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News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, July 27, 2005
Contact: Michael Orenstein
Tel: 202-606-2402

OPM to Stand with DOD During Implementation of New Pay System and Personnel Rules

Washington, D.C. - The U.S. Office of Personnel Management will continue as a full partner with the Defense Department during the phase-in of a new human resources system that rewards employee performance, treats workers fairly, yet gives agency managers latitude to manage for results.

OPM Deputy Director Dan G. Blair told a conference of DOD HR professionals that the President's chief HR agency is committed to the men and women who work each day to secure America's democracy and remains partnered with DOD during implementation of the National Security Personnel System (NSPS).

"OPM and DOD have been equal partners in developing the NSPS, and we will remain so in any future adjustments to the basic design," Blair told employees gathered at the DOD Worldwide Personnel Conference held in Southbridge, Massachusetts. "We've built in regulatory flexibility so the department can tailor NSPS to specific needs in staffing and appointing authorities, in classification of occupations, and in managing pay and performance systems."

Blair asserted OPM's position, especially when issues or features of NSPS having a "significant impact" on the civil service.

The National Security Personnel System was authorized by Congress and signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2004. It replaces a more than half-century old pay and classification system designed primarily for a clerical work force fighting the Cold War. The NSPS is a contemporary system -- not unlike a new HR system at the Department of Homeland Security -- that links employee pay to performance, adheres to principles of merit in personnel decisions, and gives managers greater flexibility to adjust their operations based on staffing or mission needs.

Blair noted the key to successful implementation of NSPS is DOD's establishment of a communication plan that encourages employee feedback.

"Employees must perceive the NSPS as fair and credible, especially in managing pay and performance," said Blair. "The NSPS must be transparent, with implementation problems identified and resolved through constant feedback" that includes a "robust evaluation program."

The NSPS system was developed over a period of many months, with open and intense negotiations between DOD management, and defense employees and their representatives. OPM, which serves as President Bush's chief advisor on federal HR issues, served as a consultant.

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Our mission is to Recruit, Retain and Honor a World-Class Workforce to Serve the American People. OPM supports U.S. agencies with personnel services and policy leadership including staffing tools, guidance on labor-management relations and programs to improve work force performance.


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