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DoD to Implement 3-Tier Civilian Performance Appraisal System

By Jim Garamone DoD News, Defense Media Activity


WASHINGTON, July 30, 2014 — Pentagon officials yesterday delivered a report to Congress on the progress the Defense Department has made over the last six months in redesigning personnel authorities.

The biggest change is in designing a new civilian employee appraisal system and putting in place steps to implement it, officials said.

The vast majority of the department’s 748,000 civilian employees will come under the system. “An implementation timeline has not yet been determined,” a defense official said, “but the department anticipates a phased implementation.”

Congress ordered the department to examine the system as part of the fiscal 2010 Defense Authorization Act. That act abolished the National Security Personnel System.

The legislation calls for DoD to develop a new performance appraisal system that is “fair, credible and transparent.” Appraisals would be directly linked to awards of employee bonuses and would be the basis for regular, ongoing feedback throughout the appraisal cycle.

Currently, a myriad of systems is in place for the department’s different services and agencies. Some are pass/fail, and others use three- or five-tiered rating systems. Some tie bonuses to appraisals, while others do not.

The Defense Department has opted for a three-tiered performance appraisal system, officials said. The system will be characterized by a uniform appraisal period for covered employees, they added, and it will strongly link the employees’ appraisals to mission and organizational goals.

A key to the system will be the ability to make meaningful distinctions in levels of performance. Officials said the appraisal system will have “an integrated, automated tool that will facilitate performance planning, communication and the appraisal cycle processes.”

DoD officials have notified unions of the three-tiered appraisal system.

The new system will not apply to Senior Executive Service employees, those in the Defense Civilian Intelligence Personnel System and employees in the Demonstration Lab system, officials said.

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