DOD presses for new personnel system

Officials are pushing ahead with their proposal to overhaul the department's civilian personnel system

DOD's legislative proposal

Defense Department officials are pushing ahead with their proposal to overhaul the department's civilian personnel system — a proposal that has garnered praise and concern.

As part of a legislative package sent to Capitol Hill April 11, DOD proposed to transform how its civilian employees are hired, paid and managed. The existing system was "organized for a world that no longer exists," said David Chu, undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness.

DOD plans to use the Homeland Security Department (DHS) as a template in creating a new National Security Personnel System, which will consolidate several pay and personnel systems, he said. DHS was granted broad personnel flexibilities but has only just begun to develop its departmentwide human resources system.

DOD, however, is off to a good start, Chu said. It wants to expand some programs it has successfully tested, such as pay banding, which gives managers more flexibility to set salaries, and alternative personnel systems.

DOD officials want to link pay to performance to ensure that top performers receive the bulk of the bonuses and that employees who don't perform do not receive an annual increase. They also want to make recruitment easier by, for example, hiring someone for a new duty without competition if an employee will receive the same salary.

DOD also wants to turn over jobs that are being performed by about 300,000 military personnel to its civilian workforce.

Managers cannot get the flexibility they need from the existing personnel system, Chu said April 22 at an event hosted by the IBM Corp. Endowment for the Business of Government. It's unclear how many of those jobs might be outsourced to a contractor.

Ultimately, DOD's goal is to have a single personnel system. Ginger Groeber, deputy undersecretary for civilian personnel policy at DOD, said that eventually the existing Defense Civilian Personnel Data System and the Defense Integrated Military Human Resources System, which is under development, "will meet as a single system."

It's clear that the existing civil service system is inflexible and outdated and needs to be changed, said John Palguta, vice president for policy and research at the Partnership for Public Service.

Would it be wise for DOD to first wait for governmentwide civil service reform to take hold? "I think given the number of exceptions that have already been granted to individual agencies, that's a moot question," Palguta said in an e-mail message. "More than half of all federal employees are currently exempt from some or all of the provisions of Title 5."

Still, a DOD employee thinks the department should work with the flexibilities it has under the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 and learn how to use them properly. "That is, managers can assign, reassign, withhold step increases, take disciplinary action, rewrite position descriptions," DOD employee Robert Benson said in an e-mail message. "Only trouble is, it is not convenient. They need to document problems, consult with personnel specialists, follow a procedure and generally know about the tools they have."

"Although the plan looks good on paper, it plays poorly in reality," said another DOD employee who is participating in a pay demonstration project. It's too easy for local commands to abuse the system, said the employee who asked not to be named.

Ultimately, it is important to preserve "a common set of merit principles," Palguta said.

"Transformation of an organization like DOD takes an awful lot of pieces working together," said William Phillips, a partner responsible for IBM's Business Consulting Services Defense practice. "Good human capital solutions and good incentives," which the department is trying to address through this legislative package, are an essential piece, he said.

***

What's in store

Highlights of the Defense Department's "Defense Transformation for the 21st Century Act" include:

* Establish minimum qualification requirements and standards for acquisition, technology and logistics positions, and designate career paths for them.

* Establish universal pay banding for five career groups and abolish the General Schedule.

* Bargain with employee unions at the national level instead of the local level.

* Offer voluntary separation incentive pay and early retirement.

* Hire Americans older than 55, who would maintain their retirement benefits.

* Hire experts for up to five years.

* Offer overseas pay and benefits for certain civilian employees working outside the country.

* Hire someone on the spot for hard-to-fill positions.

* Hire someone without competition if he or she is moving to another job that pays the same.

NEXT STORY: Army's FCS moving to next phase

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.