Help MOAA End the ‘180-Day Rule’ for Retirees Seeking Most DoD Civilian Jobs

Help MOAA End the ‘180-Day Rule’ for Retirees Seeking Most DoD Civilian Jobs
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MOAA and The Military Coalition (TMC) are working with lawmakers to repeal the requirement for those retiring from military service to wait 180 days before entering DoD civil service General Schedule (GS) positions for GS-13 and below.


This year’s National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA FY21) is an opportunity to authorize military retirees to transition to DoD GS-13 and below positions directly after retirement. Section 3326 of United States Code Title 5 requires a waiting period of 180 days after retirement before a retired member of the armed forces can be appointed into the civil service within DoD. This restriction forces many who wish to continue national service into other careers.


The 180-day waiting period has resulted in a talent management problem for hiring officials who are grappling with an antiquated hiring process; it can take months to hire a qualified candidate, even one with a current security clearance.


[TAKE ACTION: Ask Your Lawmaker to Repeal the ‘180-Day Rule’]


The intent of this “180-day rule” was to prevent senior military officers in positions of influence from creating GS positions for themselves upon retirement. However, the current scope of the 180-day rule severely restricts the ability of federal hiring authorities to hire highly qualified individuals for GS-13 and below positions that require current military certifications and experience. This issue has become severe at many of our nation’s depots and organizations that require diverse experience.


The DoD has suffered from a disadvantage in competing with the private sector for talent. Recent DoD initiatives in talent management have identified a growing “war for talent” that requires Information Age solutions. As the DoD modernizes various weapons systems in support of the National Defense Strategy, the services also must modernize personnel hiring procedures. Changes to the 180-day rule for GS-13 and below will support efforts to improve the quality of the talent pool competing for GS positions and increase the readiness of the force – both major concerns for our military leaders.


Collective shortages of skilled labor have resulted in increased civilian starting salaries and incentives. Many of the personnel qualified for critical vacancies are recently retired military members who want to continue national service. But rather than wait 180 days, many of these retired servicemembers find positions elsewhere – jobs with salaries DoD cannot match. 


As we confront the COVID-19 pandemic, it is even more important to pave the way for our talented military force to be available for immediate hire in support of the many defense programs on which our warfighters rely. Contact your representative and ask them to support repeal of the 180-day restriction.


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About the Author

Lt. Col. Mark Belinsky, USA (Ret)
Lt. Col. Mark Belinsky, USA (Ret)

Belinsky retired in 2019 after serving 22 years, with overseas tours to Afghanistan, Iraq, the Republic of Korea, and Germany. He joined the MOAA team in 2019 as Director, Currently Serving and Retired Affairs.