Army opening access to temporary jobs postings for reservists

Staff Sgt. Jared Hight, a crew chief with the 124th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, Boise, Idaho, researches information on government computer at Nellis Air Force Base, Las Vegas, Nevada, June 8, 2019. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Joshua C. Allmaras)

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The Army, propelled by a new requirement from Congress, is putting its temporary jobs board on an open network that members of the National Guard and Army Reserve will be able to access from their personal devices.

The job board for temporary voluntary assignments, called “Tour of Duty,” can currently only be accessed on government devices on the Army’s network, a barrier for most reservists and guardsmen who do not have government devices. The change was mandated by the Fiscal 2022 National Defense Authorization Act, signed into law by the president on Dec. 27.

The Army has a year to transition the job board into an available format for soldiers.

“The Army will comply with the NDAA. We are considering evaluating the Tour of Duty portal access as part of the Bring Your Own Device pilot program planned for this year,” Bruce Anderson, an Army spokesperson, said in a statement.

The Army has been piloting allowing guardsmen and reservists to use their personal devices to access Army networks as a part of the service’s transition to a new email platform from Microsoft. The BYOD policy pilot has so far yielded positive results, Army IT leaders said in December media roundtable.

The portal could impact temporary jobs in the IT world that the Army posts, since attracting and retaining talent has been a perennial problem for cyber units and IT components of the Army.

“One person maybe needs a cyber unit … those are all potential position available,” John Goheen, a spokesperson for the National Guard Association told FedScoop in an interview.

The jobs posted to Tour of Duty are all temporary and voluntary openings and not a part of normal drill cycles. Goheen added that many reservists and guardsmen work many part-time jobs, and the opportunity to self-elect to go on active duty could provide new opportunities for soldiers.

“We are in this period of the great resignation … people may have the opportunity to do a tour,” he said.

Other parts of the military have tried to solve similar challenges, including the Defense Innovation Unit’s “Gig Eagle,” which matches reservists with tech skills to technical assignments. The Gig Eagle platform aims to function across the military, not just for the Army and it’s unclear if there is any relation between the Army’s new requirement and the DIU platform.

In a statement to FedScoop, DIU Project Manager for Gig Eagle Scott Summer, explained that Gig Eagle will focus on staffing short-term project needs that range from four hours to several months in duration, initially looking at civilian experience and qualifications.

“The objective of Gig Eagle is to enable real-time, location-agnostic talent identification, allowing DOD hiring managers to engage and match military personnel reservists with DOD missions where their talents will have the most impact,” said Summer.

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Army, Defense Innovation Unit (DIU), National Guard, NDAA, web portal
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