OPM to DOD: Rebuild National Security Personnel System

Redesign said needed because of systemic problems with system

The Defense Department should rebuild its National Security Personnel System that covers more than 200,000 civilian employees because of systemic problems, according to a joint review by DOD and the Office of Personnel Management released today.

The system, known as NSPS, should not be abolished, according to a report on the review. However, NSPS should have a redesign that challenges all the assumptions of the existing program.

The redesign should use input from the workforce about how to change the system and how to implement those changes, according to the report.

DOD has about 205,000 civilian employees under NSPS, which consists of a performance management process used to evaluate employees, flexible job classifications and a pay system based on performance.

Deputy Defense Secretary William Lynn requested that the Defense Business Board create the task group that performed the review.

Other recommendations included re-establishing a DOD commitment to partnering and collaborating with employees through their unions.

The president of the National Federation of Federal Employees wasn't surprised by the report’s findings but was disappointed with its recommendations. “NSPS has been a complete and utter failure, and the report acknowledges this,” said William Dougan, NFEE's national president. “The recommendation to keep NSPS going in light of the program’s failed history is baffling to us. NSPS should be discarded once and for all.”

NFEE would like for employees currently under NSPS to revert to the General Schedule system, Dougan said.

“The Pentagon has had six years to get NSPS right, and they have failed miserably to do so,” Dougan said. “If the recommendation is to scrap NSPS as it exists today, we should not bother creating a new NSPS in its place.”

About the Author

Doug Beizer is a staff writer for Federal Computer Week.

Reader Comments

Mon, Aug 31, 2009

And this from folks who can't even cross-certify civilian background investigations? If you've been investigated for DoD, why do you need an investigation for ED (or GSA, or Homeland Security, etc.)? And, if you've been investigated for one of these organizations, why do you need an investigation for the others to do the same work?

Mon, Aug 31, 2009 Paul

Once again the NFFE comes out in support of the minority over the majority. I may dislike NSPS in it's current form but I have no desire to go back to GS. I would probably revert to mid-step grade 13. I am capped at 13 and so I wouldn't see much of a pay raise for a while. I'm sure a number of others would be in a similiar position. I know the NFFE has to listen to it's members but GS only favors those that don't wish to work hard for their benefits. NSPS may have issues but it's no reason to scrap it. The Osprey was buggy as hell and the Marines kept it around and are working out the kinks. Nothing new works right the first time around.

Mon, Aug 31, 2009

The fact that your bonus/pay is not always added to your base pay is frustrating as you are not able to build your high three like you could under the GS system. It just seems like the timing of NSPS is lousy for those of us close to retirement. We would like our base pay to increase to help us in retirement.

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