Operation Warfighter (OWF)

Operation Warfighter (OWF) is a temporary assignment/internship program developed by the Department of Defense (DoD) for Recovering Service Members (RSM) that are convalescing at military treatment facilities throughout the United States. The program provides recuperating service members with meaningful activity outside of the hospital environment and offers a formal means of transition back to the military or civilian workforce.

OWF is a great opportunity for service members on medical hold to build their resumes, explore employment interests, develop job skills, and gain valuable federal government work experience to help them prepare for their adjustment to the workplace.

Participants must be American citizens who are on active duty in the military (including the National Guard and Reserves). They must also fulfill the security clearance requirements set by the office where they intend to work.

The Department of the Interior welcomes these individuals to the Department. Based on their skills, expertise, and interest, Warfighters are placed in host offices and assigned a supervisor and a mentor. Host offices are available in many areas of the Department including human resources, security, operations, and administration.


The Warfighter Experience at the Department

Pre-Employment Documents

Once you are selected to become a Warfighter, your manager will start processing your appointment. You will be asked to complete pre-employment documents, including the Department's security background investigation. The duration of the security clearance process depends on your particular background. Please note, if you have significant foreign travel, and/or foreign relatives or contacts, the security clearance process can be more involved.


You will be assigned a mentor to assist you with in-processing logistics throughout your assignment. Your mentor is available to orient you to your specific office and the department, provide guidance on how to perform your specific work duties, and answer questions you may have.

Duty Schedules

Duty schedules for OWF participants are determined by your treatment schedule. This flexibility accommodates your medical treatment and is designed to support your well-being and recuperation. You will work about 20 hours per week throughout your assignment, depending on your availability. The DoD OWF Initiative will provide transportation to and from your temporary assignment site at no cost to you.

Length of Assignment

The length of your assignment is also determined by your unique recuperation status. The average length of an assignment is 3-5 months. During your assignment, you may be asked to take training to enhance your existing skills and/or learn new skills.

Future Employment

While there is no guarantee of employment following the completion of an OWF assignment, service members released from medical hold status are considered potential candidates for full-time employment with the Department pending separation from the military.

The Department Benefits from Warfighter Service

While the Warfighter gets the benefits described above, the program simultaneously enables the Department to avail itself of the considerable talent and dedication of these recuperating service members. Since the service members are still receiving their military salaries, they are not compensated by the Department and there is no cost to the Department for bringing a Warfighter onboard.

In fact, the Department of Defense Computer/Electronics Accommodation Program provides all reasonable accommodations to OWFs on assignment to federal agencies. This includes electronic equipment, transportation, sign language interpreter services, etc.

Become a Warfighter

The first step of the OWF process is to obtain “medical and command approval” from the RSMs primary care manager and chain of command. Once an RSM is determined to be ready to participate, a Regional Coordinator assists the individual in identifying an internship opportunity based on their interests and capabilities. 

Once a placement is agreed upon, the OWF Regional Coordinator works with the RSM and the agency to obtain necessary onboarding requirements and workplace accommodations. 

Operation Warfighter program flow chart

Questions concerning the OWF Initiative can be directed to the designated DOI Bureau/Office Veteran Employment Coordinator.   


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