DOD expands second phase of NSPS

The Defense Department’s second phase of its pay-for-performance system will involve more employees than DOD originally planned to include.

The agency announced yesterday that Spiral 1.2, the second phase of the National Security Personnel System (NSPS), will go into effect in October and cover more than 66,500 employees, up from the original number of 47,000.

“NSPS is critical to the department's transformation to a results-oriented, mission-focused culture,” said Michael Dominguez, principal deputy assistant secretary for personnel and readiness at DOD. “The performance-based system will create an environment where our employees will be focused on outcomes that support our national security mission, and they will be rewarded for the results.”

NSPS will eventually affect 650,000 DOD employees. Spiral 1.1 was phased in April 30 to 11,000 workers. NSPS representatives have been satisfied with Spiral 1.1 implementation so far.

“We are pleased with what we are seeing thus far, at least with the technical aspects of the conversion,” said Mary Lacey, NSPS’ program executive officer.

However, the system has suffered setbacks in court and in Congress because of problems with ensuring union rights such as collective bargaining. Most recently, the House passed an amendment that would defund portions of NSPS. Rep. Jay Inslee (D-Wash.) said the system threatens basic worker rights and “jeopardizes our ability to recruit and maintain qualified, skilled workers to protect our national security.”

The accelerated implementation of Spiral 1.2 has union representatives puzzled.

“It seems absurd, quite frankly,” said Ward Morrow, assistant general counsel at the American Federation of Government Employees. “To try to do it to [employees] who aren’t covered by the lawsuit knowing that they’re going to have to go back and do it over again seems like a waste of money.”

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