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Vandenberg implements National Security Personnel System

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE, Calif. -- The Department of Defense has begun to implement the National Security Personnel System, a new pay plan, starting with certain individuals with supervisory positions on base. 

"I'm very optimistic about this system," Mark Farias, Vandenberg Fire Chief, said. "Our nature is to walk from known to unknown cautiously and the fact that it has affected most supervisory personnel first is better because non-supervisory personnel can see how it works before it affects them directly." 

In November 2003, Congress granted the Department of Defense authority to establish, in partnership with OPM, a new civilian human resources management system to better support its critical national security mission. 

The current human resource system is inadequate to manage the diverse Air Force civilian workforce in today's dynamic national security environment, which requires a flexible and agile total force to meet the threats of the twenty-first century, Mr. Ronald Cortapassi, 30th Space Wing Technical Director, said. 

The key elements of the NSPS include classification, pay/compensation, performance management, hiring/staffing, reduction in force, adverse actions and appeals, and labor relations. 

Officials emphasized that no employee will lose pay during the conversion to NSPS. Most will receive an initial pay bump to account for time already earned toward their next within-grade increase. A conversion tool in the NSPS 101 course, posted on the NSPS Web site, helps employees estimate of the value of their within-grade-increase, as well as their career group and pay band under the new system. 

"We are now going to have performance objective," said Mr. Cortopassi said.  "Management will have control over salaries and now civilians will have the opportunity earn pay increases." 

NSPS will allow supervisors a direct hand in rewarding outstanding performers. 

"I, as a supervisor, have a lot more flexibility to reward, retain and hire good people," Mr. Farias said. "Also, the employees are more empowered in actively shaping their own destiny; they will share in feedback and determining goals and objectives ... we will all be much more achievement and results focused versus "the process" dominating our cultural landscape. Boss' now have a way of recognizing that difference." 

By the January deadline, Less than 200 personnel out of 1,000 individuals will have implemented the new NSPS here. 

"We are not breaking new ground, this is an old friend of industry - "pay for performance", it has been around for an awful long time and it should be something that is looked forward to rather than feared," Mr. Farias said. 

"The best people will rise to the top and those that make the biggest difference should be rewarded appropriately, that's how it ought to be," he said. 

For more information on NSPS, go to the Web Site