news | 21 April 2022

Transforming DoD’s Access to Talent

“We’re building a 21st century human capital management plan to ensure we get the best talent our nation has to offer. Our leaders and teams will embrace diversity and inclusion as a key element of readiness and lethality. We will get this right from day one.”
- Gen Raymond, Chief of Staff, United States Space Force

In this era of Great Power competition, accessing talent is critical to maintaining our strategic advantage. The Department of Defense (DoD) is in a never-ending struggle to recruit and retain top talent. The highly agile, networked, diverse, and inclusive U.S. Military of the future will demand a flexible system that can better leverage the variety of experiences, special skills, and exceptional potential of our personnel, both full-time and part-time.

Personnel serving in our nation’s Reserve and National Guard units are highly-skilled across a variety of private sector industries and have the potential to make substantial contributions to DoD missions. Currently, however, the talent and expertise embedded in these units is undiscoverable and, therefore, underutilized by traditional talent identification processes. As a result, we must provide tailored, flexible, and unique talent management tools that can allow the DoD to operate at a pace equal to or faster than the rate of change. Increasing the visibility of Reserve and Guard personnel who possess specialized skills, unique experiences, and high potential will enable the Department to better meet its strategic objectives.

Enter GigEagle.

The Defense Innovation Unit (DIU)’s GigEagle project aims to revolutionize talent management in the DoD by leveraging top talent on-demand. GigEagle will initially prototype a completely new way to optimize and engage talented Reserve and Guard personnel. GigEagle will increase DoD’s ability to fluidly and effectively leverage its abundance of talent that is currently locked into supporting singular units. GigEagle will focus on staffing short-term “gig” project needs, ranging from four hours to several months in duration, many of which can be staffed remotely.

“We are in a war for talent. . . . We appreciate the flexibilities Congress has given us to attract talent where we need it.  We are leveraging those authorities and will continue to challenge convention to ensure that we have the talent we need within the resources made available to us.”
- Gen Brown,  Chief of Staff, United States Air Force

Gig Eagle is a talent matching platform that allows interested DoD Reservists and Guard members to build profiles that highlight their civilian expertise and find short-term work within the DoD. By employing AI/ML methodologies, reservist profiles will be automatically matched to open requirements posted by DoD organizations needing specialty skills. The goal is to make finding and deploying suitable resources to meet specific needs as frictionless as possible. AI/ML algorithms will identify the right service members to serve in specific positions based on rare and valuable skill sets and/or unique expertise or experiences from the civilian world.

“GigEagle has the potential to revolutionize how the Department thinks about talent management,” said Scott Sumner, GigEagle project manager and DIU contractor. “Our initial prototype on leveraging the expertise of National Guard and Reservists to help provide the skills needed for short-term DoD efforts will be instructive on how we use talent for the future.”

More information about GigEagle and how you can access it to leverage will be provided in the coming months on this site. In the meantime, we have answers to some of the questions you have.

Initial Q&A

Accessing GIG Eagle: Currently, the platform is by invitation-only. You may express your interest in participating in prototype platform testing by filling out this Gig Eagle Interest Form.

Timeline: Starting in mid-2022, initial user cohorts consisting of select members of the six service branches will conduct platform testing. The platform backbone is a SaaS offering.

Pay & Compensation: Projects will be funded using traditional channels, such as orders (ex: ADOS), drill periods (ex: IDTs, ATPs), points-only. The gig manager must specify what form(s) of compensation apply to the gig. All funding is currently handled off-platform.

Remote Work & Duty Status: Gigs may be performed on-site, remotely, some combination of both, as specified by the gig manager. The GigEagle team is seeking a variety of exceptions to policy (EPTs) related to DoD pay and duty statuses for the benefit of the service branches that feel they are needed for broad participation in the program.

Initial DoD Areas of Interest: DoD has a demand for subject matter expertise, including: Artificial Intelligence, Information Technology, Human Systems, Autonomy, and Space.

Platform Focus: GigEagle’s main focus is on talent matching – filling DoD gig managers’ needs (demand) with reservists’ expertise (supply). GigEagle is not envisioned to be a human resource system, a personnel system, a payment system, or a billeting system. Many tertiary aspects of doing gig work will still be accomplished via existing legacy military systems, or integrated into future versions of GigEagle.

Platform Roadmap: The first iteration of Gig Eagle will focus on the Reserve and National Guard components. In due course, GigEagle could expand the talent pool to select active-duty members, civilians, and other DoD personnel. Eventually, the talent pool may expand beyond existing DoD employees, opening up incredible access to the world’s best non-DoD talent.

Benefit to DoD: GigEagle will increase mission effectiveness while unlocking the talents of 1 million reservists (including 200,000 IRR members) and accessing always-on innovators (ex: entrepreneurs, engineers, academics). Additionally, Gig Eagle has the potential to generate significant cost savings, accelerate workforce development (e.g. attract, retain, educate, and train the future workforce), promote inclusion, and decrease the need for travel and geographic limitations on talent.