The Department of Defense and the Office of Personnel Management jointly issued the final enabling regulations for the National Security Personnel System, one of DoD’s human resources management systems. NSPS was originally authorized by the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2004 and amended by the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008.
While the final regulations incorporate significant changes, the core features of the personnel system remain intact. The final regulations govern how classification, compensation, and performance management flexibilities will be accomplished. NSPS retains the existing values of the civil service, including merit system principles and veterans’ preference, and allows employees to be paid and rewarded based on performance, contributions to mission accomplishment, and market considerations.
The NSPS regulations have undergone significant change since they were first introduced. Most of these changes were motivated by one of three factors: changes mandated in law, changes derived from lessons learned and best practices, and changes driven by public and union comments.
Changes brought about by National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008:
· NSPS will follow existing government-wide rules for:
o Labor-management relations
o Disciplinary and adverse actions and employee appeals of adverse actions
o Staffing and employment
o Workforce shaping (reduction in force, furlough, and transfer of function)
· Excludes Federal Wage System (blue collar) employees from coverage under NSPS. Mandates that all employees with a performance rating above “unacceptable” (rating of 1 on a scale of 1-5)) or who do not have a current performance rating receive no less than sixty percent of the annual government-wide General Schedule pay increase. In accordance with the statute, the balance will be allocated to pay pools for the purpose of increasing rates of pay based on performance at the valued performer (rating of 3) and higher levels.
· Requires that all NSPS employees with a performance rating above “unacceptable” or who do not have a current performance rating receive locality pay in the same manner and extent as General Schedule employees.
Adjustments and clarifications made to lend consistency based on lessons learned and best practices:
· Allow for NSPS coverage of employees appointed for less than 90 days
· Provide a conversion/movement out process for employees moving to GS positions, to ensure consistent pay setting practices for NSPS employees
· Allow employees to request reconsideration of an individual job objective rating, in addition to the ability to request reconsideration of the overall final rating of record
· Grandfathers GS pay retention timeframes for employees covered by GS grade or pay retention rules at the time of their conversion to NSPS
Additional substantive changes made following publication of the proposed rules in the Federal Register:
· Revised definition of “rate of pay” to ensure consistency and conformity regarding pay issues.
· Require organizations to share aggregate pay pool results
· Extend accelerated compensation for developmental positions to positions assigned to the Student Career Experience Program in the student pay schedule
· Extend within-grade increase “buy-in” provision to Federal Wage System employees who move into NSPS.
DoD will continue to use NSPS flexibilities to build and sustain a high-performing workforce. There are currently approximately 183,000 DoD employees under NSPS. The next DoD organizations will convert into NSPS in the late 2008 - early 2009 timeframe, bringing the total number of employees under the system to approximately 200,000.