ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. — To meet the needs of America’s national security requirements, the Air Force Reserve Command is expanding the direct hiring authority to recruit Air Reserve Technician maintenance personnel when and where they are needed.
“Direct Hire Authority (DHA) enables DoD to recruit and appoint qualified persons directly without applying competitive rating and ranking procedures,” states a Nov. 27, 2018 Department of Defense letter.
Lisa Armes, chief, Staffing, Affirmative Employment for AFRC’s Directorate of Manpower, Personnel and Services, known as A1, explains that DHA makes filling open positions faster and easier.
“Feedback from our units indicates there are traditional Reservists interested in applying for ART positions, but might not make the referral certificate due to lack of deployment or other experience-based issues,” Armes said. “DHA allows the hiring official to make selections without the need of a referral certificate and thus opens up the ART opportunities to qualified traditional Reservists more easily.”
With approximately 1,600 vacancies across the maintenance career fields, using DHA is a great way to reduce that large number, according to Armes. Additionally, Armes said it takes between 160 to 200 days on average to fill an ART positon. However, DHA enables hiring officials to bring someone on board in a much shorter time period.
“One unit submitted their first DHA package and their applicant received a tentative job offer within 14 days,” she said. “Another unit’s submission had a tentative job offer in six business days. If units are hiring their experienced traditional Reservists, this is happening in 60 to 80 days as compared to the previous 160 to 200 days.”
In order for the Air Force Personnel Center to adjust to the new DHA workload, units were selected to have DHA priority until April 30. The list consists of maintenance units at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, Naval Air Station Joint Base Fort Worth, Texas, Hill Air Force Base, Utah, Homestead Air Reserve Base, Florida, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, Pittsburgh Air Reserve Station, Pennsylvania, Beale Air Force Base, California, Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma, Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, March Air Reserve Base, California and Grissom Air Reserve Base, Indiana. These units were selected based on a combination of factors, including manning rates. After April 30, all units will have equal priority in submitting and processing their packages through the hiring system. This priority only applies to maintenance DHA. It does not apply to ART officer recruitment or ART enlisted recruitment that is not covered by the maintenance DHA.
Maj. Monica Lombardo, chief of Maintenance Force Management for AFRC’s Directorate of Logistics, Engineering and Force Protection, known as A4, says the new DHA flexibility is not just good for the maintenance but also good for the entire Reserve enterprise and the mission.
“Really, this policy is not just a good thing for A4, since hiring more maintainers enables increased aircraft availability and mission capable rates,” Lombardo said. “More flyable aircraft translates to more pilot training and combat readiness on the operational side.”
Lombardo said the feedback from the Reserve units has been very positive about DHA. One reason the DHA implementation has been so successful, she says, is unit leadership involvement and collaboration with AFRC A1.