DOD, OPM conclude Defense personnel system needs overhaul

Redesign said needed because of systemic problems with National Security Personnel System

The Defense Department should rebuild its National Security Personnel System that covers more than 200,000 civilian employees because of systemic problems, according to a joint review by DOD and the Office of Personnel Management released today.

The system, known as NSPS, should not be abolished, according to a report on the review. However, NSPS should have a redesign that challenges all the assumptions of the existing program.

The redesign should use input from the workforce about how to change the system and how to implement those changes, according to the report.

DOD has about 205,000 civilian employees under NSPS, which consists of a performance management process used to evaluate employees, flexible job classifications and a pay system based on performance.

Deputy Defense Secretary William Lynn requested that the Defense Business Board create the task group that performed the review.

Other recommendations included re-establishing a DOD commitment to partnering and collaborating with employees through their unions.

The president of the National Federation of Federal Employees wasn't surprised by the report’s findings but was disappointed with its recommendations. “NSPS has been a complete and utter failure, and the report acknowledges this,” said William Dougan, NFEE's national president. “The recommendation to keep NSPS going in light of the program’s failed history is baffling to us. NSPS should be discarded once and for all.”

NFEE would like for employees currently under NSPS to revert to the General Schedule system, Dougan said.

“The Pentagon has had six years to get NSPS right, and they have failed miserably to do so,” Dougan said. “If the recommendation is to scrap NSPS as it exists today, we should not bother creating a new NSPS in its place.”

About the Author

Doug Beizer is a staff writer for Federal Computer Week.

Reader Comments

Tue, Jul 13, 2010 Engineer China Lake

NSPS requires supervisors to be supervisors (they have to justify their ratings) & rewards pay for performance. So if it hasn't work in your organization, it's the people, not structure. China Lake has been under a demonstration project for decades. The employees have benefited a great deal. Those who have been forced to migrate to the GS system when changing organizations refer to GS as meaning Generally Screwed. Perhaps performance metrics are easier in the engineering community than in the rest of Civil Service.

Thu, Aug 27, 2009 John Kannaby Chicago, IL

Democrats in power believe in democracy. Let all those under NSPS vote whether to keep it or discard it. Is this too simple to do?

Thu, Aug 27, 2009 Bob Dangredo D0D Hostage

DBB'S BIZARRE RESULTS IMPACT THE LIVES AND THE CAREERS OF CIVILIANS. The results proove that the DBB was biased from the time they were formed. There is no other logical way that the panel could have reached their asinine conclusion. How can all of their findings indicate NSPS is a failure and they elect to keep it? I'll also tell you what redesign means...it means that 205,000 government employees continue to lose money in their retirement and in their annual salary in comparison to civilians in the same career field in other parts of government. It also means that 205,000 employees who continue to go to work everyday are subjected to a system that is statistically proven to be discriminatory, that rates unfairly, and that many of the components were declared in a court of law to be illegal. EMPLOYEES CONTINUE TO BE SUBJECTS, LIKE LAB RATS, IN A BROKEN PERSONNEL SYSTEM THAT HAS NO BUY-IN AT ANY LEVEL. The decision to redesign, rebuild or reconstruct a new system should have logically meant that all civilians were returned to the GS system that remains fully functioning and accepted within the government; but DoD is reluctant to return civilians to that system because currently DoD can do anything that it desires with civilans who have been spiraled into the NSPS nightmare. People need to file a class action law suit, write their Congress representatives and their Senators about our leader's inability to act responsibly on the behalf of its employees. Leadership is absolutely naked, vulnerable, and lacks any grain of moral fairness on NSPS.

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