Executive Order 13518: Veterans Employment Initiative

On November 9, 2009, President Barack Obama signed Executive Order 13518 establishing the “Veterans Employment Initiative” to boost employment of military veterans, especially from Iraq and Afghanistan, in the federal government. From 2009 through 2013, based on the most current data from the Office of Personnel Management, there was a 7 percent increase in the number of veterans hired by the federal government, and veterans’ participation in the federal workforce jumped from about 26 percent to more than 30 percent. Four of the five foreign affairs agencies (State, USAID, Commerce and Agriculture) are parties to the initiative, but in at least one case—the State Department—the Foreign Service is excluded from OPM’s data. Here are excerpts from the executive order, which can be viewed in its entirety at http://1.usa.gov/1UhXGTu.

By the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including section 301 of title 3 of the United States Code, I hereby order as follows:

Section 1. Policy.

Veterans have served and sacrificed in defense of our Nation. When they complete their service, we must do everything in our power to assist them in re-entering civilian life and finding employment. …

Section 2.

Council on Veterans Employment. There is hereby established an interagency Council on Veterans Employment (Council), to be co-chaired by the Secretaries of Labor and Veterans Affairs. The director of the Office of Personnel Management shall serve as vice chair of the Council.

(a) Mission and Function of the Council.

The Council shall:

     (i) advise and assist the president and the director of OPM in establishing a coordinated governmentwide effort to increase the number of veterans employed by the federal government by enhancing recruitment and training;

     (ii) serve as a national forum for promoting veterans’ employment opportunities in the executive branch; and

     (iii) establish performance measures to assess the effectiveness of, and submit an annual report to the president on the status of, the Veterans Employment Initiative described in Section 3 of this order.

(b) Membership of the Council.

The Council shall consist of the heads of the following agencies and such other executive branch agencies as the President may designate:

     (i) the Department of State

     (ii) the Department of the Treasury

     (iii) the Department of Defense

     (iv) the Department of Justice

     (v) the Department of the Interior

     (vi) the Department of Agriculture

     (vii) the Department of Commerce

     (viii) the Department of Labor

     (ix) the Department of Health and Human Services

     (x) the Department of Housing and Urban Development

     (xi) the Department of Transportation

     (xii) the Department of Energy

     (xiii) the Department of Education

     (xiv) the Department of Veterans Affairs

     (xv) the Department of Homeland Security

     (xvi) the Environmental Protection Agency

     (xvii) the National Aeronautics and Space Administration

     (xviii) the Agency for International Development

     (xix) the General Services Administration

     (xx) the National Science Foundation

     (xxi) the Nuclear Regulatory Commission

     (xxii) the Office of Personnel Management

     (xxiii) the Small Business Administration

     (xxiv) the Social Security Administration


Section 3.

Veterans Employment Initiative. The agencies represented on the Council shall participate in a Veterans Employment Initiative. Under the Initiative, each participating agency shall, to the extent permitted by law:

(a) develop an agency-specific Operational Plan for promoting employment opportunities for veterans, consistent with the governmentwide Veterans Recruitment and Employment Strategic Plan described in Section 4 of this order, merit system principles, the agency’s strategic human capital plan, and other applicable workforce planning strategies and initiatives;

(b) within 120 days of the date of this order, establish a Veterans Employment Program Office, or designate an agency officer or employee with full-time responsibility for its Veterans Employment Program, to be responsible for enhancing employment opportunities for veterans within the agency, consistent with law and merit system principles, including developing and implementing the agency’s Operational Plan, veterans recruitment programs, and training programs for veterans with disabilities, and for coordinating employment counseling to help match the career aspirations of veterans to the needs of the agency;

(c) provide mandatory annual training to agency human resources personnel and hiring managers concerning veterans’ employment, including training on veterans’ preferences and special authorities for the hiring of veterans;

(d) identify key occupations for which the agency will provide job counseling and training to better enable veterans to meet agency staffing needs associated with those occupations; and

(e) coordinate with the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs to promote further development and application of technology designed to assist transitioning service members and veterans with disabilities.

Section 4.

Additional Responsibilities of the Director of the Office of Personnel Management. The Director of OPM shall, in consultation with the Council and to the extent permitted by law:

(a) develop a governmentwide Veterans Recruitment and Employment Strategic Plan, to be updated at least every three years, addressing barriers to the employment of veterans in the executive branch and focusing on:

     (i) identifying actions that agency leaders should take to improve employment opportunities for veterans;

     (ii) developing the skills of transitioning military service members and veterans;

     (iii) marketing the federal government as an employer of choice to transitioning service members and veterans;

     (iv) marketing the talent, experience, and dedication of transitioning service members and veterans to federal agencies; and

     (v) disseminating federal employment information to veterans and hiring officials;

(b) provide governmentwide leadership in recruitment and employment of veterans in the executive branch;

(c) identify key occupations, focusing on positions in high-demand occupations where talent is needed to meet governmentwide staffing needs, for which the federal government will provide job counseling and training under section 5(a) of this order to veterans and transitioning military service personnel;

(d) develop mandatory training for both human resources personnel and hiring managers on veterans’ employment, including veterans’ preference and special hiring authorities;

(e) compile and post on the OPM website governmentwide statistics on the hiring of veterans; and

(f) within one year of the date of this order and with the advice of the Council, provide recommendations to the president on improving the ability of veterans’ preference laws to meet the needs of the new generation of veterans, especially those transitioning from the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the needs of federal hiring officials.

Section 5.

Responsibilities of the Secretaries of Defense, Labor, Veterans Affairs, and Homeland Security. The Secretaries of Defense, Labor, Veterans Affairs, and Homeland Security shall take the following actions, to the extent permitted by law:

(a) The Secretaries of Defense, Labor, Veterans Affairs, and Homeland Security shall, in consultation with OPM, develop and implement counseling and training programs to align veterans’ and transitioning service members’ skills and career aspirations to federal employment opportunities, targeting federal occupations that are projected to have heavy recruitment needs.