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National Security Personnel System--NSPS

Does the new NSPS provide employees voluntary early retirements with the minimum years of service instead of having to stay within the current voluntary retirement term?

One of the areas that does not change under NSPS is employee benefits. The requirements for retirement eligibility stay the same. Early retirements can still be authorized in reduction in force situations, but only as a tool for management to use to minimize the effect of a reduction in force.


During my nearly 30 years working at Kirtland Air Force Base as a civilian, the appraisal system has been nothing but a beauty contest, where appraisals are based upon favoritism, nepotism, and just how much your supervisor and certifying official like you. With grievances of appraisals eliminated and changes to the appraisal system not being discussed, what accountability is in place to protect me and all the employees of KAFB?

Over the next few months, all supervisors and employees will be required to attend training aimed at facilitating communications about expected performance and ratings under NSPS. The draft Federal Register states on page 7562 that Performance-based pay requires improved communication of expectations and performance feedback on the part of supervisors, since employees must understand what they have to do in order to receive higher ratings and increased pay. To achieve that objective, the proposed regulations require ongoing feedback with at least one interim performance review during each appraisal period. First-line supervisors, however, do not have the final say as to who receives payouts. Page 7560 of the draft Federal Register states, The final determination of the rating, number of shares and payout distribution will be a function of the pay pool panel process and will be approved by the pay pool manager...The pay pool manager is the individual charged with the overall responsibility for rating determinations and distribution of the payout funds in a given pay pool. DoD is developing an appeals process for employees, which is a path you can use should you feel your rating is unjust.


How are our annual cost of living raises affected?

The annual January pay increase, as we know it now, will change. The proposed pay rules provide for periodic "rate range" adjustments, to adjust the minimum and/or maximum rate of a pay band. When a minimum rate of a pay band is adjusted upward, employees will receive an equivalent increase. There are no "steps," similar to the GS system, in a pay banding system. Instead, pay increases and/or performance bonuses are based primarily on your performance rating. Unacceptable performers are not eligible for pay increases under the proposed system.


How are you going to track supervisors that have been trained?

Education Training Management Systems (ETMS) is a system that currently tracks training and other products can be developed.


How can a Board member be independent if they are appointed by the wolf trying to enter the henhouse?

The draft Federal Register Section 9901.907 states the NSLRB will be made up of independent, distinguished citizens of the United States well known for integrity, impartiality, expertise in labor and/or the DoD mission and/or national security matters.


How can the NSLRB be fair and impartial when they are hired and fired by DoD?

The draft Federal Register Section 9901.907 states the NSLRB will be made up of independent, distinguished citizens of the United States well known for integrity, impartiality, expertise in labor and/or the DOD mission and/or national security matters.


How can we trust an employer who will have the authority to overrule an Administrative Law Judges ruling without just cause? And will this Authority lie strictly on the appointed Secretary of Defense? Or will he be allowed to delegate this down as far as SSG Rock discussed earlier?

Administrative Law Judges cannot be overruled by the agency. 


How did the public comment influence the regulations?

The formal 30-day public comment period for the proposed NSPS regulations ended on March 16, 2005. Over 58,000 comments were submitted by employees, interested groups, private citizens, elected officials, and national and local union representatives. Comments submitted by the deadline are posted on the NSPS Web site. Many commenters wanted more details about the proposed system and were concerned about how NSPS would work. Some of the commenters welcomed the concept of pay being linked to performance, while others expressed concern about fairness and consistency in the performance management process, the importance of communicating performance expectations to employees, and the importance of training and proper funding. Other comments were focused on questions regarding the pay banding structure, including criteria to determine career groups, and how rate ranges and local market supplements would be set. In the area of labor relations, many comments centered on the scope of collective bargaining under NSPS, the makeup of the proposed National Security Labor Relations Board, and concerns over employee rights. Comments will be analyzed to determine whether changes to the proposed regulations are warranted. The final regulations will include a section addressing the comments received during the public comment period.


How does this affect seniority?

NSPS has no impact on an employee's seniority. However, because NSPS is a performance-based system, the proposed regulations give greater weight to performance in RIF retention by placing performance ahead of length of service. Employees competing for retention under RIF who have the same performance ratings will be retained based on length of service. 


How will this be Pay-for-Performance and not Pay-for-Patronage? Where is the accountability of supervisors and managers?

The flexibilities proposed in the proposed NSPS regulations bring with them an increased need for accountability. This includes employee accountability for performance, as well as supervisory and managerial accountability for the proper exercise of the authorities in NSPS. Extensive training will be given to supervisors and managers, with a focus on improving skills needed for effective performance management, such as setting clear expectations, communicating with employees, and linking individual expectations to the goals and objectives of the organization. Supervisors and managers will be held accountable for how effectively they use the tools provided by NSPS. They will also be subject to the pay and performance provisions of the system, and their pay will be affected by how well they perform their duties as supervisors and managers.


I understand that individuals will be rated as a group. How will individuals be rated if not against a set standards set forth from their Standard Personnel Core Document?

Under Section 9901.406 of the draft Federal Register supervisors and managers are required to communicate performance expectations to employees. Performance expectations may take the form of goals or objectives that set general or specific performance targets at the individual, team and/or organizational level. Organizational, occupational, or other work requirements can be included in standard operating procedures, operating instructions, manuals, internal rules and directives and/or other instructions that are generally applicable and available to employees. With respect to particular work assignments, expectations can be set regarding the quality, quantity, accuracy, timeliness, and/or other expected characteristics of the completed assignment. In addition, standards could address the competencies an employee is expected to demonstrate on the job and/or the contributions an employee is expected to make or any other means provided that the expectation would be clear to a reasonable person.


If a person doesn't perform and receives no performance pay, will they still be entitled to an annual pay adjustment (cost of living and/or locality pay)?

No. the proposed pay rules provide periodic "rate range" adjustments to adjust the minimum and/or maximum rate of pay band. When a minimum rate of pay band is adjusted upward employees will receive an equivalent increase. However, unacceptable performers will not be eligible for such increases.


If someone is scheduled to receive a with-in grade increase in January will the receive it or lose it?

Employees will receive with-in grade increases up to the point of conversion to the NSPS. After the conversion date, employees will receive credit for the time they have spent waiting for the WIGI and their salary will be adjusted accordingly when they transfer to the new system.


Is it going to be a requirement that managers must be trained prior to assignment as a supervisor?

All employees will be trained in communication skills. We do not believe there will be a requirement to train an employee promoted into a supervisory position prior to their entry into the position. However, we endeavor to get supervisors into training as quickly as possible after promotion.


Is the current appraisal sufficient to use for "pay for performance"?

No. Employees must be under the pay for performance NSPS system for one year.


Since the Labor Relations statutes are rewritten so enabling regulations will supersede Labor/Management Agreements, to what level will these enabling regulation be delegated? OSD? SECAF? AFMC/CC? Installation Commanders? Or the shop level where SSG Rock, a new NCO with two paragraphs of reading in his PME on the Labor Relations, who supervises two or more Civil Servants will be authorized to write these regulations?

The answer is not known until the final NSPS regulations are published.


The FAA in Oklahoma has been under Pay-for-Performance for five years, and over 60 percent of the employees have not received a pay adjustment during this time frame due to under funding. What will prevent this from happening at KAFB?

DOD is committed to ensuring civilian compensation is protected. In fact, the law requires that the aggregate amount of money allocated for civilian compensation for organizations under NSPS cannot be less than the amount that would have been allocated under the existing system. Under NSPS, the overall amount of money that would have been used for the annual January pay adjustment, within grade increases, quality step increases, and similar payments, will be used for civilian pay, and those funds will be protected. However, the proposed NSPS pay system will distribute those funds based primarily on performance/contribution toward the mission.


Under NSPS, is it possible for a 25-year employee to lose their job in a RIF while a newly hired employee keeps their job?

Anything is possible. It is possible today under the current system for a 25 year employee to lose their job while newly hired employees keep theirs. Under NSPS, Veterans' preference eligibles are still retained over employees without veterans' preference in RIF. Also, seniority continues to be a factor in RIF. However, because NSPS is a performance-based system, the proposed regulations give greater weight to performance in RIF retention by placing performance ahead of length of service. Employees competing for retention under RIF who have the same performance ratings will be retained based on length of service.


What are significant changes as it applies to bargaining?

NSPS Proposed language has no detailed information on this.


What assurances do the employees have these monies will not be siphoned off for wartime expenses of other mission driven expenses?

The draft Federal Register Section 9901.313 states that to the maximum extent practicable for FY 2004 through 2008, the overall amount allocated for compensation for NSPS employees will not be less than would have been allocated had they not been converted to NSPS. These calculations are in the aggregate, not per employee or work unit. DoD will establish a formula with similar objectives for use beyond 2008. Budget and work year execution constraints are unchanged by NSPS.


What if my supervisor writes an unfair appraisal, can I grieve it?

Once employees receive a rating of record under NSPS, the rating of record may be reconsidered according to the proposed NSPS regulations. Payout determinations will not be subject to reconsideration (5 CFR 9901.409 (g).


Who will be on the 'National Security Labor Relations Board?

The board will be made up of at least three members, appointed be the Secretary of Defense for at least three year terms. One member will be appointed from a list developed in consultation with OPM. Secretary of Defense appoints chair.


Will the members of team Kirtland be receiving an annual pay adjustment in January?

Team Kirtland Employees will receive an annual pay adjustment in Jan 2006 if congress grants one.


With many military supervisors, how are we going to keep them trained? Right now it takes months to get to supervisor’s training and they may be gone in two years. 

Currently the AFI requires that supervisors receive supervisory training within 180 days of appointment as a supervisor. Keeping supervisors trained has been one of our rising priorities. NSPS only raises our awareness of the need for a well trained supervisory force.


With the possibility of RIF or Furlough this year, where is the money coming from to train supervisors in the new appraisal system?

We will use the 377 ABW Training Office and will provide the Supervisor and NSPS training.