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Domestic Employees Teleworking Overseas Program

Benefit overview

The Defense Department and the State Department have strengthened the Domestic Employees Teleworking Overseas program for military spouses who work for the federal government. The agreement will lead to faster approvals for spouses to work remotely.

DETO arrangements allow federal employees who are assigned domestic positions to telework at an approved, overseas worksite for a limited period of time.

How this benefit helps

The agreement between the Defense Department and the State Department helps military spouses who work for the federal government maintain their careers and keep their families together when their service member is stationed overseas.

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Streamlined approval process

The DOD will be responsible for assessing the housing where the employee will telework for safety and security. A separate inspection by the State Department is no longer required. The DOD will also provide security services that in the past were carried out by regional security officers at U.S. embassies and consulates. This will result in faster approvals.

How to access this benefit

Military spouses who are federal employees and wish to apply to the DETO program should contact their direct supervisor and examine their agency’s DETO policy.

Spouses who are civilian employees of the Defense Department and have questions about teleworking overseas may contact the DOD DETO program manager at Military spouses should also make themselves familiar with the Department’s DETO policy found in DOD Instruction 1035.01, “Telework and Remote Work.”


A Domestic Employee Teleworking Overseas, or DETO, is an executive branch employee of the U.S. government assigned to a domestic position with an alternative work arrangement that permits their work to be performed at an approved worksite in a location abroad for a limited period of time.

DETO arrangements are especially helpful for federal employees who are married to military or DOD civilian sponsors assigned to military installations overseas. With the proper approvals from their employer and the State Department, DETOs may accompany their DOD sponsors on assignments overseas and still keep their own federal jobs by teleworking remotely from the location of their DOD sponsor’s overseas assignment.

The purpose of the MOA is to facilitate DETO arrangements for eligible federal employees authorized by the DOD to accompany service members and DOD civilian personnel on assignments abroad.

Under the MOA, the Defense Department will provide a range of required security services to covered DETOs that are normally carried out by regional security officers at U.S. embassies and consulates (e.g., emergency planning, evacuation assistance, initial incident response for serious incidents).

The MOA also streamlines residential safety and security screening requirements. Under the agreement, the State Department will accept DOD’s suitability determination for DETO residences and will not require additional inspections using State Department standards.

Since taking office, Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III has worked to improve the quality of life for our total force and their families. Under this MOA, the Defense Department and the State Department will work together to facilitate approval of DETO arrangements for federal employees who are spouses of military and DOD civilian employee sponsors.

More federally employed spouses will be able to maintain their careers, improve their economic security and keep their families together while they accompany their service member or DOD civilian employee spouse overseas.

The MOA took effect April 18, 2024.

This MOA is limited to areas where DOD has approved assignments and where DOD has established Military Housing Offices serving the military installation community.

DOD employees should reference Section 5 of DODI 1035.01, “Telework and Remote Work,” which contains policy for domestic employees temporarily working from overseas pursuant to DETO arrangements. Federal employees from other executive branch agencies should contact their DETO coordinator or human resources office.

Any military spouse who is an executive branch employee wanting to work overseas must first get approval by their supervisor in the agency where they work.

No. The new MOA does not impact anyone working overseas with an approved DETO agreement.

Federal employees may not be approved to work remotely from a foreign location prior to obtaining approval from the State Department pursuant to the DETO program. They may be approved by their agency employer to telework or work remotely from locations within the United States.

Employees or their employing agency may either pay to make necessary upgrades to meet the required standards or must find a different residence that meets required standards.

Military spouses have access to career resources through installation-based employment readiness programs, as well as the Defense Department’s Spouse Education and Career Opportunities Program, or SECO. SECO provides a compendium of education and career information, tools and resources designed specifically for military spouses. To learn more about SECO, visit

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