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KADENA AIR BASE, Okinawa — Hundreds of U.S. civilian appropriated-fund employees across the Pacific were scheduled to move from the so-called longevity-based General Schedule personnel management system to a new performance-based system beginning Sunday.

The shift is part of a Department of Defense-wide conversion of nonbargaining positions — employees not represented by a labor union — to the new National Security Personnel System, said Bruce Scott, civilian personnel officer at Kadena.

Since the National Defense Authorization Act of 2003 authorized the conversion, personnel have been working to get the system in place, Scott said.

NSPS has met with some resistance from a coalition of federal employee unions complaining that the new procedures would erode job protections for workers; several lawsuits are pending.

The changeover is being implemented in phases. By December, about 11,000 DOD civilian employees were covered by NSPS, according to FedNews Online. By the end of this month, another 66,500 employee positions should be converted. The conversion ultimately will affect about 700,000, according to FedNews Online.

But according to the NSPS’s Web site, certain DOD categories are excluded, including intelligence personnel and employees of the Defense Laboratories listed in the NSPS law.

The NSPS system is more flexible when it comes to hiring, retaining and recognizing high performers, said Anita McKinney, chief of the workforce effectiveness section at Kadena.

Supervisors and employees will collaborate to define each employee’s job objectives. These goals, which will be based on mission requirements, must be completed by Feb. 9 for Kadena employees, Scott said.

The GS system rated employees as acceptable or not acceptable. The NSPS rates employees from 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest possible rating. In tests at bases in the United States , most employees rated 3, which is considered a valued performer, said Kadena spokesman Johnathan Monroe.

With a 3 rating, employees are eligible for performance-based pay increases and other monetary incentives, he added.

McKinney said the broader rating range allows supervisors to reward high performers and penalize substandard work.

Monroe said NSPS, unlike the GS system, also permits employees to comment on their job performance.

McKinney said those remarks are documented as part of the employee’s file.

For information on NSPS, visit

Staying the sameThe National Security Personnel System brings a lot of changes, but some things will remain the same. They include:

Merit principles.Laws governing retirement, health and other benefits.Anti-discrimination practices.Veterans preference.Protection for whistleblowers.Allowances and travel/subsistence expenses.Source: Department of Defense

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