|By Elaine Wilson, American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Defense Department is on track to transition the
majority of its more than 220,000 civilian employees out of the National
Security Personnel System (NSPS) by Sept. 30, more than a year ahead of
deadline, the official heading up the transition said.
The 2010 National Defense Authorization Act called for the termination
of NSPS by January 2012, bringing an end to a controversial personnel
system that has been operational for less than four years.
Fort McCoy awaiting
Initial plans released by
Headquarters, Department of the Army indicate that Installation
Management Command National Security Personnel System (NSPS)
employees, including those at U.S. Army Garrison, Fort McCoy, will
transition to the General Schedule in mid-August 2010.
For more information regarding the transition from NSPS back to
the General Schedule system in the Fort McCoy work force, go to
the Fort McCoy Corporate Network (FMCN) > From the Commander >
National Security Personnel System Guidance. Information
regarding the transition will be posted to this location as it
Specific questions regarding the transition can be referred to
your supervisor and to the servicing Civilian Personnel Advisory
The majority of employees will transition — starting this spring —
back to the decades-old General Schedule (GS) system, but with an
assurance in regard to pay.
“I am committed to ensure, as directed in the National Defense
Authorization Act, that employees experience no loss of, or decrease in,
pay upon conversion,” said John James Jr., director of the Pentagon’s
NSPS transition office. “The department believes in that and believes it
is the right thing to do.”
This preservation of pay encompasses all employees. For instance, NSPS
employees who are paid a salary that exceeds Step 10 — the highest step
under the GS system — of their pay grade will retain their pay upon
conversion, James explained.
An employee’s grade upon conversion will be determined by classification
specialists using the same criteria in use for GS employees, James said.
“An employee’s position will be evaluated under the General Schedule
system and classified,” he said. “If that position classifies out as a
GS-13, then that employee will become a 13 when they transition.”
While the Defense Department has a goal for transition completion, James
noted that each organization and component will make a determination on
a time line based on four factors:
• No undue interruption to mission or hardship to employees;
• Established processes to classify NSPS positions into the appropriate
• Existence of a legacy performance management system; and
• An information technology system capable of handling the transition.
As officials work to ensure a smooth transition, they also are turning
an eye to the road ahead. Along with terminating NSPS, the act gives the
Defense Department new authorities to look at developing a successor
performance management system that incorporates the best practices of
NSPS and GS.
“One of the best advantages under NSPS that we saw was the clear
alignment between employees and the organization about what their
contribution means to the priorities and the direction of the
organization,” James said. “As we develop the new authorities and
transition employees to the GS system, in most cases, we plan to
reinforce that directive and that effort to ensure the employees are
aligned with the organization.”
Officials also will examine the law’s requirements for hiring
flexibilities and a personnel performance fund that rewards employees or
teams for performance, he said.
These processes will continue to be open and transparent, James vowed.
“I envision the transition and development and use of the new
authorities to be a collaborative effort with supervisors, management,
leadership, union partners, labor partners, the Office of Personnel
Management and other stakeholders. I see this as being an entirely
James emphasized the importance of communication throughout the
transition process and future personnel system modifications. “You can’t
overcommunicate a change,” he said.
To that end, the NSPS Web site,
http://www.cpms.osd.mil/nsps/, now includes transition updates and a
training module called GS 101, he said.
“Employees who have never been in the GS system, and there are a few,
can go in and walk through that,” James said. “It really is informative
and tells them how the GS system works.” It’s also of value to employees
who were in the system before, he added.
James encouraged employees to continue to ask questions. “Employees
should feel free to ask their chain of command about how that process is
being implemented,” he said. “GS is very prescriptive in how the process
works. They will be informed how their job will be classified and