New Beginnings Explained

Categories: DoD

Here's what you need to know about the Department of Defense's New Performance Appraisal System. 

What is the Goal of New Beginnings? 

The main objective of New Beginnings is to develop and maintain a results-oriented performance culture that ties individual performance to organizational goals. The performance and appraisal system emphasizes employee and supervisor interaction. It calls for employees to get more communication and feedback over course of the year. The goal is admirable, but implementation is key. 

What's the difference between the current system and New Beginnings? 

There are currently a multitude of appraisal systems throughout the Department of Defense. Generally, they are a pass/fail or a 5-tiered system.  

New Beginnings relies on a 3-tiered evaluation system:

  • (1) Unsuccessful; 
  • (3) Fully Successful;
  • (5) Outstanding.  

All employees must have written performance plans, developed jointly with their supervisors, that detail the critical elements of their job and set goals for the year ahead. Performance goals will be established using the SMART criteria: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely. 

There's a lot of details to be worked out – details that could be overlooked if DoD releases New Beginnings before thinking through all the moving parts. 

Sounds pretty good. Some officials want a new plan anyway.  

Even as New Beginnings was being developed, Pentagon leaders were secretly plotting a major overhaul of personnel rules for both civilian and active-duty employees dubbed Force of the Future. AFGE was first out of the gate to condemn this planned overhaul as a retread of the failed NSPS policies from the Bush administration.  

Others don't think that's a good idea. 

Luckily, lawmakers were quick to reject the Force of the Future power grab. Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain blasted the proposed reforms during a Feb. 25 confirmation hearing for Brad Carson, chief architect of Force of the Future, who had been nominated as undersecretary of Defense for personnel and readiness.  

“This initiative has been an outrageous waste of official time and resources during a period of severe fiscal constraints. It illustrates the worst aspects of a bloated and inefficient defense organization,” McCain said.  

Following this blistering hearing, Carson announced on March 14 that he would be resigning effective in April. His top adviser, former Army officer Morgan Plummer, also will be stepping down.  

So will New Beginnings launch on April 1? We'll see if DoD wants this program to truly be a success. 

Find even more info about New Beginnings here.


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