By Scott Lutterloh
Acting Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Manpower and Reserve Affairs
In order to mitigate the effects of the federal hiring freeze on our Navy family, the Department of the Navy has established a weekly drumbeat to review and approve exemption submissions. This can be a complex topic. Understanding this, our goal is to provide clear, up-to-date information to ensure all of our Sailors, Marines and civilians understand our process. Our civilian employees are dedicated professionals and critical members of the DoN team. Let there be no mistake, we cannot accomplish our mission without you – WE ARE IN THIS TOGETHER!
- On Jan. 23, 2017, the President of the United States ordered a freeze on the hiring of federal civilian employees.
- On Feb. 1, 2017, the Secretary of Defense directed that during the hiring freeze, no vacant civilian position may be filled and no new position may be created, except as set forth in his guidance. Further, SECDEF noted that the freeze impacts all Department of Defense positions regardless of funding source. SECDEF has delegated the final decision authority for approval of Navy and Marine Corps exemptions in Sections A, B and C to the service secretaries; Secretary of the Navy.
- On Feb. 17, 2017, the acting Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness issued “Change 1,” which allows the service secretaries authority to delegate approval of reallocation actions – also known as – non-competitive reassignments and details.
- On March 7, 2017, the acting Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness issued “Change 2,” which allows components to engage in recruitment activities of non-exempt positions; adds to the definition of Section A exemptions; and allows further delegation of Section C exemptions.
Where is the Department of the Navy today?
To date, SECNAV has approved nearly 20,000 exemptions that ensure vital areas such as security and safety, shipyards, as well as staff and family support remain capable of executing their missions.
The DoN continues to quickly process Sections A, B, and C exemptions to the civilian hiring freeze per DoD guidance. DoN leaders meet weekly to review and endorse exemption packages. The DoN is committed to executing the hiring actions necessary to meet our missions using a thorough and streamlined exemption process. This enables the SECNAV to quickly review and adjudicate exemption requests. To this end, SECNAV is relying on the judgment and careful scrutiny of Budget Submitting Office commanders and the DoN Hiring Freeze Exemption Review Board to ensure position exemptions are authorized in DoD guidance.
For reallocations, the SECNAV has delegated approval authority to Budget Submitting Office commanders – flag officers/general officers and Senior Executive Service members – for reallocations (e.g., non-competitive reassignments and details) within their office. Budget Submitting Office commanders may further delegate this authority, but not below organizational commanders at the O-6 level.
Note that Budget Submitting Offices are usually echelon II command, such as CNIC. Thus, a request from Naval Base San Diego for a reallocation would be initiated and endorsed up the chain of command for approval by CNIC; unless approval authority has been delegated to an organizational commander.
The application and adjudication process for each of the identified exemptions sections can be found in the Navy’s hiring freeze FAQ.
Any questions you may have about the hiring freeze exemption process should be directed to DoN OCHR at DONHRFAQ@navy.mil.
Resources at a glance:
- “Hiring Freeze” (Jan. 23, 2017)
- “Implementation of Civilian Workforce Hiring Freeze” (Feb. 1, 2017)