DOD to review NSPS pay system

The Defense Department said today it would review the National Security Personnel System (NSPS), the pay-for-performance compensation system used by several organizations in DOD. Deputy Secretary of Defense William Lynn said he made the decision in consultation with the Office of Personnel Management while recognizing varying viewpoints about the NSPS.

Critics have said the system needs more transparency of the measures under which employees are evaluated and awarded pay increases and bonuses. DOD began implementing NSPS in 2006. It now covers 205,000 DOD employees, Lynn said.

“This administration is committed to operating fair, transparent, and effective personnel systems, and we are undertaking this review to assess whether NSPS meets these objectives,” Lynn said. With new leadership under a new administration, DOD and OPM said they would communicate with a variety of organizations in examining NSPS.

DOD will delay any further conversions of organizations into NSPS pending the outcome of this review, Lynn said. About 2,000 employees were scheduled to convert to NSPS this spring; organizations already covered by NSPS will continue to operate under current NSPS policies, regulations, and procedures, he said.

DOD and OPM are in discussions with key personnel in the administration to determine the overall framework, scope and timeline of the review, including identifying an appropriate person to lead it, he said. A review team is expected to take several months to gather the necessary information and data, reach out to stakeholders, and develop recommendations for leadership's consideration, Lynn said.

About the Author

Mary Mosquera is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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Reader comments

Mon, Jul 12, 2010 Maryland

I would like to file a classaction against the federal government and my supervisor for given employees a lower rating and one share because they make alot of money already. The agancy agreed with the supervisor for rating employees on how much money the employees make and not the employees performance.

Mon, May 11, 2009

Mr. President a system that discriminates against Federal Employees or even gives a slight appearance that it discriminates, should be eliminated immediately without question. This system is obviously taking our system back in time. Obviously, this system was designed without thought or with the intention of suppression. If anyone would have gave it a minute thought; I don't think this system would have been introduced to the Federal System. Get rid of the fat Mr. President.

Tue, Apr 28, 2009 AlabamaGirl Alabama

I'm a perfect example of how NSPS doesn't work and is VERY unfair, so Abolish NSPS Immediately! PLEASE! I went from a former GS-11 to a former GS12 and got a 3% salary increase of $1700, bringing my current salary to just under $60,000. My GS -12 counterparts at the SAME location are making $67,600! I lost almost $8,000 annually under NSPS! That's over $40,000 in a 5-year period—over $80,000 over a 10-year period!!! This is extremely unfair. I was told by the personnel office that this installation is only receiving 3% increases and that a 5% increase must be approved by the Commander.


I realize some who have maxed-out in their steps have benefitted from NSPS, and my annual pay increase at the former GS-11 was around 5.5%, which I was pleased with.
But, if anyone out there ever expects to get what used to be a promotion, you'll only get 5% at the most and perhaps 1-2-3% only—or perhaps no pay increase at all. Compare this against the raise when GS employees move from one grade to the next. NSPS Fair??? Definite not for me!!! END IT NOW!!! PLEASE!!!

Tue, Mar 31, 2009

Fort Huachuca has an SES who is going to by-pass the SECDEF directive and force the NSPS transfer anyway. We the work force were told that we are only a 3 level, average. We were also told by the G2 NSPS visitor that none of us are capable of reaching Hall of Fame level. This is abuse to its' highest level. The current SES interfers in every job growth on this post. We are doomed and there is no hope because no one is listening or cares.

Tue, Mar 31, 2009

Dear President Junemann,
I am writing to respond to your concerns raised with my staff about the draft May 22nd regulations
issued by the Department of Defense to implement the National Security Personnel System (NSPS). As I
understand it, DoD has stated that it will implement final regulations on this matter in October. I agree with
you that it is inappropriate and unwise for DoD to implement such a highly contentious, ill-conceived
program so late in this administration, particularly following the vast revisions to the program included in the
FY08 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). It is clear to me that the intention of Congress was to
reinstate collective bargaining. Yet DoD is still moving forward with a personnel system that prohibits most
collective bargaining.
Based on my conversations with DoD civilian employees, I have several concerns about the NSPS
pay system, including the aforementioned restrictions on bargaining rights, the disconnection between pay
and performance despite what employees have been told, the requirement that performance ratings be pushed
into a forced distribution, or bell curve, the suppression of wages by permitting bonuses to be paid instead of
base salary increases, and the virtual elimination of merit consideration in the promotion process.
Further, the class action lawsuits alleging race, gender, and age bias by employees placed under pay
systems similar to NSPS in other agencies should give us pause. I cannot and will not support a pay system
which discriminates against employees, and I cannot and will not support a pay system which ultimately is
designed to suppress wages for civilian DoD employees over time.
The elimination of collective bargaining rights is not the purpose Congress had this year when it
enacted legislation in support of the hundreds of thousands of civilian employees who support the mission
and operations of the Department of Defense. I am fully aware that DoD’s civilian employees are the
Department’s backbone, without which our troops would never be able to conduct operations in an effective
manner. Never before has that support function been so important to all Americans, as we fight two wars
simultaneously in Iraq and Afghanistan. I want to assure you that if I am elected President, I will
substantially revise these NSPS regulations, and strongly consider a complete repeal.
Thank you, Greg, for all you and IFPTE’s members do for America.
Sincerely,
Barack Obama

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