(WASHINGTON) – The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) today provided the House Armed Services Committee with written testimony on the need to fully repeal the costly, controversial National Security Personnel System (NSPS). The call to eliminate the misguided system comes on the heels of a declaration issued by DoD Deputy Secretary William Lynn to halt further expansion of NSPS pending further review; however, AFGE has received some reports that employees have been converted to NSPS after the announcement.
“We have said consistently that this system is inherently flawed. It lacks transparency and fairness. It is a system that is completely untenable and should never have been pursued,” said John Gage, AFGE national president. Gage met with DoD Deputy Secretary Lynn prior to the declaration to suspend expansion of NSPS.
The controversial personnel policy has been mired by employee distrust since its inception in February 2005, when the previous administration sought to eliminate collective bargaining and constrict civilian pay under the guise of pay-for-performance. Immediately following its announcement, over 58,000 DoD employees, their unions, and other interested parties responded overwhelmingly against its implementation. Since that time, reviews by the Government Accountability Office, and media outlets, such as the Federal Times, have discovered that the system is wrought with unfairness.
The National Defense Authorization Act of 2008 restored collective bargaining rights for DoD civilian employees and reinstated some civilian protections stripped out by earlier versions of the NSPS regulations. However, DoD has exploited limited “government-wide” restrictions to collective bargaining beyond Congress’ intent. The DoD has used an overly broad interpretation of these restrictions to continue to limit the ability of civilian employees to exercise their right to collective bargaining.
AFGE has also received disturbing reports that despite saying that it would delay converting any employees into NSPS, DoD has continued to place civilian employees into the personnel system. These conversions are being made primarily as a result of Base Closure and Realignment (BRAC) transfers, but AFGE suspects that there may be other instances. “We want to know how many employees have come under NSPS since DoD said it would not convert any more positions,” Gage said.
In the testimony delivered to the House Armed Services Committee, AFGE maintained that NSPS is beyond repair and should be scrapped completely. “We believe that despite the good intentions of Congress in the NDAA of 2008, NSPS will continue to restrict civilian employee protections and promote favoritism. For those reasons, Congress must act to dismantle this poorly conceived system and immediately convert all civilian employees now under NSPS to the GS pay system,” said Gage.