DOD personnel bill introduced

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) has introduced the Senate version of legislation designed to overhaul how the Defense Department hires, pays and manages its civilian personnel.

The introduction of the bill on June 2 comes two days before the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee's plans to hold a hearing on the department's proposal, which has already made headway in the House.

As part of a legislative package sent to Capitol Hill April 11, DOD proposed to transform its civilian personnel system — a move that would affect nearly 750,000 employees. Since then, the House has included and passed the provision as part of its fiscal 2004 DOD authorization bill, but the proposal did not make it into the Senate's version of the bill.

Some of the highlights of the National Security Personnel System Act (S.1166) include:

* Establishing a pay-for-performance system.

* Establishing procedures to ensure employees are involved in the planning, development and implementation of the National Security Personnel System.

* Establishing a performance management system that involves employees and is fairly administered.

* Allowing the Defense secretary to establish an appeals process for employees under the new system.

* Giving the secretary authority to establish an early retirement and separation incentive program.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and David Chu, undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, are among those expected to testify at the Senate hearing.

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