NSPS Implementation Set to Start Next Summer
By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Dec. 15, 2004 Implementation of the first phase of the Defense Department's new National Security Personnel System is slated for next summer, senior officials said here this week.
The new civilian personnel system is one of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld's key initiatives designed to transform DoD operations to better meet 21st-century needs, Charles S. Abell, principal deputy under secretary of defense for personnel and readiness, said during a Dec. 13 interview at the Pentagon.
The NSPS replaces an outmoded, 50-year-old civilian personnel management system, Abell noted, that had rewarded employees for longevity. NSPS, he said, incorporates a performance-based pay system in tandem with a restructuring of the civilian work force to better support department missions.
The first grouping, called Spiral One, of NSPS implementation is planned for July 2005, Abell reported. This will affect about 300,000 U.S.-based Army, Navy, Air Force and DoD agency civilian employees and managers. DoD currently has about 700,000 civilian employees.
"That (implementation) date is flexible, because we are not going to implement it until we are ready," he noted.
Officials will be working with installation and unit commanders from now until July, Abell noted, to discuss NSPS training needs and other issues prior to implementation.
Commanders, supervisors and employees "will want to get familiar with the system" between now and July, Abell pointed out. NSPS Program Executive Mary E. Lacey, who accompanied Abell at the interview, echoed his point.
"Before any work unit goes into the National Security Personnel System," Lacey explained, "senior leadership of the department, as well as their local management, is going to be there with them, making sure that the folks are trained, making sure that they fully understand the intricacies of the system as well as fully understand what's going to be expected of them."
The NSPS, she said, represents "an incredibly exciting opportunity for the department to move forward in its transformation" of how it uses, manages and trains its civilian personnel.
"I like to say that people are the only appreciating asset in the Department of Defense," Lacey maintained. The National Security Personnel System, she added, sets the stage so the department "can truly acknowledge and reward" its civilian employees.
It's anticipated that Spiral Two to comprise most of the remaining employees -- will begin around January 2007, Lacey said. But officials note that will happen only after certain certification occurs and criteria are established, based on Spiral One assessments. A third spiral grouping will comprise DoD laboratories should current legislative restrictions be eliminated.
The Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center at Tinker Air Force Base, Lacey reported, will be among the first units to implement the NSPS in July 2005. Air Force Maj. Gen. Terry Gabreski, who also participated in the interview, commands the air logistics center, which performs maintenance on KC-135 aerial- refueling tankers and B-1B, B-52 and B-2 bombers.
The NSPS phase-in, Gabreski said, will affect about 7,000 civilian employees at the Oklahoma City center.
"This is really exciting to have our outstanding work force at Tinker recognized by the selection to be in the NSPS," Gabreski remarked. "This is an opportunity for our work force to shape this landmark reform to the personnel system."
The NSPS implementation, the general said, will enable civilian employees within her command to "see up close and personal the benefits of performance- based pay and contributions being recognized as an important part of the personnel system that they are part of."