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NEWS | Nov. 18, 2009

NSPS going away, but DoD employees won't see drop in pay

By Robert Goetz 12th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs

The National Defense Authorization Act enacted by Congress in October includes a provision to repeal the three-year-old National Security Personnel System, but Team Randolph members who are part of NSPS can expect the status quo - at least for a while.

They can also expect no loss in pay when a transition to the 60-year-old general schedule - or perhaps a new system - is complete.

"We don't have a lot of guidance from the Department of Defense as to how the transition will take place," said Barbara Bragg, 12th Force Support Squadron NSPS chief, "but no one will lose pay because of this."

The system will be abolished effective Jan. 1, 2012, she said, "but we will continue in the NSPS mode for now."

Brenda McCain, 12th FSS Manpower and Personnel Flight chief, said the guidance she has received is that "it's business as usual until such time as specific guidelines are issued."

She said there have been some changes on the classification of new positions and fill actions, but instructions are that they will be created in the GS system rather than in NSPS.

Personnel actions for NSPS positions currently at the Air Force Personnel Center will continue to be worked as NSPS and it is anticipated additional guidance will be provided in the near future, Ms. McCain said.

"There is also an Air Force-directed moratorium on all position reviews due to the intensive workload anticipated in converting all NSPS positions back to the GS format," she further explained. Specific questions on this new policy should be addressed to the Civilian Personnel Section.

NSPS, the Department of Defense's civilian management system, was designed to reward DoD civilian employees for performance rather than longevity. However, reports indicate employees do not understand the system's pay pool process and question the assessment and evaluation process.

"NSPS requires more of managers - such as evaluating people," Ms. Bragg said. "It's more labor-intensive than anything else."

But she said the system is more appealing to younger employees because they believe it takes too long to progress through the general schedule that still governs most DoD civilian workers.

"They value a pay-for-performance system more than a longevity system," she said.

NSPS comprises DoD civilian employees who are managers and supervisors and those in professional fields such as civil engineering and human resources, Ms. Bragg said.

According to the NSPS Web site, the secretary of defense has the authority to carry out the transition for NSPS and DoD officials "will begin work with key stakeholders to develop a plan of action outlining the policies, processes, procedures and milestones that will be followed in accomplishing the transition."

Ms. Bragg said she believes NSPS will continue at least through the current fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30, 2010, then anticipates a gradual transition to the GS system or a different system. She said a government-wide performance management system that would include DoD civilian employees is one possibility.