DOD starts IT personnel exchange

Interim final rule on pilot released this week

The Defense Department will start a pilot program to give federal IT employees a temporary peek into private sector work.

An interim final rule to implement IT exchange program was published Dec. 14 and is getting mixed reviews from industry members and labor groups.

The rule authorizes the temporary assignment of DOD IT employees to private sector organizations and also gives DOD the authority to accept comparable IT employees on a temporary basis from the private sector. The exchange is meant to help training, development and sharing of best practices and will only be open to exceptional employees at the GS-11 level or above.


Related coverage:

New program places fed IT workers in the business world


The rule fulfills provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal 2010.

DOD said the immediate implementation of the interim final rule is critical to assisting the agency strengthen its position and expertise in the IT field, particularly in cybersecurity.

“Given the changing workforce dynamics in the IT field, DOD needs to take advantage of these types of professional development programs to proactively position itself to keep pace with the changes in technology,” the department wrote in the interim rule. 

Stan Soloway, president and CEO of the Professional Services Council, said these types of exchanges are  valuable to the government, especially when it comes to IT. He said government employees working in the commercial technology environment will have the opportunity to learn about things they might not otherwise be exposed to.

However, an American Federation of Government Employees representative said the program raised security concerns.

“Inviting private-sector IT employees into the Pentagon could jeopardize national security unless there are severe restrictions imposed on their access to confidential and secret information,” said Don Hale, chair of the AFGE Defense Conference. “I have serious doubts that the same level of scrutiny applies to private sector IT employees, and that national security could be comprised during the exchange.”

Soloway said thousands of contractors are working across the government with high-level security clearances. He said obtaining security clearances for private sector employees might be time-consuming because of the clearance process, but it should not be a concern.

According to the rule, private sector employees will be required to obtain an appropriate security clearance if the federal position they will fill temporarily requires one.

About the Author

Alyah Khan is a staff writer covering IT policy.

FCW in Print

In the latest issue: Looking back on three decades of big stories in federal IT.

Featured

  • Anne Rung -- Commerce Department Photo

    Exit interview with Anne Rung

    The government's departing top acquisition official said she leaves behind a solid foundation on which to build more effective and efficient federal IT.

  • Charles Phalen

    Administration appoints first head of NBIB

    The National Background Investigations Bureau announced the appointment of its first director as the agency prepares to take over processing government background checks.

  • Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.)

    Senator: Rigid hiring process pushes millennials from federal work

    Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) said agencies are missing out on younger workers because of the government's rigidity, particularly its protracted hiring process.

  • FCW @ 30 GPS

    FCW @ 30

    Since 1987, FCW has covered it all -- the major contracts, the disruptive technologies, the picayune scandals and the many, many people who make federal IT function. Here's a look back at six of the most significant stories.

  • Shutterstock image.

    A 'minibus' appropriations package could be in the cards

    A short-term funding bill is expected by Sept. 30 to keep the federal government operating through early December, but after that the options get more complicated.

  • Defense Secretary Ash Carter speaks at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco

    DOD launches new tech hub in Austin

    The DOD is opening a new Defense Innovation Unit Experimental office in Austin, Texas, while Congress debates legislation that could defund DIUx.

Reader comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group