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American Forces Press Service

National Security Personnel System Goes Under Microscope

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 17, 2009 – The federal government’s largest pay-for-performance system, the National Security Personnel System, is under review at the request of the Defense Department and the Office of Personnel Management.

Since October 2006, about 205,000 defense employees were brought under the new NSPS, which replaced the 50-plus-year-old General Schedule system.

“With new leadership under a new administration, this review provides an opportunity for the department and OPM to gain a full understanding of NSPS, including how the system is operating, what the issues are, and the various stakeholder viewpoints and perspectives,” Bradley Bunn, NSPS program executive officer, said. “The results of the review will assist leadership in determining the future of the program.”

The review was announced March 16, and should take three to six months, Bunn said. The findings and recommendations are expected to be delivered in late summer.

The structure of the review is still being determined, Bunn added. It likely will be an external review to provide an objective assessment, which is how the department has approached reviews of other significant issues.

“We expect the review to include a thorough and comprehensive examination of the NSPS policies, regulations, and practices, as well as the underlying design principles of the system,” he said. “We also expect the review to consider reports and evaluations already conducted on NSPS by external organizations such as the Government Accountability Office, Congressional Budget Office, and the Office of Personnel Management.”

The review also may include outreach to a number of stakeholders, including senior leaders, managers and supervisors, employees, labor and professional groups, Congress, and experts in human resources policy, Bunn said.

“It will be important to gain the perspectives of those affected by NSPS,” he said. “We expect that civilian employees will have an opportunity to make their views known, although we don’t know how that will happen yet.”

The Defense Department has suspended conversions of GS positions to NSPS until at least October, according to the NSPS Web site.

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