Transition office established to hasten end of pay for performance

Most of 200,000 affected employees will move back onto the General Schedule system ... for now

The Defense Department has announced the creation of its National Security Personnel System (NSPS) Transition Office, which will oversee the conversion of about 200,000 DOD employees from the pay-for-performance system to a pre-NSPS personnel management system.

The office will be led by John James Jr., formerly executive director for logistics, maintenance and industrial operations at the Naval Sea Systems Command.

The controversial departmentwide policy was struck down by a directive in the fiscal 2010 Defense Authorization Act in October 2009. According to the mandate, all NSPS organizations and employees must transition “to the appropriate non-NSPS personnel system by not later than Jan. 1, 2012,” said Air Force Lt. Col. April Cunningham, public affairs officer at the Defense Press Office in the Pentagon.

Before NSPS, most DOD personnel management was under the General Schedule system.

With the establishment of the transition office, “the department is in the planning stages and will begin transitioning NSPS employees from NSPS as soon as appropriate policies and procedures are vetted and in place,” Cunningham said.

The transition process will involve a review of NSPS positions using non-NSPS classification rules and procedures, including the determination of employee pay based on the appropriate pay-setting rules. The process will address communications within the workforce and help set in motion the eventual movement to a new personnel system that will succeed NSPS, according to Cunningham.

As executive director of the Program Executive Office for NSPS, James is charged with the design and implementation of a new enterprise-wide performance management system.

The new system will incorporate hiring flexibilities — streamlined processes for easier and faster application and hiring in DOD — and a DOD Workforce Incentive Fund that could pay toward various employee bonuses, such as performance, hiring and retention, according to language in the Defense Authorization Act.

DOD stressed the focus on moving to a new system quickly, efficiently and with minimal impact.

“Department personnel are committed to proceeding deliberately and cautiously, without unnecessary delay, and with the least disruption to organizations, mission and workforce. Employees will not experience decrease in pay during the transition,” DOD said.

About the Author

Amber Corrin is a former staff writer for FCW and Defense Systems.

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