DOD Explores Post-NSPS Personnel Modifications

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)

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