Performance Management: DOD Is Terminating the National Security Personnel System, but Needs a Strategic Plan to Guide Its Design of a New System

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Correspondence issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The Department of Defense (DOD) is one of the largest and most complex organizations in the world and faces challenges in managing its human capital--particularly its diverse civilian workforce. Our prior work has noted that over time federal positions, including those within DOD, have become increasingly specialized and more highly skilled, resulting in a need for managers to have greater flexibility in hiring and compensating employees. As a result, the department took steps--pursuant to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2004--to provide managers with ... continued below

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United States. Government Accountability Office. April 28, 2011.

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Description

Correspondence issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The Department of Defense (DOD) is one of the largest and most complex organizations in the world and faces challenges in managing its human capital--particularly its diverse civilian workforce. Our prior work has noted that over time federal positions, including those within DOD, have become increasingly specialized and more highly skilled, resulting in a need for managers to have greater flexibility in hiring and compensating employees. As a result, the department took steps--pursuant to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2004--to provide managers with greater flexibility in hiring and implemented a performance management system that sought to reward civilian employees' performance and contributions to the agencies' missions rather than to reward longevity in a position. Specifically, in 2004, DOD established the National Security Personnel System (NSPS)--a human capital system that significantly redesigned the rules, regulations, and processes that governed the way civilian employees were hired, compensated, and promoted at DOD. In 2006, the department began converting its civilian employees to NSPS. From its inception, NSPS was criticized and faced challenges from unions and employees regarding several issues, including inconsistent application of the system, pay inequities, and a lack of stakeholder involvement. Since 2003, we have reported on NSPS, covering issues such as DOD's initial regulations for the system and the pace at which it was implemented. We noted in these reports that how human capital reform is done, when it is done, and the basis upon which it is done can make a difference in whether such efforts are successful. In light of the concerns and challenges facing NSPS, the NDAA for FY 2010 contained provisions to terminate the system. Specifically, the act repealed the statutory authority for NSPS and directed the Secretary of Defense to begin, no later than 6 months from the enactment of the law, to take all actions necessary to provide for the orderly termination of NSPS and the conversion of all NSPS employees and positions from NSPS. The act also provided direction regarding DOD's pay and personnel system and a new performance management system. More specifically, regarding the pay and personnel systems, the act directed the Secretary to (1) convert employees, no later than January 1, 2012, to the statutory pay system and all other aspects of the personnel system that last applied or would have applied if NSPS had not been established and (2) ensure that no employee shall suffer any loss of or decrease in pay as a result of the conversion. Regarding the new performance management system, the act directed the Secretary to promulgate, in coordination with the Director of the Office of Personnel Management, regulations providing for, among other things, (1) a fair, credible, and transparent performance appraisal system for employees that links bonuses and other performance-based actions to performance appraisals; (2) a process for ensuring ongoing feedback and dialogue; and (3) development of a plan designed to give employees training, counseling, mentoring, and other assistance. The act did not specify a date for completion of DOD's new performance management system. At the time that DOD's authority for NSPS was repealed, approximately 226,000 DOD civilian employees throughout the department were under the system"

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Government Accountability Office Reports

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for the U.S. Congress investigating how the federal government spends taxpayers' money. Its goal is to increase accountability and improve the performance of the federal government. The Government Accountability Office Reports Collection consists of over 13,000 documents on a variety of topics ranging from fiscal issues to international affairs.

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  • April 28, 2011

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  • June 12, 2014, 7:50 p.m.

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United States. Government Accountability Office. Performance Management: DOD Is Terminating the National Security Personnel System, but Needs a Strategic Plan to Guide Its Design of a New System, text, April 28, 2011; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc299218/: accessed September 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.