AFGE outlines priorities for inclusion in fiscal 2023 National Defense Authorization Act affecting civilian workers at DoD and other agencies
WASHINGTON – The American Federation of Government Employees has outlined its top priorities for lawmakers to include in the fiscal 2023 National Defense Authorization Act.
The union’s priority issues include issues affecting civilian employees at the Department of Defense as well as at other agencies, including the Transportation Security Administration and Department of Veterans Affairs, and governmentwide.
“The NDAA is a key legislative vehicle for reforms and initiatives that improve the lives of civilian workers across the federal government, and we look forward to working with lawmakers from the House and Senate to ensure our top priorities are included in next year’s bill,” AFGE National President Everett Kelley said.
AFGE’s priorities are detailed in a Feb. 8 letter to leadership on the House and Senate Armed Services committees. The key issues identified by the union for inclusion in the fiscal 2023 NDAA are:
- Address AFGE’s concerns with respect to implementing Planning, Programming, Budgeting and Execution System (PPBES) reforms that may be under consideration by the commission established in the fiscal 2022 NDAA. These concerns were detailed in a Jan. 21 letter from President Kelley to Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks.
- Repeal the remaining arbitrary personnel caps on headquarters functions in sections 143, 194, 7014, 8014 and 9014 of Title 10.
- Continue the moratorium on conducting public-private competitions under A-76.
- Strengthen implementation of section 815 of the fiscal 2022 NDAA depending on DoD’s implementation of those provisions to enforce compliance with existing statutory restrictions on converting civilian positions to contract performance and to ensure the department is complying with statutory requirements to consider civilian employees for performance of “closely associated with inherently governmental” and “critical functions.”
- Continue the prohibition on another round of Base Realignment and Closure Commissions (BRACs).
- Encourage DoD to hire civilian backfills when converting military medical structure to operational requirements in military medical treatment facilities.
- Encourage Commissaries to address food insecurity among military families by ending variable pricing and establishing specific pilot programs to provide free produce to eligible military families.
- Improve sustainment planning for major weapon system acquisitions by reestablishing the manpower estimate report process prior to milestone B and C decisions on the appropriate mix between Active Component and Reserve Component military, civilian employee, host nation and contract support for operating, training, and maintaining major weapon systems.
- Repeal DoD’s authority for the Acquisition Demo project, which has been documented as discriminatory to women and minorities.
- Prohibit the misuse of term or temporary hiring authorities for enduring functions.
- Include the full text of HR 903, “The Rights for the TSA Workforce Act of 2021,” which would put Transportation Security Officers on the same pay scale as most other federal employees, provide them with the same Title 5 collective bargaining rights as other federal workers, and ensure neutral third-party review of disciplinary matters.
- Include the full text of HR 962 and S 1888, “The Law Enforcement Equity Act,” which would provide all federal law enforcement professionals – including those at the Federal Protective Service, Department of Defense, Department of Veterans Affairs, and the U.S. Mint – with the same enhanced pay and benefits as officers at certain agencies such as the FBI, Border Patrol, and Drug Enforcement Administration.
- Include the full text of HR 2499 and S 1116, “The Federal Firefighters Fairness Act,” which would create a presumption under the Federal Employees Compensation Program that certain forms of cancer and other chronic diseases among federal firefighters are the result of workplace exposure, making the victims eligible for monetary and medical benefits.
- Include the full text of S 3423, “The Chance to Compete Act of 2022,” which would reestablish competitive hiring as the preferred method for staffing the civil service by ensuring that vacancies are open to the public and to other qualified federal workers, establishing panels of subject-matter experts to assist with screening applicants, and allowing applicants deemed qualified for certain kinds of work to be considered for multiple jobs across the government without having to reapply for each one. AFGE also asks lawmakers to oppose non-competitive hiring and excepted service appointments in the federal government.
- Include report language requesting a review of the efficiency, effectiveness, and fairness from a due process perspective of DoD security clearance determinations, as well as a demographic survey on whether security clearance adjudications within DoD and other federal agencies have been applied in a discriminatory manner against protected civil rights categories and in favor of certain hate groups.
- Consider the adverse effects of limited access to technical data in the organic industrial base and limits to governmental access to “certified cost and pricing data” under the Truth in Negotiations Act (TINA) resulting from recent expansions of “commercial items and services” definitions through the NDAA in sole source procurements that have contributed to escalating sustainment costs and cybersecurity risks for DoD weapon systems.
- Include the text of HR 3086 and S 1561, “The Locality Pay Equity Act of 2021,” which would codify report language from the prior two NDAAs directing the Office of Personnel Management to align wage grade pay localities with General Schedule locality pay areas across the country.