The Defense Department is setting the stage for phased retirement, with a memo that establishes policy, assigns responsibilities and provides procedures. The memo was effective on June 21, and will be converted into a new DoD instruction.

Phased retirement allows certain retirement-eligible employees to continue working part time while receiving a portion of their retirement annuity. The program is voluntary, and individual requests for phased retirement must be approved according to Office of Personnel Management regulations.

The memo issued June 21 applies only to civilian DoD employees.

The National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association responded immediately with a statement of approval.

"NARFE applauds the Department of Defense for implementing phased retirement for the dedicated employees whose decades of service and experience now will be retained a while longer and passed on to their successors," NARFE President Richard Thissen said in a written statement. "As a result, the federal government will save money and continuity of operations at DoD undoubtedly will improve."