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Defense Innovation Board recommends Defense Digital Service model for remote work and tech talent recruitment to Department of Defense

At its quarterly public meeting on Tuesday, September 15, the Defense Innovation Board (DIB) recommended the Department of Defense (DoD) take note of guidance pulled from the Defense Digital Service (DDS) playbook, “Break the Code,” for how to attract and retain civilian workers with specialized skills in digital technologies.

DIB, a committee of private-sector experts, provides recommendations from an industry and academic perspective to the DoD and its military services.

Like many recent events across the DoD, this quarterly meeting was conducted virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The DIB Workforce, Behavior, and Culture subcommittee led a discussion on how new norms like remote work reinforced by the pandemic have impacted the Department.

Jennifer Palkha, subcommittee chair and Executive Director of Code for America called DDS a "bright spot for productivity in this new world."

"They have seen staff able to really deliver on mission,” she said. “They're seeing increases in their own productivity.”

The DDS team transitioned to all-remote work in compliance with public health safety recommendations in March of 2020. Since then, the team has remotely onboarded 30 new employees.

Palkha encouraged Department leadership to consider standardizing and integrating remote work to improve recruitment and retention of technical talent.

The Board unanimously approved an addendum based on DDS's best practices and tools for technical talent recruitment and remote work culture.

DDS will be breaking down its playbook, “Break the Code,” in a forthcoming series of biweekly posts highlighting tips and tricks to attract top tech talent on dds.mil. Stay tuned!