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Department of Defense


The Department of Defense (DoD) is charged with coordinating and supervising all agencies and functions of the government relating directly to national security and the United States armed forces. The mission of the Department of Defense is to provide the military forces needed to deter war and to protect the security of our country.

The Department of Defense is America's oldest and largest government agency -tracing its roots back to pre-Revolutionary times. Today, the Department is not only in charge of the military, but it also employs a civilian force of thousands. With over 1.4 million men and women on active duty, and 718,000 civilian personnel, DoD is the nation's largest employer. Another 1.1 million serve in the National Guard and Reserve forces. More than 2 million military retirees and their family members receive benefits.

Perhaps you are working for the DoD or interested in working for the DoD. Here is a forum to share your experience with the DoD.
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cyberfx1024  
#1 Posted : Monday, November 27, 2017 9:16:47 PM(UTC)
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Ok everybody as you know when it rains it pours in almost anything you do. So I am currently a GS-0856-11 Step 5 here in the Los Angeles area, and I have been applying for a job back in the VA/NC area for the longest time in the 0856 and 2210 series. Well last week I got the news that my clearance finally came through for a job as a GS-2210-9 Step 10 in the InfoSec field at Ft. Bragg, with a FO for a start date in January. Then I come into work this morning and I get a TO as a GS-2210-11 Step 5 in the CustSupt field in rural VA. Both jobs would require me to switch series to the 2210 series.

Which I wrote back to both saying that I will accept them just in case one falls through. But my dilemma is that one of the positions is with DOD, and the other one is with the USDA. I am currently working with the USGS, and I love how laid back it is here at my job as long the job gets done and I am available by phone/email, basically I am able to pretty much set my own hours. I go in at 6:30am while some others I work with(do the same job) come in around 9/10am, in which he also stays a lot later than I do as well. But I have also seen and heard how the DOD is so strict in regard to core hours and you must work a 9-5 day no matter what.

So what should I do is my question: Do I work at the USDA at the same grade/step, or do I work at the DOD and go back to a GS-9 with a much more stricter environment? I will lose money either way due to the locality pay but I will gain alot due to the low COL.
FS0201  
#2 Posted : Tuesday, November 28, 2017 2:06:20 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: cyberfx1024 Go to Quoted Post
Ok everybody as you know when it rains it pours in almost anything you do. So I am currently a GS-0856-11 Step 5 here in the Los Angeles area, and I have been applying for a job back in the VA/NC area for the longest time in the 0856 and 2210 series. Well last week I got the news that my clearance finally came through for a job as a GS-2210-9 Step 10 in the InfoSec field at Ft. Bragg, with a FO for a start date in January. Then I come into work this morning and I get a TO as a GS-2210-11 Step 5 in the CustSupt field in rural VA. Both jobs would require me to switch series to the 2210 series.

Which I wrote back to both saying that I will accept them just in case one falls through. But my dilemma is that one of the positions is with DOD, and the other one is with the USDA. I am currently working with the USGS, and I love how laid back it is here at my job as long the job gets done and I am available by phone/email, basically I am able to pretty much set my own hours. I go in at 6:30am while some others I work with(do the same job) come in around 9/10am, in which he also stays a lot later than I do as well. But I have also seen and heard how the DOD is so strict in regard to core hours and you must work a 9-5 day no matter what.

So what should I do is my question: Do I work at the USDA at the same grade/step, or do I work at the DOD and go back to a GS-9 with a much more stricter environment? I will lose money either way due to the locality pay but I will gain alot due to the low COL.


Having worked for USDA, as well as multiple departments within DoD, I would agree that DoD is generally the more restrictive option... but not always. It does depend on a number of issues, and I have had very relaxed supervisors with DoD who allowed a significant amount of leeway. You should consider the full picture, and which option gets you closer to your desired end state. While the organizational fit/culture is certainly important, there are other considerations - including the promotion potential when comparing the positions (CUSTPT vs INFOSEC).

For what it is worth, if given a similar opportunity, I’d jump to go back to USDA.
The excuse of, "I read it on FederalSoup..." won't work. Please do your due diligence.
nembamike  
#3 Posted : Tuesday, November 28, 2017 2:43:00 AM(UTC)

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After having been with DOD for 30 years now I would agree with FS0201. The last couple of years I have been a 1910 QA type with the Navy and they are quite restrictive as compared to my previous years with DCMA as a 1910. Again as already stated a lot depends on the supervisor but mine is pretty much by the book. If you want flexibility go USDA.
CivSer67  
#4 Posted : Tuesday, November 28, 2017 4:11:01 AM(UTC)
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Who told you it's strictly 9-5? I know a few that have AWS and quite a few more that have it very nice in DoD
DaVinci95  
#5 Posted : Tuesday, November 28, 2017 5:28:19 AM(UTC)
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DOD isn't strict 9-5 across the board. We have people come in as early as 0500. It depends on the office and the job. If work schedule was that important to you, it would have been a good idea to discuss it at the interviews. It would still be appropriate to ask about it directly before you make your decision. It seems to me that customer support might require stricter hours than infosec.
cyberfx1024  
#6 Posted : Tuesday, November 28, 2017 12:40:00 PM(UTC)
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Thanks everybody for posting on this thread I started. This certainly helped me finalize my decision of sticking with the DOD so that I can help further my career.
SD Analyst  
#7 Posted : Wednesday, November 29, 2017 7:40:29 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: cyberfx1024 Go to Quoted Post
Thanks everybody for posting on this thread I started. This certainly helped me finalize my decision of sticking with the DOD so that I can help further my career.


Did they tell you about the new Cyber Workforce requirements? Essentially, a 2 year Probation, for new employees and those coming from other Agencies, as well as being Excepted Service rather than Competitive. They are allegedly able to pay you more now. I am just learning more about this, as my position was coded as part of the Cyber Workforce. However, if you are an incumbent employee when the position is being coded as Cyber, you can decline the conversion (I am). Here's an article from the Navy CIO website emagazine for IT: http://www.doncio.navy.m...icleDetails.aspx?ID=8079
Vol  
#8 Posted : Friday, December 01, 2017 7:40:52 AM(UTC)
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I'm DOD and I'm 0700 to 1530.
As other have said, you can make use of the "Alternate Workschedule" if your job function allows it.

Some people work 10 hrs a day to get 1 day a week off every week. (Usually a Friday)
Some other work 9hrs a day to get 1 day off every 2 weeks. (Usually a Monday)
Some people start their day at 0900 to 1800.

I like the DOD as an agency in general, but I am biased because I think it is one of the "cool" agencies. (Along with the FDA and others), I believe that the only thing you need to watch out for if you're switching to DOD is taking time to "learn" the military culture if your job will have you (which most likely will) interact with enlisted / officers. Therefore it is important to address them properly and know the ranks / significance and other things (Some installations close roads during PT.)

But its all pretty swell here! :)
My choice was between DOD and HHS(FDA)
PERSEC  
#9 Posted : Friday, December 01, 2017 8:20:50 AM(UTC)

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Go work for DLA, some of their positions are 100% telework eligible.
Timber  
#10 Posted : Friday, December 01, 2017 7:03:03 PM(UTC)
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DCMA 1102 here. Any agency you go to it will all depend on the location and culture. I was in a great location that after you had enough time under your belt you could do the "Maxi-flex" schedule that if you wanted you could work 4 10s' and take every Friday off, and then you had 2 TW days, so it was not uncommon for half the office to only show up 2 days a week. Now switch it to the office I am in now,TW is "off the record" discouraged, and fat chance of getting 2 TW days a week, as well as the 4x10 is a pipe dream. Same agency different office, different boss.

These are certainly discussions that need to happen when you are making your decisions. Unfortunately people are afraid to ask out of fear of it diminishing their chances, I stated in another thread once, there is a way to go about asking this without sounding entitled. "So I had a question about your office culture, what work life balance opportunities are available such as a teleworking or flexible schedules for a fully trained, and productive employee in good standing? While I don want you to get the wrong idea, I understand these are privileges not rights and can be revoked at any time nor would I expect to be granted these programs immediately if offered, but I would be being dishonest with you if I didn't say at some point in the future I do wish to take part in such programs."

There you have just asked a direct question without coming off as entitled, or disrespectful. If you hear silence while people have to think through their answer it may not be the office for you, if the office promotes those programs the people would happily speak up immediately I would assume. Now its up to you if you want to go there but we all to often are so worried about getting the job we forget they need to sell you on why you want to work there as well, I have 3 job offers on the table right now, same grade and pay, why should I want to work there. Of course never give this tone of arrogance I am talking about here lol just the bottom line is don't be afraid to ask the real questions about what matters to you, just try to find a way to ask the questions without sounding arrogant or entitled and you'll do great.

When asked your skill level on applications, don't lie, but also let someone else be the one to tell you your not an expert!
Rikaku  
#11 Posted : Saturday, December 02, 2017 6:55:17 AM(UTC)

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Originally Posted by: Timber Go to Quoted Post
DCMA 1102 here. Any agency you go to it will all depend on the location and culture. I was in a great location that after you had enough time under your belt you could do the "Maxi-flex" schedule that if you wanted you could work 4 10s' and take every Friday off, and then you had 2 TW days, so it was not uncommon for half the office to only show up 2 days a week. Now switch it to the office I am in now,TW is "off the record" discouraged, and fat chance of getting 2 TW days a week, as well as the 4x10 is a pipe dream. Same agency different office, different boss.

These are certainly discussions that need to happen when you are making your decisions. Unfortunately people are afraid to ask out of fear of it diminishing their chances, I stated in another thread once, there is a way to go about asking this without sounding entitled. "So I had a question about your office culture, what work life balance opportunities are available such as a teleworking or flexible schedules for a fully trained, and productive employee in good standing? While I don want you to get the wrong idea, I understand these are privileges not rights and can be revoked at any time nor would I expect to be granted these programs immediately if offered, but I would be being dishonest with you if I didn't say at some point in the future I do wish to take part in such programs."

There you have just asked a direct question without coming off as entitled, or disrespectful. If you hear silence while people have to think through their answer it may not be the office for you, if the office promotes those programs the people would happily speak up immediately I would assume. Now its up to you if you want to go there but we all to often are so worried about getting the job we forget they need to sell you on why you want to work there as well, I have 3 job offers on the table right now, same grade and pay, why should I want to work there. Of course never give this tone of arrogance I am talking about here lol just the bottom line is don't be afraid to ask the real questions about what matters to you, just try to find a way to ask the questions without sounding arrogant or entitled and you'll do great.





This. I've worked in various DoD offices and commands over the years and concur with Timber. I'd also like to add - and this is anecdotal and just my experience - the larger the place, the more flexibility it offers when it comes to AWS, telework, etc. Some of the smaller field offices are at the whim of the Commander and if that one O5 or O6 thinks everyone should be at work no latter than 0700, or TW is the devil, or AWS isn't productive, then the employees are often SOL.
GWPDA  
#12 Posted : Saturday, December 02, 2017 9:09:26 AM(UTC)
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It's the sudden two year probation that would decide me. Were I anticipating more than five years to retirement (third time's the charm!) I'd switch agencies so fast it'd make your head swim.
DroneBee  
#13 Posted : Saturday, December 02, 2017 1:02:01 PM(UTC)

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Originally Posted by: cyberfx1024 Go to Quoted Post
So what should I do is my question: Do I work at the USDA at the same grade/step, or do I work at the DOD and go back to a GS-9 with a much more stricter environment? I will lose money either way due to the locality pay but I will gain alot due to the low COL.


My vote: USDA. Good luck with your decision - Congratulations and God Bless!
cyberfx1024  
#14 Posted : Sunday, December 03, 2017 8:22:16 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: GWPDA Go to Quoted Post
It's the sudden two year probation that would decide me. Were I anticipating more than five years to retirement (third time's the charm!) I'd switch agencies so fast it'd make your head swim.


I am switching agencies and series regardless of where I go. So my question to you is where would you go if you had 12 years in the Federal Service; DOD or USDA?
cs79  
#15 Posted : Tuesday, December 05, 2017 3:57:09 AM(UTC)
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I'm with DOD as a CIV and work 4 10s. I can telework for training but the IT work must be done at the location even though it is unclass. There are some that telework 2 days/week since the work they do can be done anywhere, meetings and paperwork. Other groups at the location work 9 hours and every other Friday off. 2 coworkers told me that most DOD places don't allow flexible work schedules and I'm lucky to be able to do it since it's up to the supervisor. They said the command does not normally allow it. Because of the location, they have a hard time finding people so they are more flexible.

I had a TO with USDA but it fell through because of the freeze. They allowed telework and flexible hours. Seems like that USDA position was more laid back than where I'm at now, the project seemed more interesting.

Is that USDA position in Lynchburg, VA? I remember a opening there with USDA a while back.




Originally Posted by: cyberfx1024 Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: GWPDA Go to Quoted Post
It's the sudden two year probation that would decide me. Were I anticipating more than five years to retirement (third time's the charm!) I'd switch agencies so fast it'd make your head swim.


I am switching agencies and series regardless of where I go. So my question to you is where would you go if you had 12 years in the Federal Service; DOD or USDA?


Rikaku  
#16 Posted : Tuesday, December 05, 2017 4:06:08 AM(UTC)

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I’ve worked in several DoD offices over my career and only one, a field office , did not allow AWS and required everyone to work 8 hour days. Flexibility seems to be the norm rather than the exception in my experience .

One thing no one has mentioned yet is the budget and potential cuts. DoD is safer right now than just about any other agency. If given the choice, there is absolutely no way I would choose an agency like USDA over DoD. In addition to being somewhat insulated against budget drama, DoD offers too many other benefits like overseas opportunities, ease of moving around and up, and a plethora of locations to pick from.
cyberfx1024  
#17 Posted : Tuesday, December 05, 2017 6:21:54 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: cs79 Go to Quoted Post

I'm with DOD as a CIV and work 4 10s. I can telework for training but the IT work must be done at the location even though it is unclass. There are some that telework 2 days/week since the work they do can be done anywhere, meetings and paperwork. Other groups at the location work 9 hours and every other Friday off. 2 coworkers told me that most DOD places don't allow flexible work schedules and I'm lucky to be able to do it since it's up to the supervisor. They said the command does not normally allow it. Because of the location, they have a hard time finding people so they are more flexible.

I had a TO with USDA but it fell through because of the freeze. They allowed telework and flexible hours. Seems like that USDA position was more laid back than where I'm at now, the project seemed more interesting.

Is that USDA position in Lynchburg, VA? I remember a opening there with USDA a while back.


Thank you for your input and yes it is that job in Lynchburg.
cyberfx1024  
#18 Posted : Tuesday, December 05, 2017 6:23:18 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: Rikaku Go to Quoted Post
I’ve worked in several DoD offices over my career and only one, a field office , did not allow AWS and required everyone to work 8 hour days. Flexibility seems to be the norm rather than the exception in my experience .

One thing no one has mentioned yet is the budget and potential cuts. DoD is safer right now than just about any other agency. If given the choice, there is absolutely no way I would choose an agency like USDA over DoD. In addition to being somewhat insulated against budget drama, DoD offers too many other benefits like overseas opportunities, ease of moving around and up, and a plethora of locations to pick from.


That is exactly my way of thinking on this. The USDA position looks really good on paper but for career advancement the DOD looks better. I do want to look in the future for moving around within the DOD.
Attempt2  
#19 Posted : Tuesday, December 05, 2017 7:26:22 AM(UTC)
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For DoD career advancement can be good in certain places, Washington DC and remote sites. The main issue with DoD is the old boys network of favoring people with prior military experience. There are far to many hiring official that look at GS position as places to former military member even if they are not qualified; as I have been told multiple times "yes they don't have the skills but they are former military so we can train them."
thanks 1 user thanked Attempt2 for this useful post.
DroneBee on 12/5/2017(UTC)
Rikaku  
#20 Posted : Tuesday, December 05, 2017 5:06:20 PM(UTC)

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The good ole boy system is definitely alive within DoD, but so is it everywhere else. Smaller civilian agencies - especially offices located outside of DC - also suffer from lack of upward mobility due to the few higher ranks being occupied by people with 30+ years with no intention to retire or leave anytime soon.

At least with DoD you have the option to move to where the opportunities are with relative ease. And, if you end up not liking it, a couple of years of DoD experience will open up a lot of doors across the government. The same cannot necessarily be said about USDA.
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