[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 169 (Wednesday, August 31, 2011)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 54071-54072]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-22268]



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Rules and Regulations
                                                Federal Register
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Federal Register / Vol. 76, No. 169 / Wednesday, August 31, 2011 / 
Rules and Regulations

[[Page 54071]]



OFFICE OF PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT

5 CFR Part 315

RIN 3206-AM36


Noncompetitive Appointment of Certain Military Spouses

AGENCY: U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: The U.S. Office of Personnel Management is issuing final 
regulations to eliminate the 2-year eligibility limitation for 
noncompetitive appointment for spouses of certain deceased or 100 
percent disabled veterans. OPM is removing this restriction to provide 
spouses of certain deceased or 100 percent disabled veterans with 
unlimited eligibility for noncompetitive appointment. The intended 
effect of this change is to further facilitate the entry of these 
military spouses into the Federal civil service.

DATES: This rule is effective September 30, 2011.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Michelle Glynn, 202-606-1571; Fax: 
202-606-2329 by TDD: 202-418-3134, or e-mail: michelle.glynn@opm.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On March 10, 2011, the Office of Personnel 
Management (OPM) published proposed regulations in the Federal Register 
at 76 FR 13100 to eliminate the 2-year eligibility limitation for 
noncompetitive appointment for spouses of certain deceased or 100 
percent disabled veterans in part 315 of title 5, Code of Federal 
Regulations (CFR). OPM received 23 comments on the proposed rule: 19 
from individuals, one from a Federal agency, and three from national 
military associations.
    Six individuals, two national military associations, and one 
Federal agency expressed their general support for the proposed 
changes.
    Four individuals and one national military association suggested 
that OPM also remove the 2-year window for appointment eligibility for 
military spouses whose eligibility is based on relocating with their 
service-member spouses as a result of permanent change of station (PCS) 
orders. OPM is not adopting this suggestion. The proposed regulation 
sought to remove the 2-year window for appointment eligibility only for 
spouses of service members who incurred a 100 percent disability 
because of the service members' active duty service, and spouses of 
service members killed while on active duty. OPM proposed to eliminate 
the 2-year window for spouses of certain deceased and 100 percent 
disabled service members based on the findings presented to us by the 
Department of the Navy's Spouse Employment and Empowerment Integrated 
Process Team. The Integrated Process Team (IPT) found that spouses of 
service members who were killed or who became 100 percent disabled 
while on active duty had been unable to make use of the noncompetitive 
hiring authority within the 2-year eligibility period due to their 
bereavement, convalescent care responsibilities, dependent care 
responsibilities, or their need to undergo education or training. The 
IPT did not indicate the 2-year window for appointment eligibility for 
PCS military spouses was problematic. Accordingly, OPM's proposal was 
limited to the problem the IPT did identify. Further, OPM believes 2 
years is a reasonable period for spouses authorized to relocate on PCS 
orders to obtain Federal employment using this hiring authority. All 
other noncompetitive hiring authorities have a time limitation for 
appointment eligibility. Elimination of the 2-year window for PCS 
military spouses would create an inconsistency between this group and 
other individuals eligible for noncompetitive entry into Federal 
service. For these reasons, we find no basis for adopting this 
suggestion.
    Five individuals suggested we change all references to ``killed 
while serving on active duty in the armed forces'' to ``died while 
serving on active duty in the armed forces'' to clarify that 
eligibility under this part is not limited to spouses of service 
members killed in action. OPM is not adopting this suggestion because 
we do not believe clarification is necessary. Our implementing guidance 
at http://www.fedshirevets.gov/hire/hrp/qaspouse/index.aspx clearly 
states that, for these purposes, a service member is considered to have 
been ``killed'' while on active duty if he or she dies for any reason 
while serving on active duty in the armed forces. Additionally, the 
language in the proposed regulation is consistent with the language 
used in Executive Order (E.O.) 13473 of September 30, 2008, which is 
the basis of the authority for these noncompetitive appointments.
    One individual commented that the proposed rule excludes surviving 
spouses of service members who died of a service-connected cause, but 
not while on active duty. OPM has no authority to extend noncompetitive 
appointment eligibility to surviving spouses of service members who 
died of a service-connected cause, but not while on active duty. As 
noted above, E.O. 13473 is the source of the authority for 
noncompetitive appointment of certain military spouses, and that Order 
limits eligibility for noncompetitive appointment to military spouses 
who are relocating with their service-member spouses as a result of 
permanent change of station (PCS) orders, spouses of service members 
who incurred a 100 percent disability because of the service members' 
active duty service, and spouses of service members killed while on 
active duty.
    Two individuals suggested OPM change the date a PCS spouse's 
eligibility begins from the date of the PCS orders to the date the 
military spouse actually reports to the new location. OPM is not 
adopting the suggestions to change the effective date of eligibility 
for PCS spouses. We believe the PCS document provides an appropriate, 
standardized basis on which to establish when an individual's 
eligibility for noncompetitive appointment begins. Further, we see no 
reliable way to verify when a military spouse actually relocates to the 
new geographic area, short of imposing a burdensome process on both the 
military spouse and the potential hiring agency.
    Another individual suggested we clarify the effective date of a 
military spouse's eligibility, when based on

[[Page 54072]]

relocation due to PCS orders. This commenter believes agencies have 
been applying the 2-year eligibility period for PCS spouses 
inconsistently. As noted in the preceding paragraph, eligibility for 
PCS spouses begins on the date of the service member's PCS orders. We 
believe this is a clear standard that can and should be applied 
consistently.
    One commenter stated these provisions do not apply to military 
spouses in the Department of Defense's (DoD) Priority Placement 
Program. Neither E.O. 13473 nor OPM's implementing regulation prevents 
an individual in any DoD military spouse program from utilizing these 
provisions, assuming that individual is otherwise eligible under 5 CFR 
315.612.
    Another commenter stated that service members should have the same 
hiring advantage as military spouses. Executive Order 13473 authorizes 
noncompetitive appointment only for certain military spouses. We do 
note that service members may be eligible under several veterans-
specific hiring authorities, including Veterans Recruitment Act (VRA) 
appointments. In addition, service members may be entitled to veterans' 
preference, depending on when they served on active duty and the 
character of that service.
    One individual asked that we clarify whether these provisions apply 
to military spouses who are current Federal employees, or individuals 
who have never been in Federal service. These provisions apply to any 
military spouse who is otherwise eligible under section 315.612.
    Another commenter asked whether the proposed changes apply to all 
widows of 100 percent disabled veterans. Per E.O. 13473, the proposed 
changes apply to any spouse of a service member who incurred a 100 
percent disability because of the service member's active duty service, 
provided the individual is otherwise eligible under section 315.612.
    One individual commented that non-military spouses should have the 
same opportunity for obtaining a Federal job as do military spouses. As 
noted above, E.O. 13473 authorizes noncompetitive appointment only for 
certain military spouses. Individuals not eligible under this authority 
must seek consideration under any hiring authority for which they are 
eligible, or apply through the competitive examining process. Use of 
the military spouse hiring authority, as is the case with all other 
noncompetitive hiring authorities, is completely discretionary on the 
part of the hiring agency. This authority does not constitute, 
establish, or convey a hiring preference or a selection priority for 
eligible military spouses.
    Two of the comments we received were beyond the scope of the 
proposed changes. One individual asked that OPM reinstitute the Defense 
Civilian Intelligence Personnel System (DCIPS) interchange agreement. 
The other commenter suggested an improvement in the USAJOBS Web site.

Executive Order 13563 and Executive Order 12855, Regulatory Review

    This rule has been reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget 
in accordance with E.O. 13563 and E.O. 12866.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

    I certify that this regulation will not have a significant economic 
impact on a substantial number of small entities because it affects 
only Federal agencies and employees.

List of Subjects in 5 CFR Part 315

    Government employees.

U.S. Office of Personnel Management.
John Berry,
Director.

    Accordingly, OPM is amending 5 CFR part 315 as follows:

PART 315--CAREER AND CAREER-CONDITIONAL EMPLOYMENT

0
1. The authority citation for part 315 continues to read as follows:

    Authority:  5 U.S.C. 1302, 3301, and 3302; E.O. 10577, 3 CFR, 
1954-1958 Comp. p. 218, unless otherwise noted; and E.O. 13162. 
Secs. 315.601 and 315.609 also issued under 22 U.S.C. 3651 and 3652. 
Secs. 315.602 and 315.604 also issued under 5 U.S.C. 1104. Sec. 
315.603 also issued under 5 U.S.C. 8151. Sec. 315.605 also issued 
under E.O. 12034, 3 CFR, 1978 Comp. p. 111. Sec. 315.606 also issued 
under E.O. 11219, 3 CFR, 1964-1965 Comp. p. 303. Sec. 315.607 also 
issued under 22 U.S.C. 2506. Sec. 315.608 also issued under E.O. 
12721, 3 CFR, 1990 Comp. p. 293. Sec. 315.610 also issued under 5 
U.S.C. 3304(c). Sec. 315.611 also issued under 5 U.S.C. 3304(f). 
Sec. 315.612 also under E.O. 13473. Sec. 315.708 also issued under 
E.O. 13318, 3 CFR, 2004 Comp. p. 265. Sec. 315.710 also issued under 
E.O. 12596, 3 CFR, 1978 Comp. p. 229. Subpart I also issued under 5 
U.S.C. 3321, E.O. 12107, 3 CFR, 1978 Comp. p. 264.

Subpart F--Career or Career-Conditional Appointment Under Special 
Authorities

0
2. In Sec.  315.612, revise paragraph (d)(1) to read as follows:


Sec.  315.612  Noncompetitive appointment of certain military spouses.

* * * * *
    (d) Conditions. (1) In accordance with the provisions of this 
section, spouses are eligible for noncompetitive appointment:
    (i) For a maximum of 2 years from the date of the service member's 
permanent change of station orders;
    (ii) From the date of documentation verifying the member of the 
armed forces is 100 percent disabled; or
    (iii) From the date of documentation verifying the member of the 
armed forces was killed while on active duty.
* * * * *
[FR Doc. 2011-22268 Filed 8-30-11; 8:45 am]
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