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Release No: 140-04
March 01, 2004

DoD to Establish Program to Attract Highly Qualified Experts

The Department of Defense today unveiled a new policy to attract experts with state-of-the-art knowledge in fields of importance to the departments mission. This new policy provides DoD with the ability to attract and retain talented men and women with the expertise and corporate knowledge to fill critical positions. This is a stand-alone provision under the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2004.

The new policy allows DoD to employ as many as 2,500 employees with a compensation package more competitive with the private sector than might otherwise be feasible. They can be employed for five years with the potential for an extension for an additional year. This new tool requires special handling by defense managers. The policy states that it can only be used for an individual possessing uncommon, special knowledges or skills in a particular occupational field beyond the usual range of expertise, who is regarded by others as an authority or practitioner of unusual competence and skill. This flexibility cannot be used to perform continuing DoD functions, to bypass or undermine personnel ceilings or pay limitations, to give former federal employees preferential treatment or to do work performed by regular employees or to fill in during staff shortages.

This policy represents good news that is long overdue, said Dr. William Winkerwerder, assistant secretary of defense for health affairs. He added, DoD will now benefit from the experience, expertise and wisdom of people who have practical experience in the private sector that can help the department transform business processes.

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