Questions for the Record Related to the Implementation of the Department of Defense's National Security Personnel System
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As we have previously reported, we support the need to expand broad banding approaches and pay-for-performance-based systems in the federal government.2 However, moving too quickly or prematurely to implement such programs, whether at DOD or elsewhere, can significantly raise the risk of doing it incorrectly. Hasty implementation could also set back the legitimate need to move to a more performance- and results-based system for the federal government as a whole. Thus, while it is imperative that we take steps to better link employee pay to performance across the federal government, how it is done, when it is done, and the basis on which it is done can make all the difference in whether or not such efforts are successful. In our view, one key need is to modernize performance management systems in executive agencies so that they are capable of adequately supporting more performance-based pay and other personnel decisions. While our previous work does not prescribe a process and time frames for rolling out systems such as NSPS, we have stressed that agencies should have an institutional infrastructure in place that would include, at a minimum, (1) a human capital planning process that integrates the agency's human capital policies, strategies, and programs with its program goals and mission and desired outcomes; (2) the capabilities to effectively develop and implement a new human capital system; and (3) the existence of a modern, effective, and credible performance management system that includes adequate safeguards, including reasonable transparency and appropriate accountability mechanisms, to ensure the fair, effective, and nondiscriminatory implementation of a new system. Prior to NSPS implementation, we cautioned that, while the DOD leadership had the intent and the ability to implement the needed infrastructure, it did not have the necessary infrastructure in place across the department.
Washington, DC : U.S. Govt. Accountability Office, 
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