FORT POLK, La. (Jan. 13, 2010) -- Tahee Lowery, spouse of Staff Sgt. Robert Lowery, is the first spouse hired at Fort Polk under Executive Order 13473, Spouse Preference Authority, a new rule that allows some spouses to be hired for federal jobs without going through the usual competitive process.The intended effect of the rule, according to documents listed in the Federal Register, "is to facilitate the entry of military spouses into the federal civil service as part of an effort to recruit and retain skilled and experienced members of the armed forces and to recognize and honor the service of members injured, disabled, or killed in connection with their service.""Military spouse employment is key to the quality of life of our military families," said Donald Mallet, director of the Civilian Personnel Advisory Center. "It's hard to keep a job if you have to move from station to station. Federal employment offers military spouses a portable career with transferable benefits and worldwide presence."This new authority can be used to non-competitively appoint spouses who accompany their military servicemember serving on active duty for 180 days or more to a new permanent duty station; or whose military sponsor retired or was released from active duty and is rated as having a service-connected disability of 100 percent.It can also be used to non-competitively appoint the unmarried widow or widower of a military service member who was killed while serving on active duty.This means that eligible individuals without status may apply directly to agency announcements without having to compete through the external delegated examining process. They now have appointment eligibility.Spouses are eligible for noncompetitive appointment for a maximum period of two years from the date of the servicemember's PCS orders, documentation verifying the servicemember is 100 percent disabled, or documentation that the service member was killed while on active duty.Appointment under this authority may not be made retroactive. Spouses who relocated prior to the implementation of this authority have two years from the date of the PCS orders to use this authority.To receive consideration, a spouse must apply to a job announcement. There is no grade limitation, but the spouse must meet qualification requirements for the position. They may be appointed to temporary, term or permanent positions in the competitive service. This authority may only be used once per PCS move.The Department of Defense has added this authority to the Priority Placement Program S (Military Spouse Preference Program) by Automated Stopper and Referral System (ASARS).Spouses who are eligible under the new authority may register if they are relocating with a sponsor to a new duty station, meet the "well qualified" standard, and are eligible for military spouse preference as prescribed by subchapter 315 of the DoD Civilian Personnel Manual, DoD 1400.25-M.Program S eligibility does not apply retroactively to the spouse and sponsor's most recent permanent change of station move made within the last two years.Spouses on Fort Polk who are interested in additional information or registering in PPP should contact Julia Blas, at 531-1840 to schedule an appointment with an HR specialist at CPAC.