Pentagon orders 16 specific exemptions to federal hiring freeze

The Defense Department on Thursday announced a sweeping set of exceptions to the governmentwide civilian hiring freeze President Donald Trump imposed on Jan. 23, allowing hiring to resume across broad categories of the workforce ranging from cybersecurity specialists to depot maintenance and shipyard personnel.

Invoking a provision of Trump’s executive order that allows agencies to exempt positions they deem critical to national security and public safety, Robert Work, the deputy Defense secretary, listed 16 separate functions that will be immune from the freeze. But in a memo to the military departments, combatant commanders and agency heads who will carry out the guidance, he also cautioned that they must be prepared to defend their decisions to exempt any individual position.

“I will follow closely any actions taken with respect to implementation of the hiring freeze and will hold these officials accountable for the exemptions they grant,” Work wrote.

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