Advisory 17-01 February 14, 2017

  1. President's National Emergency Exception No longer Available.

    Effective December 23, 2016, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017, section 1111, Public Law 114-328 repealed the National Emergency provision previously found at subparagraph (b)(3) of 5 U.S.C. § 3326. Previous Presidents have declared a state of National Emergency each year, since 2001, effectively enabling DoD to hire military retirees immediately upon separation. The practical effect of the repeal is that, unless the exceptions at subparagraphs (b)(1) or (b)(2) apply, there is once again a 180 day waiting period before a retired military member is eligible for a civilian position at DoD. Please note that this is a civilian personnel issue and NOT an ethics issue. Inquiries should be directed to the cognizant civilian personnel office.

  2. Change in the Minimal Value

    On January 12, 2017, the General Services Administration published a notice which increased the "minimal value" for purposes of accepting gifts from foreign governments under the Foreign Gifts and Decorations Act from $375 to $390 retroactive to January 1, 2017. The notice is found here.

  3. Determining Reasonable Costs Under JER 3-211.a(7).

    Update of the "reasonable attendance fee" for DoD employees to attend a conference where DoD personnel will be speaking as outlined in JER 3-211(a)(7). Per previously determined practice, the reasonable attendance fee is adjusted every three years by the same percentage increase/decrease in the "minimal value" amount established by GSA under the Foreign Gifts and Decorations Act (FGDA). As reported above in item 2, GSA announced that the "minimal value" for purposes of the FGDA has increased. Accordingly, the reasonable per day attendance fee for purposes of JER 3-211(a)(7) is now $759.

  4. Reminders of Important Ethics Dates.

    OGE provides a handy list of important due dates for various ethics documents that may be found here.

  5. New pay thresholds for 2017.
    • The statutory threshold to determine who files Public Financial Disclosure Reports is $124,406.40 (120% of the minimum rate of basic pay for a General Schedule 15).

    • The outside earned income restrictions for certain covered noncareer employees is $27,765.00 (15% of the annual rate of basic pay for level II of the Executive Schedule.

    • The statutory threshold to determine which employees are subject to the post-employment conflict of interest restrictions of 18 U.S.C. § 207(c)(1) ("senior" employees) is $161,755.00 (86.5% of a level II of the Executive Schedule).

  6. The $25K list and the Top 10 Defense Contractor Listing.

    The most current listing of contractors, who received payments from the Department of Defense of $25,000 or more in 2016, is now posted on the SOCO web site in the Ethics Resource Library, "DoD contractors exceeding $25,000" here. The listing of the top 10 defense contractors by value of contracts is now posted on the SOCO web site in the Ethics Resource Library here. Remember this is not an exhaustive list of DoD prohibited sources, since it is limited to contractors, and does not, for example, include grant recipients or entities seeking to do business with DoD, or entities that have contracts with DoD of less than $25,000.


DISCLAIMER: The purpose of this advisory is to disseminate relevant information and sources of general guidance, policy and law on Government Ethics issues to the Department of Defense ethics community. Advisories are not intended to be and should not be cited as authoritative guidance, DoD policy, or law.