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Immediate Release

Department of Defense Announces Changes to Procedures and Policy for Reduction in Force in the Civilian Workforce

This month, the Department of Defense released the policy and procedure changes for reduction in force (RIF) for civilian positions in the competitive and excepted service.  The changes are required per section 1101 of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2016 (P.L. 114-92), as codified in 1597(f) of Title 10, United States Code.  The law requires that when RIF is necessary, the determination of employee separations shall be made primarily on the basis of performance.


The DoD civilian workforce is one of the department’s most important assets.  However, there are times when the department must make difficult decisions that impact our civilians, and in doing so, it is imperative these decisions result in our continued ability to seamlessly execute our national security mission.  When circumstances necessitate a RIF, the department must ensure we are retaining our highest performing employees.


The department will continue to consider every reasonable action to mitigate the size of reductions, including the use of Voluntary Early Retirement Authority or Voluntary Separation Incentive Payment, hiring freezes, termination of temporary appointments, and any other pre-RIF placement options. 


In order to comply with the law, the department has reprioritized the “order of retention” as implemented by Office of Personnel Management in government-wide regulations, by placing performance as the primary retention factor.  This is a substantial change for DoD from existing, government-wide provisions.  The current, government-wide RIF retention factors are:  tenure, veteran’s preference, length of service, and performance, in descending order.


 Under the new procedures, employees shall be ranked on a retention register based on periods of assessed performance, followed by the retention factors of:  performance rating of record, tenure group, performance average score, veteran’s preference, and DoD Service Computation Date- RIF (DoD SCD-RIF).


 The department’s new procedures are consistent with the Defense Performance and Management Appraisal Program (DPMAP), which is the department’s enterprise-wide performance management program designed to foster a results-oriented performance culture that links individual performance to organizational goals.  To ensure fairness, since not all DoD civilians are under the new DPMAP, procedures have been developed to calculate the “rating of record” of employees not covered by DPMAP.


The department is communicating the new RIF procedures to the DoD civilian workforce and human resources practitioners with briefings, online FAQs, and training.  Congress has also been notified of the department’s change to RIF procedures.


For more information, please view the memorandum at: