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Wednesday, November 04, 2009

New Hiring Authority for Military Spouses Announced

New federal government hiring regulations allow for the noncompetitive appointment of military spouses to federal civil service positions. The intended effect of this new hiring authority is to facilitate the entry of military spouses into the federal government as part of an ongoing effort to recruit and retain skilled and experienced members of the civilian armed forces.

This authority gives government agencies the option of hiring qualified military spouses without going through the competitive process. It may be used to appoint spouses to temporary, term or permanent positions. This is a noncompetitive hiring mechanism for positions in the competitive service. It may also be used to appoint eligible spouses who currently have a federal job. 
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The use of this authority will be discretionary with hiring managers; it does not constitute a hiring preference for military spouses, nor does it create an entitlement to federal jobs over other qualified applicants. 
The new regulations are the result of Executive Order 13473, became effective Sept. 11, 2009, and can be used immediately for hiring actions.
Military spouses eligible under this new authority include:
1. The spouse of a member of the armed forces serving on active duty (to include members of the National Guard and Reserve on active duty), who has orders specifying a permanent change of station (not for training); OR
2. The spouse of a 100 percent disabled service member injured while on active duty; OR
3. The unmarried widow or widower of a service member killed while on active duty
General Hiring Provisions:
  • The spouse must relocate with the service member to the new permanent duty station.
  • Spouses are eligible for noncompetitive appointment for a maximum of two years from the date: the service member’s PCS orders are issued; or if applicable, documentation is received verifying the 100 percent disability; or documentation is received verifying the member of the armed forces was killed while on active duty. The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) believes two years is a reasonable time period for affected spouses to obtain federal employment.
  • Spouses of relocating service members are limited to only one appointment under this authority per PCS order. (There is no limit on the number of appointments a spouse of a 100 percent disabled or the widow of a deceased service member may receive). 
  • The noncompetitive appointment is limited to the geographic area (as stated on the PCS orders), or the surrounding commuting area. (This limitation may be waived if no federal agency exists in the geographic area). Spouses of retired or separated active duty members who have a 100 percent disability are not restricted to a geographic location.
  • Spouses of 100 percent disabled service members and service members killed in the line of duty will have a veteran’s preference entitlement in addition to eligibility under this appointing authority. 

Military spouses can find out about federal job opportunities by visiting (or they may also check for position vacancies on the Web sites of specific agencies where they may wish to work).

This new hiring authority is not limited to specific positions or grade levels but spouses must meet the same requirements as other applicants, to include qualification requirements. It will be the responsibility of the applicant to request consideration for employment under this authority as a military spouse. 
Internal vacancy announcements may specify that military spouses are eligible to apply under Executive Order 13473.    
OPM is planning to issue Q&A guidance and/or supplemental guidance on the use of this authority.  For additional information on this new hiring authority, use the following link to a PDF document on the final regulations issued in the Federal Register dated Aug. 12, 2009:
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