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Military Family Services May be Slow to Re-Hire After Freeze

Despite an end to the federal hiring freeze earlier this month, services for military families may remain in limbo, and even suspended.

When the federal government placed a freeze on all federal hiring in late January, the Department of Defense was allowed to hire only new military members to send to individual service boot camps.

Military family facilities such as MWR and on-post daycares were left with staffing shortages. At least eight bases around the world cut some child care services hours as a result. AAFES officials also said they have cut hours and closed some locations.

The freeze was lifted two weeks ago but change will not be swift.

Military officials said the process of hiring an individual, especially for child care positions, normal takes about 120 days. Applicants must undergo thorough background checks and that takes time. The hiring freeze didn’t necessarily cause the shortage, but delayed the process even longer, meaning unfilled positions remained, and still remain in many places

A report from says some branches were able to apply, and receive hiring exemptions. The Army, for example the website reports, had approved 5,083 hiring exemptions for civilian positions in child care centers, fire and emergency services, police, security guards and air traffic control.

And a lift to the hiring freeze does not mean all positions will be filled.  White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney announced a hiring policy change last week.

NPR reported, "this does not mean agencies will be free to hire willy-nilly," Mulvaney said. The director said hiring will be done with a strategic plan. Some agencies will hire more employees and others will lose positions.

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