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Institute of Defense Analyses Report Evaluates DOD Hiring Process

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The Department of Defense should consider additional compensation funding, create a requirements process and metrics, and build relationships in its recruitment of workers with skills critical to national security, the Institute of Defense Analyses said.

A recent IDA report focused on the efficacy of DOD’s human resources programs for hiring, developing and retaining skilled workers, such as specialists of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

DOD invested in various outreach, education and recruitment initiatives to target students, interns and professionals equipped with capabilities in STEM, technological innovation, computer science and critical languages. However, differences in civilian and military hiring processes within individual commands and branches have sometimes resulted in the programs’ apparent shortfalls.

Based on data from interviews with 127 HR employees, IDA found that local DOD branches are often under-resourced when it comes to civilian recruiting, and fail to match the applicant to the work that needs to be performed. Meanwhile, defense commands only base employee selection on existing skill sets and career paths instead of new and emerging STEM-related capabilities.

The institute recommended that military services coordinate with civilian recruiting to access STEM talent. It also called for additional training of HR staff on direct hiring and fielding specialized teams to help reduce bureaucratic bottlenecks.

To avoid losing skilled talent to the private sector, DOD must implement incentives and redistribute financial resources to attract employees through compensation, IDA said.