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News Release

Wednesday, June 02, 2004
Contact: Brenda Bertrand
Tel: 202-606-2402

OPM Expedites Approval of Direct-Hire Flexibilities to Department of Homeland Security to Fill Critical Positions

OPM Director's efforts to fix hiring process leads to swift direct-hire authority approval for seven federal agencies

Washington, D.C. -- U.S. Office of Personnel Management Director Kay Coles James continues to expedite the hiring process by approving direct-hire authority to federal agencies.  James has granted the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) flexibility to hire 490 critical positions that perform intelligence activities and functions related to the agency's national security mission in the Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection (IAIP) Directorate and the Office of Security.

Ron James, Chief Human Capital Officer at the Department of Homeland Security said, "I want to thank Kay Coles James for her leadership and commitment to improving the Federal hiring process.  By granting DHS the "direct hire authority" in specific areas, OPM has paved the way for us to quickly bring on board the additional intelligence and security staff we need to carry out our mission of securing the Homeland."

Director James, operating under OPM regulations 5 CFR 337.205, granted DHS the use of direct-hire authority for intelligence research and operations specialists, and security specialists, as well as for telecommunications specialists and various interdisciplinary and specialist positions that serve as critical support to intelligence activities and functions in IAIP.

"Our nation's security is dependent on filling critical vacancies with highly qualified experts," James said.  "My goal is to remove any obstacles in the hiring process. The direct-hire authority granted will better equip DHS and all agencies to acquire, develop, manage and retain the specialized, expert, high-performing work force that is needed to keep our nation secure."

OPM Director James has also recently granted direct-hire flexibilities to the Department of Health and Human Service's Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Energy, the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight, and the Department of Justice.  OPM may grant a direct-hire authority on the basis of a severe shortage of candidates or because of a critical mission need.  

OPM will review the use of the direct-hire authority to ensure it is being used properly. 

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OPM leads and serves the Federal Government in enterprise human resources management by delivering policies and services to achieve a trusted, effective civilian workforce. By Empowering Excellence in Government through Great People, we provide leadership and support to U.S. agencies on issues including human resources policy and oversight, background investigations, federal employee benefits, retirement services, guidance on labor-management relations, and programs to improve workforce performance. For more information, visit or follow OPM on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.

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