Unions critical of decision to overhaul DOD personnel system

Citing its complete failure, abandonment of National Security Personnel System sought

Federal employee unions sharply criticized the recommendation of the Defense Business Board (DBB) to overhaul, and not abandon, Defense Department’s controversial National Security Personnel System (NSPS). In a final report released Aug. 25, the DOD federal advisory committee recommended “reconstruction” for NSPS, which would include a total restructuring of the DOD pay-for-performance system and a name change.


More on this topic from GCN:

DOD, OPM conclude Defense personnel system needs overhaul


DBB said it did not call for abolition of the system because “the performance management system that has been created is achieving alignment of employee goals with organizational goals.” The report also said the reconstruction “should include a true engagement of the workforce in designing needed changes and implementation.”

Getting employee buy-in to overhaul the system — which federal labor unions have criticized as unfair, not transparent and inequitable — is not going to be easy, according to labor leaders.

“NSPS has been a complete and utter failure,” said William R. Dougan, president of the National Federation of Federal Employees. “The recommendation to keep NSPS going in light of the program’s failed history is baffling. NSPS should be discarded once and for all.”

Also reacting to the report, American Federation of Government Employees President John Gage reiterated his union’s contention that NSPS was created by the previous administration as a way to curb the workplace rights of DOD civilian employees, including the right to collective bargaining.

“A steady stream of DOD managers and supervisors have told us that NSPS is unfair, dishonest and ineffective,” Gage said. “We know that those under the system suffer from low morale and lower productivity.”

About 205,000 of 865,000 DOD civilian employees are in NSPS.

For more information, visit: http://www.nffe.org/ht/display/ReleaseDetails/i/13898 or www.afge.org/index.cfm?page=PressReleases&PressReleaseID=1039.

Reader Comments

Thu, Jul 15, 2010 Port Hueneme, CA

NSPS may be 'abolished' but the lipstick was already smeared on the pig, and it survives under different names like DCIPS and 'Interim Performance System for GS.' I also wonder how NSPS exposes bad managers as one poster wrote. As someone victimized by NSPS, I can attest that there is no feedback or assessment loop for the supervisors. Supervisors can say anything they want about employees in assessments, and employees have no voice to refute anything the supervisors say. Personally, I believe NSPS and the like are all aimed at reducing pay for senior personnel. A younger, cheaper workforce with lower expectations will cost the government much less in the long run.

Tue, Jul 13, 2010 Engineer California

NSPS has not been a failure (perhaps a media failure). The requirements to document performance make it more transparent than the GS process. Under NSPS, top performers can be rewarded for working harder than their less productive counterparts. If it hasn't worked in a particular organization, then change the management, not the system.

Thu, Sep 3, 2009

Perhaps one of the best secondary impacts of NSPS is that it helps to identify poor managers...and if one of the Department's goals is to improve the quality of it's supervisors and managers...then going back to GS will simply hide the problem, not make it better...

Thu, Sep 3, 2009 NSPS Supervisor Ohio

II completely disagree with the statement in this article that NSPS is "unfair, dishonest and ineffective". It is the people (supervisors, paypool members, PPM, PRA) that would exhibit these traits - not the system. The only thing that needs to be corrected with the system is the process. The time spent in MyBiz/MyWorkPlace is too time consuming for supervisors and requires too many steps to complete the cycle. Other than that, I would also mandate a requirement that separates prior GS-13s and above to be segregated into their own paypool, because the comment made previously, "higher graded personnel are included in a pay pool they get a higher pay package (bonus/permanent pay increase) because they are feeding off the lower graded people" - is true... I know, because I am a paypool administrator, a supervisor and I have seen it. I would also like to see DoD mandate a requirement that ALL employee data be maintained on one server. Wouldn’t it be more cost effective and beneficial if there was only one location / region that handled all employees? It can’t be that difficult – its currently less than 250K civil service under NSPS – each branch of the service manage that number of personnel with their active duty. Lastly, in order to be more cost effective – I would also mandate that all paypool panels will be conducted virtually online. If an organization is spread out across the globe, having members meet in one location each year is not cost effective either. Enough said. Back to work… I have appraisals to work on.

Wed, Sep 2, 2009

Two item of interest: My agency has been playing with the pay pools. First upper level managment (GS-14s were included with GS-13 and GS-12 personnel). Last year they weren't and now they will be. We have concluded when higher graded personnel are included in a pay pool they get a higher pay package (bonus/permanent pay increase) because they are feeding off the lower graded people. Secondly, NSPS is reducing the overall ourlay of money because those who are newly highered don't make as much money as their GS counterparts. When personnel in NSPS reach the journeyman level their pay will be markedly less than a GS counterpart. Remember the government doesn't do something for the benefit of the employee. The governments aim is to reduce costs and NSPS is a prime example along with FERS. After 35+ years I am happy to report my CSRS retirement looks so much better than the retirement of those who opted to join FERS instead of staying with CSRS. Uncle Sam at times is not the best uncle to work for.

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