Defense Department To Postpone New Personnel System

The Department of Defense announced its plans to postpone implementation of its new personnel management system to incorporate some changes based on input received during recent meet-and-confer meetings with federal unions.

The Department of Defense announced its plans to postpone implementation of its new personnel management system, known as the National Security Personnel System, to incorporate some changes based on input received during recent meet-and-confer meetings with federal unions.

The revisions are scheduled to published in the Federal Register later in the summer. Implementation of NSPS could begin 30 days after the publication, according to Mary Lacey, NSPS program executive officer.

However, officials stressed that the start date is "event driven" and that implementing instructions must be in place and training must be under way before the system gets rolled out.

Officials had hoped to begin the first phase of the rollout, called Spiral One, July 1, but had stated that the launch date could change. "That (implementation ) date is flexible, because we are not going to implement it until we are ready," Charles S. Abell, principal deputy under secretary of defense for personnel and readiness, said during an interview last December.

NSPS officials said the labor relations part of the program is now expected to begin by September, followed by the performance management element of the human resources system early in fiscal 2006. All civilian employees will receive the 2006 general pay increase before the pay-for-performance provisions of NSPS begin, officials said.

Spiral One, which will initially affect 60,000 employees, will eventually include about 300,000 U.S.-based Army, Navy, Air Force and DoD-agency civilian employees and managers.

After that, the system will be introduced incrementally over the next two or three years until all 700,000 DoD civilian employees eligible for NSPS are included, officials said. The system will be upgraded and improved as it goes forward, they said.

The National Security Personnel System is one of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld’s key initiatives designed to transform DoD operations to evolving needs. It will replace the 50-year-old civilian personnel management system that had rewarded employees for longevity.

DoD officials said the goal of NSPS is to incorporate a performance-based pay system in tandem with a restructuring of the civilian workforce to better support department missions.

About the Author

Ralph Smith has several decades of experience working with federal human resources issues. He has written extensively on a full range of human resources topics in books and newsletters and is a co-founder of two companies and several newsletters on federal human resources. Follow Ralph on Twitter: @RalphSmith47