Military veterans are facing difficulties when finding jobs after leaving active duty. In November 2009, President Barack Obama signed into effect Executive Order 13518 to establish a hiring initiative to recruit more veterans in the federal government. As a result, the employment opportunities of veterans improved as the number of veterans increased in the federal workforce. However, data from 2008 to 2012 revealed that the number of veterans leaving federal civil service was at the same level as the number of hires (Partnership of Public Service, 2014). According to Rein (2015), veterans who find employment in the federal civil service leave their job within two years of being hired. The reason is connected to a significant number of veterans who are struggling in their transition to their new workplace (Schafer, Swick, Kidder, & Carter, 2016). This study used Schlossberg’s transition theory to assess the transition of veterans from the military. The transition theory is a framework consisting of four factors: Self, Situation, Support, and Strategy. The literature studies about the transition of military veterans are focused mainly on the factors of Self (the identity of veterans), and Situation (the challenges of veterans when transitioning). There is a lack of studies in supporting veterans as well as creating strategies for their retention and integration after obtaining employment. The purpose of this descriptive qualitative study was to interview military veterans with leadership status in the federal civil service. The aim was to examine and learn from their experience to develop strategies for the retention of newly hired veterans. Ten military veterans with a leadership position and a minimum of five years of work experience in the federal government participated in the study. Interview questions were derived from the Appreciative Inquiry method. Results of the data collected revealed that veterans have a profound public service outlook, which is why they joined the federal civil service. Conversely, veterans wanted federal leaders to value and recognize their military experience as well as to support their professional career. Additionally, the participants in this study provided advice to veterans who want to work for the federal government.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (EdD) -- Organizational leadership; Veterans -- Employment -- United States -- Case studies; Civil service -- Veterans' preference; Veteran reintegration -- Case studies

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Sparks, Paul;