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Personnel Types

Below are a list of some of the most common types of personnel terms used by the Department of Commerce.


An individual appointed or elected to a position in or under the executive, legislative, or judicial branch of the United States Government, as defined at 5 U.S.C. § 8901 and includes Government-owned or controlled corporations.

  • Consultant

A “consultant” is someone who per 5 CFR § 304.102(b) “can provide valuable and pertinent advice generally drawn from a high degree of broad administrative, professional, or technical knowledge or experience” and may be appointed on a temporary basis (i.e., not to exceed 1 year) or an intermittent basis (i.e., without a regularly scheduled tour of duty).

  • Detailee

An executive branch employee may be temporarily assigned ("detailed") to a to another position in the executive branch, to a position in the judicial or legislative branch, or to a position in a non-Federal entity, such as a state or local government or an international organization.

  • Intern

Internships provide students in high school, college or universities, trade schools, and other qualifying educational institutions with paid or unpaid opportunities to work in agencies while completing their education, while recent graduates who, within the previous two years, graduated from qualifying educational institutions with an associates, bachelors, masters, professional, doctorate, vocational or technical degree or certificate from qualifying educational institutions, may receive developmental experience intended to promote possible careers in the civil service.

  • Political Appointees

Term "political appointee" refers broadly to any employee who is appointed by the President, the Vice President, or agency irrespective of whether the position requires Senate confirmation.

  • NOAA Corps Officer

The NOAA Commissioned Officer Corps (NOAA Corps) is one of the nation’s seven uniformed services. Part of NOAA’s Office of Marine and Aviation Operations (OMAO), the NOAA Corps serves throughout the agency’s line and staff offices to support nearly all of NOAA’s programs and missions


  • Contractor

As described by 48 CFR § 37.104, a “contractor” is an individual whose private sector employer has entered into a contractual agreement with the U.S. Government; in this context, for personal services which creates an employer-employee relationship between the individual and the Government and which gives individual contract personnel, the appearance of being government employees.

  • Unclassified
  • Classified

A “Classified contract” is defined by 48 CFR 2.101 as any contract in which the contractor or its employees must have access to classified information during the contract’s performance period, so a ‘classified contractor’ is an employee of a company the Department of Commerce has entered into a classified contract with for professional services who has or will have been granted access to National Security Information, prior to their Entry on Duty.

  • Committee Member

Committees may, from time to time be established by the Department of Commerce, the President of the United States by Executive Order, or Congress by statute when doing so for the purposes of providing advice has been determined essential to conduct its business.

While committee members may Federal employees, and in rare instances, an individual from the private sector may serve on a committee in an employer-employee relationship as a “special Government employee,” in most instances, members from the private sector are not considered Federal employees.

Further, when a committee is chartered to advise on classified matters or which will be dealing with any classified materials, a security clearance is required for any person under consideration for membership on that committee.

  • Guest Researcher

Several Departmental Bureaus provide access to domestic and foreign individuals working on research projects of mutual interest. The length of access required and the type of work which will be undertaken, will determine the type of background investigation required.