The Department of Defense said on May 3 it has removed all hiring restrictions, officially ending the freeze on new positions that began in January.

Though the White House ended its freeze on hiring new federal employees last month in favor of a massive reorganization plan for agencies, the DoD issued a memorandum detailing that agency component could begin hiring civilian positions again.

But Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work said in the memo that agency leaders should take hiring considerations carefully while the DoD continues to craft its Agency Reform Plan, which will be submitted to the Office of Management and Budget this summer.  

"Although the restrictions are no longer in place, in keeping with the strategic direction established by Executive Order 13871, the OMB memorandum and ongoing Departmental organizational reviews mandated by the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal 2017, I expect components to scrutinize carefully all recruitment and hiring actions and undertake to recruit or hire only when such are wholly consistent with the principles, requirements and actions set forth in the OMB memorandum," the memo said.

The memo outlined that future recruitment actions had to take into account:

  • Whether the duties of the position, qualifications and skills or the organizational placement reflect mission needs
  • Whether the duties can be assigned to lower organizational levels
  • Whether appropriate changes to the position can be accomplished in a timely and efficient manner

Agency components are instructed to review the 2017 NDAA for direction on resources for recruitment, but also operate within the funding limits and full-time equivalent authorization set up by the president’s fiscal 2017 budget.

The Trump administration began the governmentwide hiring freeze on Jan. 23, shortly after taking office. OMB Director Mick Mulvaney said that agencies would have to submit their draft agency reform plans by June 30, with plans to implement them in September.

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