Breaking the Staffing Ceiling

An actual Reservist who has an IC day job asks for specifics:

“Inherent government function” is what we are supposed to do but contractor-creep has them doing everything except running the agency. Are these drilling Reservists you talk about the answer to Congressional staffing caps and green badge madness?

It could very well be, subject to the following caveats:

  • For legal purposes an IC Reserve is treated the same as the military Reserve (re-employment rights in case of involuntary call-up, etc.)
  • That private-sector employers who extend gap-pay and other benefits to military Reservists who drill will do the same for IC Reservists.

Ideally your reserve cadre is still working in their field in a functional sense or through their own initiative their skills are up to snuff and they still keep abreast of pertinent issues (that’ll have to be documented). They show up at a military joint reserve intelligence unit (or a pre-determined DC-area agency) to conduct whatever classified work they need to and focus on OSINT work at home or a local government telecommuting center. One weekend a month and two weeks a year is the standard time and effort commitment and for that they get an appropriate portion of their last annual salary. You can put in more time but that’s between you, your civilian boss and your better half (if applicable).

The bulk of reserve work would be the “all others” stuff that agencies and commands are supposed to do after top tier problems are addressed. That’s essentially what the annuitants did immediately after 9/11. This frees up the “active duty” folks to concentrate on pressing issues and tasks that can’t be worked on part-time.

A portion of the reserve cadre, those with special skills or who otherwise would be tracking key issues anyway (e.g. follow-the-money people working in the financial sector) would function in part as public-private liaisons and provide the active duty folks with access to sources of data and insight they might not normally have (not PROPIN, more like data you can’t get from your classified traffic dump). They can also serve as briefers and white-paper writers on industry developments (the stuff you tend to miss when your focus is far away).

Yet another – the gray-beard class – could act as perpetual Teams-B, off of which the active duty folks could bounce ideas, projections and analysis (cheaper than hiring a Federally Funded R&D Center . . .).

Of course there would be ways to game the system, like perpetual reservists who keep volunteering for long tours and just can’t be bothered to get a job, and guys who sign up but don’t put out.

You’d also have to figure out some way to “promote” people or otherwise raise their salaries as their expertise grows and their level of commitment becomes more clear. There should also be some mechanism for introducing people who never had active duty time but have the requisite skills and are willing to serve.

Perfect? No, but it beats letting all that talent go to waste.

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