GAO will tally costs of NSPS

Letter from the Comptroller General on the National Security Personnel System

Comptroller General David Walker will conduct a comprehensive review of the cost of the Defense Department’s new civilian personnel system. The review, which will begin in April, will take six months and will cover the design, implementation and training costs of DOD’s National Security Personnel System (NSPS).

Walker, the top official at the Governmental Accountability Office, has testified before Congress that overhauling the current civilian job classification and compensation system will require additional spending.

“DOD is challenged to provide adequate resources to implement its new personnel system, especially during a time when some of the department’s resources are being directed toward the global war on terrorism,” Walker wrote in a March 24 letter to Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.), leaders of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

Parts of NSPS have been ruled illegal by a federal judge, but DOD is free to proceed with those parts of the personnel system that set new rules for performance management, compensation, job classification and staffing. Under NSPS, DOD civilian employees could see their pay increase at a rate higher or lower than it has under the current pay system, Walker wrote. The new system is designed to set employee pay to reflect local labor-market rates and individual performance.

The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued a ruling Feb. 27 that blocks DOD officials from implementing NSPS provisions that regulate collective bargaining, the composition of the National Security Labor Relations Board and the standard for mitigating adverse actions against employees. DOD officials plan to appeal the district court ruling.

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