WASHINGTON — As the National Security Personnel System fades into history, the Defense Department is exploring new modifications to the personnel system, a DOD official said today.
John H. James Jr., who directs the Pentagon’s NSPS Transition Office, said the effort is in the very early stages.
The 2010 National Defense Authorization Act “specifically gives us the authority to investigate and design a modified system in the realm of an enterprisewide performance appraisal system, high flexibilities in retention and a work force retention fund,” James said.
The act authorizes the secretary of defense, in coordination with the director of the Office of Personnel Management, “to develop new regulations for the civilian work force which include fair, credible, and transparent methods for hiring and assigning personnel, and for appraising employee performance … consistent with the existing general schedule pay system, without the need for any legislative change to that system.”
Thus far, his office has hosted meetings with management and employee representatives to gather opinions on what those methods should be, James said.
“We had a huge conference out in Los Angeles in September where we had 200 employees –- 100 from labor and 100 from the management side –- get together just to explore ideas of the kinds of things we’d like to see in a performance management system, a work force incentive fund and hiring flexibilities,” James said.
“We got a lot of great ideas from the organization, and we spent a lot of time getting to know each other and understanding different perspectives which proved to be very valuable,” he added.
The transition office has since met with labor partners in a planning group to set out the scope and authority of design teams to address those three authorities, James said. “The deliberate approach that we’re taking on the front end will pay dividends on the far end,” he said. “Knowing the relationships, understanding different perspectives, making sure we take the time to … put together a diverse design team.”
His office plans to capture “the thoughts and ideas that are out there, especially out in the field,” James said. “In Los Angeles, we had both labor and management — employees and leaders — from around the country: different disciplines, different geographical areas, different commands, different services,” he said. “We got a plethora, a very good pot of really good ideas that we are going to give to the design team for them to evaluate.”
The next milestone will be a planning group meeting with labor partners Jan. 20, he said. “This is the group that’s planning the actual design effort,” he said. Design work groups are scheduled to kick off their efforts Feb. 23, James said.
U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)