NDAA cyber reserve proposal revised with labor in mind

Rep. Jimmy Panetta (D-Calif.) tweaked his proposal for a pilot reserve program at U.S. Cyber Command in the wake of opposition from the American Federation of Government Employees.

The plans for the cyber reserve, to be put forth in an amendment to the House version of the National Defense Authorization Act, were revised to allow for reservists entering from private-sector tech companies to make financial disclosures to the Office of Government Ethics. The Panetta amendment also calls for CyberCom reservists to be available for up to two-year deployments and to have the status of part-time federal employees when on the job. The pilot program would sunset in four years.

AFGE National President Everett Kelley alerted the chair and ranking member on the House Rules Committee on Saturday to their support for the revised plan, which they had opposed in an earlier iteration.

The union is asking lawmakers to oppose a similar proposal from Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-Texas) which would establish a National Digital Reserve Corps at the General Services Administration.

Reservists would come in for 30-day stints for short-term digital and cybersecurity projects, and GSA would detail participants out to agencies. Rather than field a pilot program, the GSA reserve would be launched as a fully-fledged program.

"To presuppose as a matter of statutory mandate that there will be a steady and growing workload for digital workforces absent detailed analysis from agencies themselves is a recipe for fraud, waste and abuse," Kelley wrote in his letter to lawmakers.

AFGE also takes issue with the hiring process in the GSA proposal, which doesn't have a "meaningful competitive process," Kelley wrote, and "constitutes another chipping away of the merit-based, apolitical civil service."

About the Author

Natalie Alms is a staff writer at FCW covering the federal workforce. She is a recent graduate of Wake Forest University and has written for the Salisbury (N.C.) Post. Connect with Natalie on Twitter at @AlmsNatalie.


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