Agencies begin implementing veterans hiring directive

Senior Obama administration officials on Thursday offered details on how agencies will follow up on the president's new directive to boost employment of veterans.

Implementation of the Nov. 9 executive order will begin at Cabinet-level and large independent agencies, said Office of Personnel Management Director John Berry, during a press conference in Washington. But eventually every agency likely will designate a veterans employment liaison, he said.

These officials and OPM will educate former service members on job opportunities, help them determine which openings are the best match for their skills and career goals, and mentor them to help them adjust to the differences between military and civilian culture, said Scott Gould, deputy secretary at the Veterans Affairs Department.

Targeting veterans makes sense, since service members already have demonstrated the talents that make good civil service employees, he noted.

"These are men and women who have fought, who have sacrificed on our part, but have also worked in complex, diverse environments," Gould said. "Their hard-won experience is an asset we can bring to government. We at VA want to compete for our fair share of that veteran talent pool."

Veterans will continue to receive their five and 10 point preference during the hiring process, Berry said, noting the goal of the initiative is "to take almost a headhunting role," rather than to say "here's your five points, here's your 10 points, good luck." Agencies will continue to guide veterans after they are hired, providing them with mentors so they would have a better chance of succeeding in their new jobs.

The Veterans Employment Council established under the executive order will be required to report to the president annually on agencies' progress in hiring veterans. The council has "set no quota," but the objective is to improve annually, Berry said.

Some agencies have set their own targets. Jeffrey Neal, the chief human capital officer at the Homeland Security Department, said Secretary Janet Napolitano is aiming to employ 50,000 veterans by 2012, because there is a natural continuity between service in the military and at DHS.

"When you look at what it takes to secure the homeland, it takes people who are dedicated, who are willing to work very long hours, who are willing to work in uncomfortable, unsafe conditions," Neal said. "How do you define the characteristics we're looking for? Soldier. Sailor. Marine. Coast Guardsman. They have all the characteristics we're looking for in DHS."

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.