Kilmer, Russell Reintroduce Bill to Open Defense Jobs to Military Retirees

Washington, D.C. – Today, Representatives Derek Kilmer (D-WA) and Steve Russell (R-OK) reintroduced a bill to make sure military retirees have fair access to jobs with the Department of Defense. Under current law, servicemembers who retire have to wait 180 before even applying for civilian jobs at military facilities like the Pentagon.

From 2001 until last year, the President had issued a waiver to lift the hiring rule. But the waiver went away at the end of 2016, causing individuals like Tom Bartz Jr. who the Kitsap Sun reported now is dealing with a delayed start date at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard.

Kilmer and Russell’s bipartisan legislation, the Military Retiree Employment Act, would eliminate the 180 day wait time for five years and open up these positions on a competitive basis to members of the military who have retired. It also establishes transparency requirements to protect current civil servants and requires that officials look into a permanent elimination of this provision while increasing the transparency of job announcements.  

“If a job is open, retiring servicemembers should be able to apply,” said Kilmer. “Local veterans who have recently completed their military service shouldn’t have to wait 6 months to apply for jobs they are qualified for. Our bipartisan bill seeks to eliminate roadblocks veterans face in local employment opportunities and encourages veterans to continue serving their country in civil service.”

“Some of our country’s best and brightest have retired out of the military, and to put them on a waiting list to apply for DOD jobs, that they may be perfectly qualified and suited for, does not make a lot of sense,” said Russell. “So much so, this provision has been waived for years. These jobs should be open to all who merit it, and that should include those leaving our military after a distinguished career.”