Trading Places, For IT Pros

Defense releases final rules on exchange program with the private sector.

The Defense Department on Wednesday issued final regulations establishing a pilot program for the temporary exchange of Defense and private sector IT professionals.

According to final rules published in the Federal Register, Defense will establish the Information Technology Exchange Pilot Program, implementing a section of the 2010 National Defense Authorization Act. The program authorizes the temporary assignment of Defense IT employees to private sector organizations and also gives Defense the authority to accept private sector IT employees. The assignments will last at least three months and up to one year, and may be extended in three-month increments for a total of no more than one additional year, the notice states.

“Given the changing workforce dynamics in the IT field, DoD needs to take advantage of these types of professional development programs to proactively position itself to keep pace with the changes in technology,” the notice says. “The ITEP pilot will serve the public good by enhancing the DoD IT workforce skills to protect and defend our nation.”

To be eligible for a rotational assignment under the ITEP pilot, a Defense or private sector employee must work in the IT field, be the equivalent of the GS-11 level or above, be considered an exceptional employee, be employed by an organization interested in participating in the ITEP pilot and be expected to assume increased IT responsibilities in the future.

Defense organizations may not use the exchange assignments as a means to circumvent personnel ceilings, or as a substitute for other more appropriate personnel decisions or actions, the notice states. The goal of the program is to enable Defense organizations to meet strategic program goals, and to benefit Defense components and private sector organizations, not the desires or personal needs of individual employees, according to the rules.

Thus far, one private sector candidate has successfully completed a 6-month ITEP assignment with the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense, and two additional private sector candidates have been identified for ITEP assignments, Defense said. The department also has posted nine additional ITEP detail opportunities for private sector candidates related to service oriented architecture, cybersecurity, IT project management, IT infrastructure/consolidation, social media and mobility and wireless, according to the notice.

The program also is available to Defense IT workers, with one opportunity posted on the ITEP website for a Defense employee to participate in a detail in networking with a small, veteran-owned private sector company, the notice states.