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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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icanzz  
#1 Posted : Thursday, June 18, 2020 1:34:55 PM(UTC)
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Anyone ever applied for position from one Foriegn area to another? LQA requires you be recruited from CONUS. But say your in Japan G12 and want to apply for GS13 in Korea? Do you retain LQA?
FatHappyCat  
#2 Posted : Thursday, June 18, 2020 1:43:07 PM(UTC)

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Technically no. However for OCONUS to OCONUS move the first question you ask is, "Will you honor the transportation agreement that I signed with my current command?" Your transportation agreement stipulates all the benefits they you have overseas.

I went from Japan to Germany and it would be a non-starter if they did not honor my current transportation agreement.
LilBits  
#3 Posted : Saturday, June 20, 2020 2:50:00 AM(UTC)
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As long as the position has LQA funding and you currently receive LQA you are good to go!
2010 I was offered an Oconus position in Germany authorized LQA.
2012 accepted position in Asia and moved (different DOD service) authorized LQA.
2014 accepted Position in Germany (different DOD service) authorized LQA .
2016 accepted a Position in Asia (different DOD service) authorized LQA.
CivSer67  
#4 Posted : Tuesday, June 23, 2020 9:18:57 PM(UTC)
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For the record, LQA is again on the table to be done away with in Germany. They wish to replace it with the DC rate locality pay which would then be taxable.
LilBits  
#5 Posted : Tuesday, June 23, 2020 9:35:54 PM(UTC)
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CivSer67, I have read posts and heard rumors of this and similar LQA changes in the last 15 years, I could never find anything/source to verify validity of it. It makes me skeptical .... Can you please post a verifiable links of proof it’s on the table? Thanks!

Edited by user Tuesday, June 23, 2020 9:37:44 PM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

Al329  
#6 Posted : Saturday, June 27, 2020 6:17:17 AM(UTC)
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I’d be ok with the LQA change to DC locality.

Stop all the needless recalculations.

Plus would mean the higher pay counts towards my high three.
DaVinci95  
#7 Posted : Saturday, June 27, 2020 9:50:36 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: Al329 Go to Quoted Post
I’d be ok with the LQA change to DC locality.

Stop all the needless recalculations.

Plus would mean the higher pay counts towards my high three.


Depends on what housing costs in the area. On Okinawa, our rent was $3,000 to $4,000 per month, depending on the exchange rate. I don’t know how much of that was based on demand and how much was based landlords knowing what the LQA limits were. But DC locality wouldn’t cover that. In fact, when we moved from Okinawa to DC (Northern Virginia) it was like taking a $15,000 pay cut.
Al329  
#8 Posted : Sunday, June 28, 2020 11:36:33 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: DaVinci95 Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: Al329 Go to Quoted Post
I’d be ok with the LQA change to DC locality.

Stop all the needless recalculations.

Plus would mean the higher pay counts towards my high three.


Depends on what housing costs in the area. On Okinawa, our rent was $3,000 to $4,000 per month, depending on the exchange rate. I don’t know how much of that was based on demand and how much was based landlords knowing what the LQA limits were. But DC locality wouldn’t cover that. In fact, when we moved from Okinawa to DC (Northern Virginia) it was like taking a $15,000 pay cut.


Agreed. Hard to tell what rent would be without landlords knowing the LQA rates. Personally I know I was paying more in rent that any German would pay. And last three occupants of the house were Americans.. and after I left.. another American.

But I would still say do away with LQA and get DC locality.

One, it would save a lot of needless paperwork, do away with the whole LQA cell disaster.

Two, the increase in pay would count towards retirement.

Three, it would stop a lot of waste. I have known plenty who max out the LQA just because. Two person family in a 6 bedroom house .. sure I'm not paying for it. Electric heaters in the garage in the winter .. sure I'm not paying the bill.

And finally, stops this whole you were hired locally... no LQA for you BS. If your GS overseas.. you get DC pay scale.


Endless Summer  
#9 Posted : Monday, June 29, 2020 12:23:01 AM(UTC)
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The LQA situation in Korea is nuts. I don't know how it compares to other countries.

LQA here is paid in a lump sum based on 12 months rent for the apartment you choose. You pay the landlord up front for the year. So, yeah, I found myself in the realtor's office handing over $27k in cash, not checks or transfers accepted, and hoping that the landlord didn't invest it all in beanie babies. Got real interesting when I had to leave early and needed to claw back about $17k of that. Again, hoping that the landlord could get her hands on it.

As a single guy, it was impossible to get the realtor to show me a 1 or 2 bedroom apt. Everything was a 4 bedroom apt. So here i sit in a 2,500 sq ft 4 bedroom apt by myself.
Al329  
#10 Posted : Monday, June 29, 2020 12:54:02 AM(UTC)
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Wow that is crazy!

I only have experience with LQA in England and Germany. Both were handled the same.

Rent a place
Provide your lease and estimate the electric and water cost.
After 13 months, reconcile the payments with the actual expenses.
LQA rate adjust to that amount.

I personally have know two people who received debt letters years later, saying they recalculated their LQA payments and determined they had been overpaid. One letter said my friend had been overpaid and owed the gov 8k. And only way he got outta it.. .he happen to still have all the copies of bills for the 7 years of LQA... from 6 years prior!

So yeah .. keep copies of everything.

That or hey .. just pay us DC rate. Sure it would be less that LQA .. but it would be my money to do with as I see fit. Live in a shoe box .. ok .. live above my means .. well thats ok too. ;)
FatHappyCat  
#11 Posted : Monday, June 29, 2020 4:20:02 AM(UTC)

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Originally Posted by: Al329 Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: DaVinci95 Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: Al329 Go to Quoted Post
I’d be ok with the LQA change to DC locality.

Stop all the needless recalculations.

Plus would mean the higher pay counts towards my high three.


Depends on what housing costs in the area. On Okinawa, our rent was $3,000 to $4,000 per month, depending on the exchange rate. I don’t know how much of that was based on demand and how much was based landlords knowing what the LQA limits were. But DC locality wouldn’t cover that. In fact, when we moved from Okinawa to DC (Northern Virginia) it was like taking a $15,000 pay cut.


Agreed. Hard to tell what rent would be without landlords knowing the LQA rates. Personally I know I was paying more in rent that any German would pay. And last three occupants of the house were Americans.. and after I left.. another American.

But I would still say do away with LQA and get DC locality.

One, it would save a lot of needless paperwork, do away with the whole LQA cell disaster.

Two, the increase in pay would count towards retirement.

Three, it would stop a lot of waste. I have known plenty who max out the LQA just because. Two person family in a 6 bedroom house .. sure I'm not paying for it. Electric heaters in the garage in the winter .. sure I'm not paying the bill.

And finally, stops this whole you were hired locally... no LQA for you BS. If your GS overseas.. you get DC pay scale.




Without commenting on the merits or shortcomings of LQA, I'd be certain that there would be much less people going overseas if LQA was replaced with DC locality rates. For starters, DC locality rate is calculated based on, surprise!, the increased cost of living in DC. It certainly wouldn't work for all overseas location.

Second - most people except the high 14s and up, do SIGNIFICANTLY better with LQA over locality pay. I'd gladly get some heartburn with paperwork to get higher take-home pay AND lower taxes.

And yes - a lot of people game LQA, but that's a problem with people, not the system.
Al329  
#12 Posted : Monday, June 29, 2020 6:29:34 AM(UTC)
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Yes I understand DC rate is based on DC. I would assume they would use DC due to the high locality and be easier than trying to calculate rates for every over seas post.

Less people applying for jobs.. GREAT! I see 200 plus applications for every open slot in my unit.

With taking any job, you have to take into account the rents in the area and all that before you put in. Most in my unit are ex military with German wives. They will put in for any and all jobs over here.. no problem.

Do away with LQA ... and the five year rule while at it!

RVRGRL  
#13 Posted : Monday, June 29, 2020 11:52:41 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: Al329 Go to Quoted Post


Less people applying for jobs.. GREAT! I see 200 plus applications for every open slot in my unit.

With taking any job, you have to take into account the rents in the area and all that before you put in. Most in my unit are ex military with German wives. They will put in for any and all jobs over here.. no problem.

Do away with LQA ... and the five year rule while at it!



I have mixed thoughts on this, but overall I think both LQA and the 5 year rule should stay (maybe make it a little easier to stay beyond 5 years, but still require return).

Our office rarely gets more than a couple people on the hiring cert (tons apply, few make the cert)--and we get enough "qualified" we can't call it a hard to fill location (everyone wants to go to Europe!). We're pretty specialized for the DoD. If I go back to the states I have only two locations this type of job is done, neither of which is where I'd want to be and even if I did, openings are even rarer since they don't have to move. But we're not a hard to fill location in the EU (and technically there's engineering positions everywhere) so 5 yr rule is enforced, so doing away with LQA may hurt drastically when it's no longer one of the benefits to tempt the few people with the right qualifications to this very small subset of the DoD engineering world. Needless to say, when I head back stateside, I probably won't be doing this type job anymore :'(

The 5 yr rule got me here--and it's problematic when most of our few positions transfer out every 3 yrs, even if they stay in Europe (high ops tempo, burns you out)--but if they didn't transfer out, there'd be little to no option to get to Europe--we have only one "home" location for this job in Europe. What tempted me for this job was first the subset of engineering, and the fact I get to travel all over Europe for work, but mostly because I DON'T have to stay! We'd probably see nearly as much turn over--and I actually love this job. However it's exhausting, last summer I was home all of two days with way too much overtime. And work hasn't gotten any less intense with COVID.

On the opposite spectrum, overall I'd love it if the technicians could stay! No need to train them, no need to also be the technician; many, probably 100s of people on the certs, lots of choices, and local hires that want to stay! Except this year the 5 year rule is helping us transition out an employee that really just needs to go do something different.

I know I may be discussing exceptions; however when considering changes, reasons such as why LQA and the 5 year rule were put into place initially, and some of the impacts it can have should be taken into consideration. Maybe the answer looks like revocation is appropriate, but maybe it also looks like changes in how LQA is applied/processed, or adding a couple exceptions to the 5 yr rule.
CivSer67  
#14 Posted : Tuesday, June 30, 2020 4:18:41 AM(UTC)
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The 5 year rule is archaic and needs to be done away with. It was designed in the 60's with the Cold War in full speed and all the issues that came with it. They are now gone. Let people who want to stay overseas stay there. I mean i cannot force anyone out of a CONUS position, so that saying of give someone else a chance is BS. Everyone has an equal opportunity to come to Europe. the LQA change will definitely hurt those who own homes, but DC locality will only help if your retiring out of here.
Al329  
#15 Posted : Tuesday, June 30, 2020 10:49:27 PM(UTC)
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Agreed 5 year rule needs to go. I see units getting around it by hiring Term positions now. Person hits 7 .. then moves into a Term position NTE 8 years.

I do not agree that LQA will hurt home owners. LQA for a private residence runs out at 10 years. DC pay scale would continue indefinitely. Rotating back to the states resets the 5 year rule, not the 10 year LQA rule for a private home. So in the end... DC pay would mean a higher paycheck for the entire OCONUS career.
Al329  
#16 Posted : Tuesday, June 30, 2020 11:04:20 PM(UTC)
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I can imagine a unit wanting to be able to get rid of people utilizing the 5 year rule.

Only wish they allowed commanders on the ground to be able to authorize an OTEX 5-7, 7-9 and on and on.

If you are a good employee...they should be allowed to keep you.


CivSer67  
#17 Posted : Tuesday, June 30, 2020 11:33:02 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: Al329 Go to Quoted Post
Agreed 5 year rule needs to go. I see units getting around it by hiring Term positions now. Person hits 7 .. then moves into a Term position NTE 8 years.

I do not agree that LQA will hurt home owners. LQA for a private residence runs out at 10 years. DC pay scale would continue indefinitely. Rotating back to the states resets the 5 year rule, not the 10 year LQA rule for a private home. So in the end... DC pay would mean a higher paycheck for the entire OCONUS career.


Who said it runs out at 10? I have employees still receiving theirs. One is at 13 years, the other at 11. I know teachers here that have had LQA for more than 20 years.
Endless Summer  
#18 Posted : Wednesday, July 1, 2020 12:21:12 AM(UTC)
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I can agree the 5 year rule needs to be rethought. Just like within the DoD where OCONUS Commanders are rotated out every three years. It makes no sense from a continuity standpoint.

What I've seen is a new CO coming in and wanting to put his/her stamp on things. Frequently changing things just for the sake of changing them. Similar thing with the civilian employees. If someone is good at their job, let them keep it.
Al329  
#19 Posted : Wednesday, July 1, 2020 1:06:43 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: CivSer67 Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: Al329 Go to Quoted Post
Agreed 5 year rule needs to go. I see units getting around it by hiring Term positions now. Person hits 7 .. then moves into a Term position NTE 8 years.

I do not agree that LQA will hurt home owners. LQA for a private residence runs out at 10 years. DC pay scale would continue indefinitely. Rotating back to the states resets the 5 year rule, not the 10 year LQA rule for a private home. So in the end... DC pay would mean a higher paycheck for the entire OCONUS career.


Who said it runs out at 10? I have employees still receiving theirs. One is at 13 years, the other at 11. I know teachers here that have had LQA for more than 20 years.



After 10 years ... you will only receive utility expenses... they will not pay for your house.

https://aoprals.state.go...nt_id=241&menu_id=75

136 Personally Owned Quarters



a. When quarters occupied by an employee are owned by the employee or the spouse, or both, or by the employee or the domestic partner, or both, an amount up to 10 percent of original purchase price (converted to U.S. dollars at original exchange rate) of such quarters shall be considered the annual rate of his/her estimated expenses for rent. Only the expenses for heat, light, fuel, (including gas and electricity), water, garbage and trash disposal and in rare cases land rent, may be added to determine the amount of the employee's quarters allowance in accordance with Section 134. The amount of the rental portion of the allowance (up to 10 percent of purchase price) is limited to a period not to exceed ten years at which time the employee will be entitled only to above utility expenses, garbage and trash disposal, plus land rent.

Edited by user Wednesday, July 1, 2020 1:12:31 AM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

CivSer67  
#20 Posted : Wednesday, July 1, 2020 1:25:00 AM(UTC)
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I am DOS and that rule is not enforced in Germany!
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