DoD Personnel Reporter’s Notebook

“DoD Personnel Notebook” is a biweekly feature focused on news about the military and civilian personnel and workforce issues, as gathered by Federal News Radio DoD Reporter Scott Maucione.

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Scott Maucione: Alabama Air Force base to begin utilizing IoT and smart city technologies

Listen to Scott Maucione on Federal Drive with Tom Temin

Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama is teaming with AT&T to use internet of things and smart city technologies to make the base run more smoothly. Federal News Radio’s Scott Maucione spoke with AT&T Air Force Client Executive Vice President Rocky Thurston and Maxwell’s 42nd Mission Support Group Commander Col. Don Lewis on Federal Drive with Tom Temin about the updates.

$40,000 DoD VSIP pay may be here to stay

Congress wants to solidify an increase in early retirement pay for Defense Department civilians.

Last year, Congress approved a pilot program that increased Voluntary Separation Incentive Pay (VSIP) for DoD civilian workers to $40,000 for one year.

The House Armed Services Committee now wants to extend that incentive to 2021 in the 2018 defense authorization bill. Committee aides said the goal is to give DoD more options to control the size of its workforce.

Before Congress created the pilot program last year, VSIP had remained stagnant since 1993 at $25,000.


Navy, Congress put money on pilot shortage

The Navy announced its yearly sweetener for pilots to stay in the service this week, at the same time lawmakers are using their power to try to retain Air Force pilots longer.

Navy pilots can receive up to $150,000 over five years for reenlisting depending on what squadron they fly in.

Reenlistment bonuses bottom out at $75,000, stated a memo released by the Naval Chief of Personnel.

The bonuses are only offered to pilots whose enlistment will expire in fiscal 2018. All contract extensions will be for five years and intent for reenlistment must be received by the end of August 2018.


Personnel tweaks change squadron officer training, may help medically separated airmen

The Air Force is making a series of personnel tweaks to better leadership within its ranks and to benefit medically separated airmen.

The service announced last week it redesigned its Air University Squadron Officer School program to “better align with the needs of the Air Force.”

The new course starts at the end of July, and will expand from five weeks to six and a half weeks. Air Force captains are required to take the course and about 4,200 go through it annually. The classes will decrease from seven to six a year, but each class will hold 700 students instead of 600.

The redesign is part of Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein’s goal to revitalize squadrons, which he announced last fall.


Senate considering cuts to military housing allowance for second year in a row

The Senate Armed Services Committee is eyeing military basic housing  allowance again as a means to save money.

The committee’s 2018 defense authorization bill includes a provision that would cut BAH for dual military couples to the “without dependents rate” even if they have kids. The provision is not in the House version of the bill.

If the Senate passes the bill, it will have to be reconciled with the House version.

Each uniformed service member is entitled to BAH from the military to help pay for the costs of housing in the private sector. If the service member has a dependent he or she receives a higher BAH. (more…)

DoD reconsidering two inclusive recruiting programs

The Defense Department is rethinking two Obama era policies aimed at recruiting and retaining top talent in the military services.

Defense Secretary James Mattis is delaying the DoD plan to allow the recruitment of transgender individuals in the military.

The policy does not affect transgender people currently serving in the military.

The Washington Post also reports the department is considering canceling a program that expedites the path to citizenship for immigrants with much needed medical and language skills willing to join the military.


A room full of Republicans just addressed climate change, here’s why

Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.) did something this week that many Democrats in Congress have been unable to do.

He got Republicans to act on climate change.

With an amendment to the House 2018 defense authorization bill, Langevin got his Republican and Democratic colleagues to address the national security implications of rising sea levels, desertification and other nasty effects global warming.

The amendment, which made it into the final version of the bill, explicitly states that climate change is a direct threat to the national security of the United States. (more…)

$700 billion Senate NDAA has fewer troops than House, focuses on cyber war

The Senate Armed Services Committee is empowering a new position in the Pentagon, stressing cyber warfare and taking a more conservative approach to force growth in its 2018 defense authorization bill.

The committee released details on its bill after spending the week behind closed doors marking up the legislation.

The bill authorizes a total of $700 billion for the Defense Department and related agencies. About $640 billion of that is in base budget spending, the other $62 billion is authorized for overseas contingency operations, a wartime account for operations overseas.

Like the House Armed Services Committee bill, the Senate version focuses on rebuilding the military’s readiness by paying for items on the military services’ wish lists. (more…)

5 personnel issues affecting military families in the House NDAA

The House Armed Services Committee finished its marathon of a markup on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) last night and with it came a handful of personnel issues.

Clocking in at just over 14 hours, the committee debated everything from sexual assault to basic allowance for housing.

Federal News Radio curated a list of the most important takeaways from the weighty bill and last night’s debates that went along with it. (more…)