Pentagon adds 35,000 employees to new personnel system

The Defense Department is planning to transfer an additional 35,000 nonbargaining unit employees to its controversial pay-for-performance system, according to an online notice posted last week.

The department has been moving its employees to the National Security Personnel System in test groups known as spirals. The latest round, Spiral 1.3, will include more than 26,000 Army employees, 7,500 from the Navy and more than 1,000 in the Air Force. The transfers will take place by the end of April.

This installment will bring the total employees working under the system to more than 113,000.

The Pentagon has delayed moving unionized workers into NSPS until an appeals court rules on a case challenging the labor relations portions. Unions argue that the system effectively eliminates collective bargaining rights, and would like the appeals court to uphold a district court ruling that blocked the department from proceeding with labor relations reform.

A decision in the appeals case is expected soon. But the department may face roadblocks regardless of how the court rules. Earlier this month, members of a House Armed Services subcommittee said congressional action may be necessary to fix the problems associated with the personnel system.

Sarah Starrett, a labor relations attorney for the American Federation of Government Employees, said the department's move on Spiral 1.3 is misguided. "They are trying to take advantage of the fact that these people have no representation by taking away their rights," she said.

She added that several employees working under NSPS have contacted AFGE, asking the union for help returning to a bargaining unit job under the General Schedule. She said many employees who leave NSPS and return to a General Schedule job are not receiving the promotions they would normally receive had they never left the schedule.

Defense Department officials argue the new system is working well, but they acknowledge it will take time to fully evaluate NSPS and determine where adjustments will be needed for the long term.

Michael Dominguez, principal deputy undersecretary of Defense for personnel and readiness, said earlier this month that the infusion of new employees indicates "substantial progress" and will help the department ensure the system is "credible, fair and effective."

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

    Download
  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

    Download
  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    Download
  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

    Download
  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

    Download
  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

    Download
  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.