reforms that include letting recruiters on college campuses hire information security whizzes straight away, and letting civilians swap places with techies at leading companies for short stints.
Driving these changes, in part, is a concern that the Defense Department will lose its edge in future generations.
Carter might not be able to offer higher pay to attract talent. But at the very least, he wants to give cyber pros and startup-minded techies job flexibility similar to what they would receive in the private sector.
Defense needs Congress to sign off on these hiring adjustments.
It’s unclear if the legislation can be folded into the annual must-pass potentially $600 billion defense bill the Senate and House currently are negotiating.
Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., told Nextgov in an email, “I am pleased to see the Secretary Carter found some useful ideas in the Senate [National Defense Authorization Act] and supports many of its initiatives, including promotion board flexibility, allowing certain officers to defer promotion consideration, direct hiring of students and recent graduates, and establishing a public-private talent exchange.”
A House Armed Services Committee aide told Nextgov on background there is no leeway to add provisions out of whole cloth in conference.
“We are just now seeing them, so it would be premature to speculate on their future,” but “in general, we support DOD improving the military and civilian workforce and we look forward to reviewing these proposals,” the aide said.