By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Aug. 14, 2009 – Under a personnel rule that takes effect next month, some military spouses could be quickly hired for federal jobs without going through the usual competitive process. The new hiring authority takes effect Sept. 11. The Office of Personal Management issued the authority’s final regulatory guidelines Aug. 12. The guidelines are posted in the Federal Register under the title: “Noncompetitive Appointment of Certain Military Spouses.” The intended effect of the rule, according to documents listed in the Federal Register, “is to facilitate the entry of military spouses into the federal civil service as part of an effort to recruit and retain skilled and experienced members of the armed forces and to recognize and honor the service of members injured, disabled, or killed in connection with their service.” “Military spouse employment is a key to the quality of life of our military families,” Kathleen Ott, director of talent acquisition, development and management in the Office of the Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Civilian Personnel Policy, said yesterday during an interview with Pentagon Channel and American Forces Press Service reporters. The availability of jobs for military spouses contributes to the sustainment of the all-volunteer force, Ott said, citing a recent survey in which employed military spouses reported that their work income constitutes about 48 percent of total family income. “But, it’s really hard to keep a job if you have to move from station to station,” Ott said. Federal employment, she said, offers military spouses a portable career with transferable benefits and worldwide presence.