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Federal Managers Association

Press Release

  • Alexandria, VA – The House of Representatives passed the Fiscal Year 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) on Thursday, September 23, by a vote of 316-113. The bill includes a provision altering the 2-year probationary period for Department of Defense (DOD) new hires to 1-year. FMA National President Craig Carter made the following comments:

    “FMA understands the critical importance of the NDAA each year and the need for its ultimate passage into law. There is much in this bill that FMA supports, including the efforts to combat sexual harassment and assault, the pay raise for the uniformed military, and the extension of parental leave benefits.

    “However, we remain in deep opposition to the provision (Section 1108) to modify the probationary period for new hires at the Department of Defense (DOD). This is an unfortunate, ill-advised and premature misstep within the bill.

    “The FY2020 NDAA (H. Rept. 116-333) wisely required an independent review and report on the probationary period for DOD employees (Sec. 1102). FMA supported Congress’ order for a comprehensive, thorough study of the usage of the 2-year probationary period within DOD.

    “The study ordered by Congress will provide a wealth of information and data that will be useful for making future decisions regarding the probationary period. However, the study has not been completed, submitted to Congress, or analyzed. It would therefore be irresponsible and illogical, costly and wasteful for Congress to take premature action related to the DOD probationary period until after the results of the study are released, with evidence and data determining if the probationary period should be altered or not. It is our understanding the report will be forthcoming in the next few months and will allow Congress to make a fully informed decision on this matter.

    “FMA urges Congress to ensure Section 1108 of H.R. 4350 is not included in the final conference report and take no further action until the comprehensive study it requested is complete and the evidence thoroughly reviewed.”

    The study, which H.R. 4350 ignores, is mandated to include:

    (1) An assessment and identification of the demographics of each Department of Defense employee who, during such period, was on a probationary period and who was removed from the civil service, subject to any disciplinary action (up to and including removal), or who filed a claim or appeal with the Office of Special Counsel or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

    (2) A statistical assessment of the distribution patterns with respect to any removal from the civil service during such period of, or any disciplinary action (up to and including a removal) taken during such period against, any Department employee while the employee was on a probationary period.

    (3) An analysis of the best practices and abuses of discretion by supervisors and managers of the Department with respect to probationary periods.

    (4) An assessment of the utility of the probationary period prescribed by such section 1599e on the successful recruitment, retention, and professional development of civilian employees of the Department, including any recommendation for regulatory or statutory changes the Secretary determines to be appropriate.

    (5) A discussion of the cases where the Department made a determination to remove a Department employee during the second year of such employee’s probationary period.

    (6) A summary of how the Department has implemented the authority provided in such section 1599e with respect to probationary periods, including the number, and a demographic summary, of each Department employee removed from the civil service, subject to any disciplinary action (up to and including removal), or who filed a claim or appeal with the Office of Special Counsel or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission during the second year of any such employee’s probationary period.


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The Association’s considerable influence stems from a team approach to advocacy. When lawmakers or agency decision-makers consider proposals that could adversely affect the management of the federal workforce, they quickly realize that TEAM FMA stands together to protect the interests of all its members.

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