US Air Force Launches Overseas Spouse Direct Hire Pilot Program

Civilian spouses of service members assigned outside the U.S. may now have an easier time finding employment.

The Department of the Air Force has implemented a direct-hire authority pilot program for locations outside the U.S. authorized by the National Defense Authorization Act of FY22. This authority enables officials to quickly hire qualifying spouses for certain positions on a temporary basis. The pilot program is available for overseas positions as determined by the hiring officials; previously, military spouses could be selected from competitive hiring procedures only.

Direct-hire authority enables an agency to hire any qualified applicant through an expedited hiring process that eliminates many of the traditional steps, including consideration of competitive rankings and ratings.

“We recognize that spouse employment is a fundamental quality of life issue for our Airmen and Guardians, especially for families in overseas locations,” said John Carbone, director of civilian force management, Air Force Manpower, Personnel and Services. “We’re hoping having access to this new hiring authority will open up greater employment opportunities for spouses, which in turn will positively impact military retention, the financial wellbeing of the family, and Department of the Air Force readiness.”

The positions must be permanently located overseas, under general schedule or federal wage system, and GS-15 and below and equivalent.

Additionally, spouses must be on the service member’s permanent change of duty station orders at government expense, within the local community area of the duty location and are residing with the service member.

The initial employment appointment will not exceed two years and can be extended in two-year increments for no more than a total of six years. The appointments will end when the service member transfers back to the U.S. or to another overseas assignment. They may also end due to divorce, death of the sponsor or upon the sponsor’s retirement or separation from active duty.

Spouses interested in applying for civil service employment can visit the Air Force Civilian Service site to search for jobs being filled using the direct-hire authority process. Additionally, local civilian personnel offices can provide assistance and information.

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