Senators Isakson, Perdue Urge Agency To Work With Administration To Protect National Security, Military Readiness

Urge changes to hiring freeze implementation affecting Robins Air Force Base, Kings Bay Naval Base

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Johnny Isakson (R-GA) and David Perdue (R-GA) recently joined several of their Senate colleagues in a letter urging the Office of Personnel Management to work with the Trump Administration to remedy potential unintended consequences of the recently announced federal hiring freeze for our nation’s security. The senators urged the Office of Personnel Management to update their guidance to the U.S. Department of Defense on how the Pentagon should carry out the executive memorandum.

In a letter to Office of Personnel Management Acting Director Kathleen McGettigan, the senators wrote, “It has come to our attention that… waivers for civilian hiring at military depots, shipyards, plants and arsenals are being issued by service secretaries on a job-by-job basis. This practice is extremely inefficient, impractical and should be changed immediately.”

Of the military installations in Georgia, two – Robins Air Force Base in Warner Robins and the Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay – could be impacted by what Senator Isakson and Senator Perdue call an inefficient practice of issuing hiring waivers on a case-by-case basis that could further delay critical maintenance, which is already suffering from a shortfall in personnel.

While the senators applauded the intent of the executive memo to “reduce the size of bureaucracy across the entire government,” they shared their concerns that the manner in which the order is being implemented does not comply with current law nor does it address the “practical concerns about our national security.” 

Additionally, they point out that if implementation guidance of the presidential memorandum is not changed to conform to current statute governing civilian employees, the stated goal of U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis to increase military readiness “will be much more difficult to achieve.” 

The senators reconfirmed their commitment “to work with [Ms. McGettigan] on this important national-security issue.” 

The letter was authored by U.S. Senators Jim Inhofe (R-OK) and Mike Lee (R-UT) and, in addition to Senator Isakson and Senator Perdue, was signed by Senators John Boozman (R-AR), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Tim Kaine (D-VA), and James Lankford (R-OK).

A copy of the letter is available here