National Security Personnel System needs redesign, OPM says

System rebuild said needed because of systemic problems

The Defense Department should rebuild its National Security Personnel System that covers more than 200,000 civilian employees because of systemic problems, according to a joint review by DOD and the Office of Personnel Management released today.

The system, known as NSPS, should not be abolished, according to a report on the review. However, NSPS should have a redesign that challenges all the assumptions of the existing program.

The redesign should use input from the workforce about how to change the system and how to implement those changes, according to the report.

DOD has about 205,000 civilian employees under NSPS, which consists of a performance management process used to evaluate employees, flexible job classifications and a pay system based on performance.

Deputy Defense Secretary William Lynn requested that the Defense Business Board create the task group that performed the review.

Other recommendations included re-establishing a DOD commitment to partnering and collaborating with employees through their unions.

The president of the National Federation of Federal Employees wasn't surprised by the report’s findings but was disappointed with its recommendations. “NSPS has been a complete and utter failure, and the report acknowledges this,” said William Dougan, NFEE's national president. “The recommendation to keep NSPS going in light of the program’s failed history is baffling to us. NSPS should be discarded once and for all.”

NFEE would like for employees currently under NSPS to revert to the General Schedule system, Dougan said.

“The Pentagon has had six years to get NSPS right, and they have failed miserably to do so,” Dougan said. “If the recommendation is to scrap NSPS as it exists today, we should not bother creating a new NSPS in its place.”

About the Author

Doug Beizer is a staff writer for Federal Computer Week.

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