2017 National Defense Authorization Act and Presidential Executive Order and Soldiers in transition employment


By Lee M. Packnett, Warrior Care and Transition

January 30, 2017 - Recently approved provisions of the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act re-institutes the 180 day “Cooling Off” restrictions on the Department of Defense hiring of military retirees and the January 23, 2017 Presidential memorandum on the civilian hiring freeze will impact Soldiers who are transitioning from the Army and who may be participating in the Warrior Care and Transition Career Education and Readiness program seeking federal government employment.

However, there is no impact for those who are seeking employment outside of the federal government. Soldiers in transition should continue to take advantage of all the options available to them through the CER program, the Soldier for Life Transition Assistance Programs, and the USO Transition Services programs as they prepare depart the Army and pursue post-military opportunities as veterans.

CER is a major component of the Comprehensive Transition Program for all eligible Soldiers at Warrior Transition Units as outlined in Army Regulation 40-58 (Warrior Care and Transition Program). The CER program prepares each WTU Soldier for success in a long-tern career that is personally meaningful, rewarding and enables the Soldier to achieve financial independence. CER activities for separating Soldiers include: internships and vocational training as well as education and entrepreneurship planning.

SFL-TAP is a centrally funded commanders program that provides transition assistance services to eligible Soldiers. Public Law is the foundation of the Transition Assistance Program initiative, along with DOD and Army policy. The Army’s SFL-TAP goals also include support to the manning of the total Army. SFL-TAP supports the Army’s Active Component recruiting effort by producing successful alumni. The decision to enlist in the military and, more specifically, the Army is often influenced by friends and relatives. When alumni are successful they serve as powerful examples of what Army service can do for a young man or woman’s future. Those who are capable of translating Army skills, training, and experience into rewarding careers are living billboards promoting the Army as a great place to start.

The United Services Organization Transition Services are currently co-located with 11 of the 14 WTUs, with plans to be at all 14 WTUs by the end of the year. USO Transition workshops supplement the topics provided by SFL-TAP

According to Lelon (Scott) Cox, Action Officer, Soldier Services Division, DCS, WCT, despite DOD’s 180 day delay for employment for military retirees and the recent Executive Order implementing a federal hiring freeze, DOD’s Hiring Heroes Career Fairs will continue to execute its normal business plan.

The Department of Defense Hiring Heroes Program provides continuing outreach, recruitment assistance products and services to wounded, ill, injured and transitioning Service members, Veterans, spouses and primary caregivers through organizing and conducting specialized career fairs to increase awareness of job opportunities. The career fairs bring DOD Agencies, other Federal Agencies and private sector corporations together to market and offer career opportunities.

Soldiers in transition who are departing the military should continue to utilize the services available from Military and Veteran Support Organizations, the USO and education centers to support their transition plans.