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Training and Development Policy

Questions & Answers about the Information Technology Exchange Program



Administrative Matters.


Legal/Ethical Matters

Agencies are reminded that all applicable laws are listed in the regulations. Follow this link for a quick listing of laws and their titles.

Also, there are detailed restrictions in 18 U.S.C. 207, about the type of activities former Federal employees may participate in. Some of the restrictions are time-limited and some are permanent restrictions.



  1. Must a Federal or private sector employee be an information technology (IT) manager in order to be eligible?

    No. Eligible employees are those who, among other things, work in the field of information technology management. They do not have to hold positions which have managerial or supervisory duties.

  2. What is the minimum grade level eligible for a Federal IT employee to participate? Are there minimum salary rates for private sector employees?

    The minimum grade level for Federal employees is GS-11 (or other equivalent Federal pay grades). There is no minimum salary rate for private sector employees.

  3. Do I have to be in my current Federal position for a minimum period of time before I can participate in this program?

    No. Agencies will determine their procedures for selecting participants.

  4. If I am an unemployed/retired IT worker; can I volunteer my IT expertise to a Federal agency through this program?

    No. The Information Technology Exchange Program (ITEP) is limited by law to current Federal IT employees and current IT employees of private sector organizations.

  5. Does the term "private sector organization" include an academic institution or a non-profit organization?

    No. For the purposes of this program, academic institutions and non-profit organizations are not considered to be private sector organizations. Academic institutions and non-profit organizations are covered under the Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA) which provides for the temporary assignment of personnel between the Federal Government and state and local governments, colleges and universities, Indian tribal governments, Federally funded research and development centers, and other non-profit organizations.

  6. Is Veterans' Preference a factor in determining which Federal employees will be selected for detail under this program?

    No. The Act does not require it and Veterans' Preference does not apply to in-service movement of personnel such as details.

  7. Are agencies required to clear CTAP/ICTAP prior to receiving a private sector employee under this program?

    No. Assignments under this program are details and not appointments. Details are not subject to CTAP/ICTAP restrictions. (In the same way that details made through IPA are not subject to CTAP/ICTAP)

  8. Are private sector organizations located in foreign countries and their employees eligible to participate in this program?

    To be eligible to participate in the Information Technology Exchange Program, any private sector organization must be registered in the Central Contractor Registration Database located at, except as permitted by section 4.1102 of the Federal Acquisition Regulation (this includes foreign private sector organizations). To be eligible for a detail to a Federal agency, a private sector employee must meet citizenship requirements for Federal employment in accordance with 5 CFR 7.3 and 338.101, as well as any other statutory limitation.

  9. How do agencies determine who an "exceptional employee" is?

    As defined in the regulation, exceptional employee means an employee who is rated at the highest levels of the applicable performance appraisal system or, in the case of an employee under an appraisal system that does not have a summary rating level above "fully successful" or equivalent, is rated at the highest summary level used by the performance appraisal system and demonstrates sustained quality performance significantly above that expected in the type of position involved, as determined under performance-related criteria established by the agency.

  10. How are exceptional private sector employees selected for detail to Federal agencies?

    Each agency will establish criteria for accepting exceptional private sector employees.

  11. Can Federal employees self-nominate for the program?

    Yes. Agency plans are required to provide for an employee nomination by his/her organization or self-nomination.

  12. Are selection procedures negotiable with the Union?

    No, the selection procedures are not negotiable. In addition, bargaining unit employees selected for detail under this program are not a part of the unit while on detail.

  13. Are non-career members of the Senior Executive Service (SES) eligible to participate in this program?

    No. Eligibility for members of the SES is limited to those individuals serving under a career appointment.

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Administrative Matters.

  1. Are agencies limited to making one-for-one exchanges with private sector organizations; that is, a direct swap where a Federal employee would be detailed to a private sector company and in turn that company would detail a private sector employee back to the agency?

    No. Federal agencies and private sector organizations will have the flexibility to decide how best to exchange their employees. This ensures that Federal agencies have the flexibility to send their employees to the private sector only, receive private sector employees only, or exchange their employees with the private sector in a one-for-one swap.

  2. How long can details be made under this program?

    Details may be for a period of between three months and one year, and may be extended in 3-month increments for a total of not more than one additional year.

  3. May a Federal employee detailed to a private sector organization use annual leave, sick leave, and holidays according to Federal rules?

    Yes. The process for doing so should be addressed in the written agreement.

  4. What happens to time-related benefits if an employee is detailed under this program?

    Federal employees detailed under this program retain all rights to include time-in-grade, service credit, reduction-in-force, probation, etc.

  5. May individuals detailed to private sector organizations or Federal agencies serve as a supervisor? Who will supervise Federal and private sector employees while on detail?

    Yes, individuals detailed under this program may serve as supervisors. However, supervisory duties must be established/described in the written agreement. Supervision of ITEP detailees will be described in the written agreement as well. Federal employees may be supervised by private sector employees while on detail and private sector employees may be supervised by Federal employees while on detail.

  6. How is the IT Exchange Program different from the "Education with Industry" Program?

    The "Education with Industry" Program is limited to the Department of the Air Force, and it is not restricted to employees in the IT job series. The IT Exchange Program is available on a Governmentwide basis for agencies to use in the development of their employees in the field of information technology.

  7. How can an agency ensure that an employee will return to his or her original job after being detailed to a private sector organization?

    Federal employees that are detailed to a private sector organization under this program are required, by law, to sign a continued service agreement stating that they will return to the Federal Government for a period equal to that of the detail, to include extensions. Agencies may invoke collection procedures if they don't return.

  8. How will penalties for employees who fail to honor the requirement to return to their agency be assessed?

    Failure to return could result in the Federal employee being obligated, as provided for in 5 U.S.C. 5514 to reimburse the Government for all costs associated with the detail.

  9. Do Federal employees maintain grade and pay during this time period?

    Yes. Federal employees detailed under the IT Exchange Program are treated the same as any other Federal employee serving on detail; i.e. position of record does not change, employee is not in a leave without pay status, etc.

  10. Will detailees be required to sign an agreement before being detailed?

    Yes. The written agreement is a three-way agreement between the employee (Federal or private), the agency, and the private sector organization. The written agreement will address items such as duties to be performed, duration of detail, supervision, etc.

  11. Where can employees obtain more information about this program?

    In addition to the information on OPM's website, agencies that choose to use the program will announce details, including eligibility requirements, to all eligible employees.

  12. What is the goal of the IT exchange program?

    The broad goal is to improve IT skills and competencies across the Federal Government. Each agency may use the program to meet its specific IT needs.

  13. Who will be paying the Federal employee while on detail to a private sector organization?

    Federal employees on detail to private sector organizations under this program remain Federal employees and are paid by their agencies. However, private sector organizations may reimburse agencies for all or part of a Federal employee's salary during the detail.

  14. Will detailed employees remain Federal employees without loss of employee rights and benefits attached to that status?

    Yes. Federal employees will retain all employee rights to include scheduled pay adjustments (for example, pay adjustments, locality pay, within-grade increases, as applicable, etc.)

  15. Are private sector organizations required to give Federal agencies periodic feedback or progress reports regarding the Federal employee's performance in the private sector organization?

    Although it is not required, agencies wishing to receive feedback and progress reports should address this requirement and the reporting method in the written agreement.

  16. Can details be terminated early?

    Yes. Details may be terminated by the Federal agency (agency head or designee) or the private sector organization for any reason at any time.

  17. Where can Federal agencies find information to ensure that those agencies detailing five or more Federal IT employees to the private sector are detailing 20 percent of those detailees to small business concerns?

    Federal agencies can find information on the Small Business Administration's (SBA) website at

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  1. How will private sector employees get security clearances and who will pay for them?

    Whether security clearances are required and who will pay for them needs to be worked out between the Federal agency and the private sector organization and addressed in the written agreement.

  2. Who is responsible for paying for training for the Federal or private sector employees while on a detail?

    Costs associated with any training for the detailee will be addressed in advance in the written agreement. Either the Federal agency or private sector organization may pay the full cost, or both may share the cost of training.

  3. Who will pay the cost of any travel, transportation, lodging, or relocation associated with a detail?

    All costs associated with the detail will be addressed in advance through the written agreement. Either the Federal agency or private sector organization may pay the full cost, or both may share the cost.

  4. Is it true that if an agency seeks an experienced IT professional from the private sector for a detail, the agency cannot pay the individual?

    Yes, that is correct. The individual is on detail and is not the agency's employee. The agency may reimburse the private sector organization (not the individual) for pay or benefits, if they choose as in a reimbursable detail, but this should be addressed in the written agreement.

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Legal/Ethical Matters

  1. Do ethics statutes apply to Federal employees while on detail to the private sector?

    Yes. Any law or provision that applies to Federal employees prior to a detail continues during the detail because they are still Federal employees.

  2. Are ethics statutes applied to private sector employees on detail to Federal agencies?

    Yes. Private sector employees detailed to Federal agencies under this program are deemed to be Federal employees for the purpose of ethics, as well as other statutes that are cited in the regulations.

  3. What restrictions are in place to prevent private sector organizations from using this program to gain unfair contracting advantages?

    The restrictions placed on the individual are identified in the laws cited in section 370.106(b)(1). The laws prohibit the private sector detailee from sharing confidential or contract-related information, as if he or she were a former Federal employee.

  4. Are agencies' legal counsels required to review each written agreement?

    Review by counsel is not required but may be advisable. Agencies may determine how best to ensure their written agreements meet the ethical and legal requirements of the regulations.

  5. Does OPM have to review an agency's written agreement prior to that agency using this program?

    No. OPM will not review agencies' written agreements.

  6. Are Federal or private sector detailees required to sign non-disclosure agreements?

    No. Non-disclosure agreements are not necessary because 18 U.S.C. 1905 prohibits Federal employees and private sector employees on detail to the Federal Government from releasing confidential information and contains specific restrictions that could potentially conflict with a non-disclosure agreement.

  7. Is there a provision to prevent participating Federal employees from being hired by the private sector organization for some set period of time after the employee leaves Federal service?

    There are a number of statutes incorporated by reference into the ITEP program that address restrictions placed on former Federal employees. For example, among other things, 41 U.S.C. 423 (section 27 of Office of Federal Procurement Policy Act) sets out the prohibitions on a former Federal official accepting compensation from a Federal contractor.

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  1. Are contractors, working in or for Federal agencies, permitted to participate in the program?

    Details from Federal agencies to private sector organizations are authorized for Federal employees, not contractors. However, contractors are private sector organizations and may participate in this program by detailing their private sector employees to a Federal agency or by accepting a detailed Federal employee.

  2. Is there a requirement for a private sector organization to disclose contract information with the Government before providing or accepting a detailee?

    Agency legal counsel should be consulted to determine if disclosure of contract information is required.

  3. How will an agency know whether any non-public information will be of "commercial value" to the organization from which the private sector detailee is assigned?

    Agencies will need to evaluate this on a case-by-case basis.

  4. Are private sector organizations that are in competition for agency IT procurement contracts prohibited from receiving a detailed Federal employee?

    This is addressed by provisions such as 41 U.S.C. 423 (section 27 of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy Act) which describes restrictions on disclosing and obtaining contractor bid or proposal information and source selection information and 18 U.S.C. 1905 which contains the disclosure of confidential information. Agencies should consult their legal counsel for advice concerning the application of these laws.

  5. Are Federal employees who have participated in details under this program prohibited from participating in evaluation, review, or selection activities where the private sector organization to which the Federal employee was detailed is competing?

    There is no prohibition against a Federal employee who has formerly been detailed to a private sector organization from being part of an evaluation, review, or selection process for a contract action where that organization is competing, as long as he or she is acting within the confines of the law. This is addressed by all of the applicable laws incorporated within this statute, particularly the ones that prohibit an employee from accepting or seeking compensation or anything of value in exchange for an official act (18 U.S.C. 201, 203), or otherwise acting in a manner to further a personal financial interest (18 U.S.C. 208).

  6. Where is the guidance on private sector detailee's involvement in contracts involving their organization or their organization's competitors?

    Guidance is provided in relevant laws incorporated into the implementing statute, for example, 41 U.S.C. 423 and 18 U.S.C. 1905. Provisions such as 41 U.S.C. 423 (section 27 of the OFPPA) which details restrictions on disclosing and obtaining contractor bid or proposal information and source selection information and 18 U.S.C. 1905 which details the disclosure of confidential information address these issues.

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