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News Release

Tuesday, September 14, 2004
Contact: J. Porter
Tel: 202-606-2402

OPM and DoD Brief Veterans Service Organizations on National Security Personnel System

Reserve Officer Association Official Reemphasizes Value of Veterans

Washington, DC - The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) in conjunction with the Department of Defense (DoD) conducted a recent briefing on the National Security Personnel System (NSPS) targeted specifically to Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs).  The briefing provided information on the NSPS development background, guiding principles, NSPS program management, current outreach initiatives, and a national schedule of activities.  OPM Deputy Director Dan G. Blair and DoD Deputy Undersecretary Charles S. Abell delivering opening remarks, and George Nesterczuk, OPM Senior Advisor on the Department of Defense, and Mary Lacey, Program Executive Officer, NSPS, delivered the technical briefing.

"OPM Director Kay Coles James is firm in her commitment to protect Merit System Principles and Veterans' Preference government-wide especially for qualified and disabled veterans.  OPM will be working with DOD to ensure that federal workers who will fall under the new system are fully protected by these foundational principles," said Nesterczuk.  "DOD's mission is critical to the well-being of this nation, and our joint efforts and the final NSPS will further enable the Department to meet that mission and achieve results on behalf of the American people."   

The NSPS, as part of the Defense Authorization Act of 2004, will do away with DoD's outdated personnel system and authorizes DoD, jointly with OPM, to modernize a broad range of civilian personnel rules.  The NSPS represents the most significant change to the civil service since the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978, with flexibilities never before afforded that have the potential to impact the entire federal work force.  These new flexibilities are being married with pillars of the civil service, such as Veterans Preference, in order to create a new, agile personnel system.  

"As a veteran-making organization, DoD appreciates the critical importance of taking care of our veterans. Veterans are a valued constituency of DoD and we recognize the important role VSOs have in helping us develop and design the NSPS.  Our meeting with them today was to solicit their input to ensure VSO issues and concerns are heard," stated Lacey.

"The Reserve Officers Association (ROA) is impressed with OPM's and DoD's efforts to include VSOs in the process while designing the NSPS.  As our world becomes more complicated it is important for the civilian personnel system to be flexible enough to meet those needs while retaining the foundation of professionalism and experience.  The war on terrorism is creating a new generation of veterans and we have been assured there is a strong commitment to ensuring veterans' preference.  ROA believes veterans represent the values NSPS is building, and we will continue to support veterans' preference programs being a conduit to civil service," stated Susan Lukas, Legislative Director for the ROA.

The NSPS continues to conduct focus and working groups to gain valuable information on crafting labor relations, appeals, and human resources design elements.  Over 100 focus groups have taken place in 40 DoD facilities worldwide with the participation of over 1,000 employees.  The focus groups conducted to-date have consisted of employees, civilian and military supervisors and managers, human resources professionals, and legal and equal employment opportunity staff.  In addition, over 40 town hall meetings with DoD employees already have taken place and another 20 will be held until the end of September 2004. 

OPM and DoD also have held briefings on NSPS with other stakeholders, including public interest groups and employee advocacy organizations. 

To further enhance communications with employees, an NSPS website has been established at  The site is interactive and information is continually updated, and it addresses various NSPS issues of interest to employees including pay for performance, pay banding, and labor relations. 

The final NSPS regulations will be published in the Federal Register for public comment in December 2004. 

List of attending VSO's follows:

Veterans of Foreign Wars
Military Order of the Purple Heart
Korean War Veterans Foundation
Vietnam Veterans of America
Blinded American Veterans Foundation
Fleet Reserve Association
National Veterans Legal Services Program
Reserve Officer Association
Non Commissioned Officer Association

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OPM leads and serves the Federal Government in enterprise human resources management by delivering policies and services to achieve a trusted, effective civilian workforce. By Empowering Excellence in Government through Great People, we provide leadership and support to U.S. agencies on issues including human resources policy and oversight, background investigations, federal employee benefits, retirement services, guidance on labor-management relations, and programs to improve workforce performance. For more information, visit or follow OPM on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.

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