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New Launch Date Projected for New Civilian Personnel System

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 7, 2005 – The first phase of the Defense Department's new National Security Personnel System has been adjusted slightly, to later in the fiscal year, NSPS officials told the American Forces Press Service today.

The Defense Department will work with the Office of Personnel Management to adjust the proposed NSPS regulation based on public comments and the meet-and-confer process with employee representatives, according to Mary Lacey, NSPS program executive officer.

These revisions will be published in the Federal Register later this summer, and implementation of NSPS could begin 30 days after the publication. However, officials stressed that the start date is "event driven" and that implementing instructions must be in place and training must be under way before the system gets rolled out.

Officials had hoped to begin the first phase of the rollout, called Spiral One, July 1, but noted all along that the launch date could change. "That (implementation) date is flexible, because we are not going to implement it until we are ready," Charles S. Abell, principal deputy under secretary of defense for personnel and readiness, said during an interview last December.

NSPS officials said the labor relations part of the program is now expected to begin by September, followed by the performance management element of the human resources system early in fiscal 2006.

All civilian employees will receive the 2006 general pay increase before the pay-for-performance provisions of NSPS begin, officials said.

Spiral One, which will initially affect 60,000 employees, will eventually include about 300,000 U.S.-based Army, Navy, Air Force and DoD-agency civilian employees and managers.

After that, the system will be introduced incrementally over the next two or three years until all 700,000 DoD civilian employees eligible for NSPS are included, officials said. The system will be upgraded and improved as it goes forward, they said.

The National Security Personnel System is one of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld's key initiatives designed to transform DoD operations to better meet 21st-century needs. It replaces an outmoded, 50-year-old civilian personnel management system that had rewarded employees for longevity.

Instead, the new system incorporates a performance-based pay system in tandem with a restructuring of the civilian workforce to better support department missions.

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