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News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
Contact: Eldon Girdner
Tel: 202-606-2402

STATEMENT BY OPM DIRECTOR LINDA M. SPRINGER REGARDING THE NATIONAL SECURITY PERSONNEL SYSTEM

This is a very important day in the history of the people who work for the United States government. The actions we take today, provoked by the events of the recent past, will go far to guarantee the strength of America's future.

The National Security Personnel System will provide the Department of Defense with a modern and flexible human resource system that can be more responsive to its national security mission.

The Office of Personnel Management was pleased to be able to work closely with the Department of Defense on this joint effort, a unique opportunity to participate in the most comprehensive reform of the Federal personnel system in decades.

An important innovation OPM advanced in the National Security Personnel System is the flexibility for the department to modify personnel rules in the future to meet evolving needs.

We are not simply replacing one system for another. We are acknowledging the critical necessity for our government to operate with the agility, the creativity and the flexibility our times demand.

We must have the flexibility to adjust to changing circumstances, to respond to new threats and dangers, and to do it quickly, decisively and effectively in the future.

Congress expressed a desire that the new National Security Personnel System be promulgated in a manner that would modernize the personnel system while preserving the enduring core values of the civil service. We have done that.

Our design process demanded that the agency's mission be balanced with employee interests. We have achieved that in the new National Security Personnel System.

The Merit System Principles are at the core of the new system as are the protections enumerated in the Prohibited Personnel Practices.

With input and participation from key stakeholders, including employees, supervisors, managers, union representatives, senior leaders, and public interest groups, we have insured that due process protection for employees remains as well as employees' rights to representation.

I am confident we have achieved the proper balance between employee rights and the department's special needs which enable it to fulfill its role as the protector of our national security.

There will always be tension between mission prerogatives and employee interests. My responsibility as Director of the Office of Personnel Management is to insure proper balance between these two basic needs. That will be done.

These regulations are the product of a lot of hard work. The next step - implementing these new rules - will also require a great deal of hard work and generous cooperation.

We must succeed. The impact on our government and its dedicated employees is too great for us to hesitate or fail.

Over 700,000 employees will be in this new personnel system. That represents 40% of the United States civil service work force. DoD has been experimenting with pay bands and these kinds of personnel flexibilities for 25 years. We've learned a lot from them. We are confident that with this experience they will succeed in implementing the NSPS.

This will not be fast and this will not always be easy. It will take several years to phase in this new system and it will require a great deal of training and communication to do this right. We can do that.

The Office of Personnel Management stands ready to provide all the support and technical assistance necessary for a successful and lasting implementation.

The Department of Defense wants this new system to succeed. The Office of Personnel Management is equally hopeful that this positive transformation in the lives of the thousands of professionals who "Work for America" is the human resources model upon which governments will operate for generations to come.

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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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