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SSC-Natick Press Release

U.S. Army Soldier Systems Center-Natick
Public Affairs Office
Kansas Street
Natick, MA 01760-5012

Contact: Chief, Public Affairs Office
(508) 233-5340

Date: January 29, 2007
No: 07-02

SSC Garrison receives NSPS update

NATICK, Mass. -- On Tuesday, Jan. 9, the SSC Garrison held a Town Hall meeting to update its employees on the National Security Personnel System (NSPS).

NSPS is a new civilian human resource management system. According to a Department of the Army news release, the program "allows for less complex hiring procedures, streamlined position classification, pay banding and pay-for-performance."

John Manning, acting garrison manager, said that there are currently three spirals for SSC. Spiral 1.1, which became effective in April 2006, moved personnel in our Human Resources area under NSPS.

In Spiral 1.2, non-bargaining unit employees from the Integrated Logistics Support Center (ILSC) will be moving under the NSPS, scheduled for February 2007.

Spiral 1.3 is scheduled to stand-up in April 2007 and will affect 25 non-bargaining unit garrison employees directly. This group includes supervisors, managers and confidential employees who report to the garrison managers.

Karen Perkins, director of personnel for the Installation Management Command's Northeast Region Office provided an overview of NSPS.

"As the Army needs to transform, it needs to change the total force, including its civilian corps," she said.

Perkins continued that she thought, as a workforce, that personnel working here think more futuristically because we work on the programs that could be 25 years in the future. "We need a future corps that will be flexible and adaptable to meet the needs of the DoD."

"This system will give us the additional tools needed to hire, attract and retain the best qualified workforce," she said. "And it doesn't compromise the basic protections we have today."

Items such as merit systems principles, Veterans' preference principles, whistleblower protections, fundamental due process, and benefit laws on retirement, health, etc. all stay the same as today.

Often one of the most critical things to an employee is to know why his job matters. Working with this new system, Perkins said, lets the employee see how his job ties into the big picture of his organization and the big picture of the Army. Work is aligned with mission or organizational goals.

Another significant benefit to employees, Perkins feels, is that it will improve relationships between supervisors and employees. "For many people, when they go in to have their rating, they are looking at objectives from a year ago and they didn't know how they were doing along the way." Areas such as coaching, counseling and redirecting performance will now be encouraged.

Under NSPS, the workforce will be under four specific career groups: Scientific and Engineering, Investigative and Protective Services, Medical and Standard. Each group has four pay schedules. They are typically: Professional/Analytical; Technician/support; Supervisor/Manager; and Student. There are three pay bands, which translate into pay ranges. As a rule, the categories for the pay band are entry level, full-performance and expert. Pay and progression within a band is determined by a combination of factors. Some of those factors could be the level of work, the job's value in the labor market and the employee's performance and qualifications.

Currently under the GS system, compensation is determined by a base rate, plus any locality pay, plus step increases which equal the employee's adjusted salary. On top of this, employees have the opportunity to get bonuses, such as performance and cash awards.

Under NSPS, compensation is based on a base rate, plus a local market supplement (which currently is the same as locality pay) and performance based pay adjustment, which would equal the adjusted salary. On top of this, employees may also receive performance based bonuses and cash awards.

With the current system, an employee who never receives a promotion or Quality Step Increase would take 20 years to move from a step 1 to a step 10 at his particular level. With NSPS, employees may be able to move up within the band more quickly, depending on performance.

Having the flexibility to have the right person in the right place at the right time, is an important aspect of NSPS, said Perkins.

An important factor to note is that employees will not lose pay upon conversion of their positions to pay banding from the GS schedule. And those eligible for a within-grade increase when their position transitions will receive a pro-rated increase in salary.

Training is scheduled at the end of February for the garrison employees that will be affected.

This page last updated on 10 May 2006.