USANSPS Transition Well Under Way, Official Tells Congress

WASHINGTON — The tran­si­tion of Defense Depart­ment civil­ian employ­ees from the Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Per­son­nel Sys­tem is pro­ceed­ing, with 75 per­cent of the work­force expect­ed to be trans­ferred into the Gen­er­al Sched­ule clas­si­fi­ca­tion and pay sys­tem by late Sep­tem­ber, the defense offi­cial over­see­ing the effort told Con­gress today.

More than 53,000 defense civil­ian employ­ees who had been enrolled in the NSPS sys­tem have been shift­ed to the GS sys­tem, John H. James, Jr., direc­tor of the Pentagon’s NSPS Tran­si­tion Office, told a sub­com­mit­tee of the Sen­ate Home­land Secu­ri­ty and Gov­ern­men­tal Affairs Com­mit­tee.

About 170,000 remain­ing NSPS employ­ees will tran­si­tion to the GS or oth­er pay and per­son­nel sys­tems by Jan. 1, 2012, the con­gres­sion­al­ly man­dat­ed dead­line, James report­ed. Con­gress direct­ed a repeal of the NSPS sys­tem in the 2010 Defense Appro­pri­a­tions Act and set the time­line for its com­ple­tion. Con­gress also man­dat­ed that no employ­ee lose pay due to the tran­si­tion.

Of tran­si­tions com­plet­ed so far, 71 per­cent of the employ­ees actu­al­ly received pay increas­es – an aver­age of almost $1,400, James told the com­mit­tee. That’s because their NSPS pay lev­els put them between steps on the GS pay scale, which qual­i­fied them for the high­er step, he explained.

Eight per­cent of the employ­ees main­tained the same pay lev­el because their NSPS salary matched a step with­in their new GS grade, James said.

The oth­er 21 per­cent of the employ­ees earned salaries under NSPS that exceed­ed the Step 10 pay lev­el for their GS grade. They, too, retained their full pay lev­el as they con­vert­ed to the GS sys­tem, James explained. How­ev­er, they will receive only one-half of any future pay rais­es until their pay reach­es par­i­ty with the high end of their GS pay lev­el. The mil­i­tary ser­vices and Defense Depart­ment com­po­nents have launched infor­ma­tion and edu­ca­tion cam­paigns to ensure their work­ers under­stand how the NSPS tran­si­tion will affect them, James told the com­mit­tee. In addi­tion, the NSPS Web site is updat­ed reg­u­lar­ly to pro­vide employ­ees the most up-to-date ref­er­ence mate­ri­als and train­ing mod­ules on the GS sys­tem and per­for­mance man­age­ment basics.

James not­ed the chal­lenges asso­ci­at­ed with trans­fer­ring employ­ees between two fun­da­men­tal­ly dif­fer­ent clas­si­fi­ca­tion and pay sys­tems.

NSPS is based on broad pay bands that encom­pass a broad range of duties and respon­si­bil­i­ties and allows employ­ees to advance with­in a sin­gle pay band based on per­for­mance. In con­trast, the GS sys­tem tight­ly defines duties and respon­si­bil­i­ties in dis­crete pay grades based on a position’s dif­fi­cul­ty, respon­si­bil­i­ty and qual­i­fi­ca­tion require­ments. While over­see­ing the NSPS tran­si­tion, James’ office also is charged with com­ing up with a plan for an enter­prise-wide per­for­mance man­age­ment sys­tem that pro­vides hir­ing flex­i­bil­i­ties and a work­force incen­tive fund.

He assured the com­mit­tee the Defense Depart­ment will make the process as open, trans­par­ent and inclu­sive as pos­si­ble. “We have a strong desire to build an effec­tive rela­tion­ship and ful­ly par­tic­i­pa­tive process with labor orga­ni­za­tions in devel­op­ing these new author­i­ties,” he said.

“Tran­si­tion­ing approx­i­mate­ly 226,000 employ­ees from NSPS to the appro­pri­ate statu­to­ry non-NSPS pay and per­son­nel sys­tem is a very high pri­or­i­ty for the depart­ment,” James said. The Defense Depart­ment, he said, is “com­mit­ted to open, ongo­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tion about NSPS tran­si­tion and devel­op­ment of the DoD-unique per­for­mance man­age­ment and hir­ing author­i­ties” pro­vid­ed in the 2010 Nation­al Defense Appro­pri­a­tions Act.

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)