Input sought for DOD civilian personnel system

Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON – U.S. Air Forces in Europe civil service employees who will come under the new National Security Personnel System have an opportunity to help shape the program.
The new National Security Personnel System Factor Survey gives general schedule employees the chance to register their views about several performance factors identified for inclusion in the new personnel system.
“Now we need your assistance to ensure that these performance factors are relevant and reflect work that you personally perform on your job,” Gordon England, acting deputy secretary of defense, wrote in a June 29 memo to DOD civilian employees.
Mr. England emphasized the importance of the survey in his memo. While stressing that participation is voluntary, he urged civil service employees to participate.
“I thank you for your feedback and participation in the NSPS design process thus far,” he wrote. “We still need your help.”
The survey period began July 6.
Charles Abell, principal deputy undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, urged employees to take the 15 or 20 minutes required to complete the online survey to ensure their views are known.
Views expressed in the survey will have long-term implications, Mr. Abell said. The results will help program implementers determine what factors will be used to evaluate employees’ job performance for the next 15 or 20 years, he said.
“Even though we aren’t scheduled to implement NSPS until 2007, this is an opportunity for the 2,300 US appropriated fund employees assigned to USAFE to shape the system,” said Veronica Hinton, USAFE chief of personnel resources. 
Employees from every career field area are encouraged to participate, said Ms. Hinton.
“We want to ensure maximum survey participation so that the new system effectively meets employee needs,” she said.
Once in place, the new personnel system is expected to benefit the Defense Department and its civilian employees alike by doing away with outdated, bureaucratic policies.
“DOD is a dynamic institution,” Mr. Abell said. “Our mission has changed, our focus has changed, and this will allow the civilian-employee workplace to change with that changing mission and changing focus of our leadership.”
One of the system’s key features is a pay-for-performance plan that rewards and recognizes individual performance and contributions.
“Since we are moving to a pay-for-performance system, this survey is an opportunity for employees to shape how they are evaluated and ultimately paid – and everyone should want a say in how they are paid,” said John Steenbock, USAFE chief of civilian personnel and personnel resources.
The result, Mr. Abell said, will be a workplace that’s “more productive (and more) efficient, with our jobs aligned with our mission.” Once the system is implemented, DOD “ought to be a happier place to live and work,” he said.
Civilian employees interested in taking the survey can find it at www.cpms.