Bush signs bill transforming DOD HR

When President Bush signed the Defense Authorization bill into law last week, he ushered in a new era for Defense Department civilian employees.

Included in the law is the National Security Personnel System (NSPS), which will not only combine several pay and personnel systems but will also link pay to performance and give greater leeway to managers for hiring and firing employees. DOD officials have been pushing for the change in policy for some time but met resistance from congressional Democrats and federal employees' unions.

NSPS would specifically give DOD Secretary Donald Rumsfeld more flexibility in hiring, classifying, paying, promoting and firing employees, and thereby bypass employee management policies that have been in place for decades. The provision will make it easier to hire technical employees and scientists, often some of the most difficult people to find and retain.

"In order to secure critical expertise, the conferees authorize the Defense secretary to hire highly qualified personnel with uniquely critical technical, scientific and management skills at appropriate pay for up to five years, with the possibility of a one-year extension," the law states.

Those personnel changes signal a radical departure from DOD's traditional hiring practices, which often involve months of interviewing and background checks. DOD personnel managers have long lamented the bureaucratic process, arguing that they lose highly qualified people when candidates grow frustrated with the laborious procedures necessary to get a job with DOD.

The personnel provisions say that federal employees can still organize and bargain collectively, but the American Federation of Government Employees argues that the bill hampers union efforts.

"People join the civil service because they know the benefits of working for the federal government for a number of years," said Don Hale, chairman of AFGE's Defense Conference group. When pay-for-performance is implemented, "it will establish such a system of cronyism because decisions are being left in the hands of managers who are incapable of handling" the decision of who gets paid, how much they get paid and why.

The adopted provisions create a "more flexible merit-based pay system to attract and retain talented individuals in government service," according to a House Armed Services Committee report on the authorization act.

DOD leaders praised the legislation, saying it creates a clear path for the department. In a statement, David Chu, DOD undersecretary for personnel and readiness, said, "What this does is liberate us from the perceived restrictions of the past. It gives us a modern transformational way of hiring people, advancing them, reassigning them."

Reps. Tom Davis (R-Va.), chairman of the House Government Reform Committee, and Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said NSPS gives DOD the flexibility needed to transform from its Cold War posture into a more dynamic and fluid organization.

"The new system will bring the department into the 21st century and allow [it] to recruit the best and brightest civilian employees," the congressmen said in a statement.

John Palguta, vice president for policy and research at the Partnership for Public Service, said he is cautiously optimistic that the added flexibility in the bill could give DOD what it needs to transform its personnel policies.

"There is nothing inherent in the NSPS that is certain to be harmful to the interests of civilian employees in the Defense Department, and there are some potential benefits that could accrue, but 'could' is the operative word," Palguta said. "Whether the positive results sought through the NSPS are realized will depend on how well the provisions are implemented and fine-tuned."

***

The rest of the authorization bill

The 2004 Defense Authorization bill also calls for:

* Formation of a Joint Tactical Radio System management office.

* Formation of a global research watch program to monitor research and technologies being developed by the military forces of allies and potential enemies.

* An experiment to demonstrate and evaluate available joint Blue Force Tracking technologies.

* Withholding $170 million from the Army's Future Combat Systems program until an independent panel reviews the program's progress and until the Defense Acquisition Board conducts a "milestone B" review.

* Creation of a research and development program to promote high-speed, high-bandwidth communications capabilities for supporting network-centric operations.

* Requiring the director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to report to Congress every other year on the research programs the agency supports and the strategy to turn that research into applied technologies.

Source: 2004 Defense Authorization bill

NEXT STORY: DOD buys Blackboard technology

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.