President signs end to NSPS


President Barack Obama signed the Defense authorization bill into law Wednesday afternoon, marking the eventual end to the controversial National Security Personnel System.

HR 2647 phases out the NSPS pay-for-performance system by Jan 1, 2012, and the Pentagon has six months from Wednesday to start transferring employees over to their original pay system. For many employees, that means a return to the General Schedule.

The bill also contains a number of provisions long anticipated by federal employees:

  • Federal Employment Retirement System (FERS) employees will be able to count unused sick leave toward their years of service, just as Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) employees can. This may end the epidemic of “FERS flu,” where soon-to-retire employees burn off sick leave because they couldn’t receive credit for it.
  • FERS employees returning to work for the federal government would be able to redeposit their annuities.
  • CSRS employees who work part time at the end of their careers would be able to have their annuities recalculated to be based only on their full-time salaries.
  • Retirees returning to work for the federal government would be able to collect their full salaries while drawing their annuities. Agencies used to be able to pay rehired annuitants a full salary only if they obtained a waiver from the Office of Personnel Management.
  • Federal employees in Alaska, Hawaii and U.S. territories will now receive locality pay instead of cost of living. Employees in the continental U.S. receive locality pay.

Feel free to celebrate in the comments section below, feds!


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  1. I was actually looking forward to a pay system that rewards hard work and innovation on a more quantitative scale, and does so on an annual basis.
    As it is, the GS system penalizes employees for longevity, since as you advance through steps within grade, you must wait longer for anything other than a COLA.

  2. Working for the military for over 20 years, this was a great system to help remove dead weight and reward those who have a passion for what they do! The only ones I’ve met that find this to be good news are those who feel they deserve their pay, no matter how much or little they work…

  3. Its sad that DoD could not do the right thing without intervention by Congress, the Senate and the President
    I’m disappointed that DOD’s leadership had to be told to kill the NSPS program. To me this sends a clear message to civilians that DoD can’t be trusted to do the right things, even when they are faced with a mountain of facts about the NSPS monster that they created. And it also showed emphatically that the unions really are the mouthpiece and the honest broker for Government civilians. I hope that once all employees are returned to their fair, honest and open GS positons that the unions will persue several courses of action: First, the unions should press that GS employees of all grades have the option to join the union; because right now the unions fought on behalf of the Sr government employees in government service to right the wrongs that DOD did to them. Senior civilians are currently not allowed to support the only organization that represented them in this time of unfair NSPS bufoonery. Second, I hope the unions demand investigations of promotions and hirings that have occured over the past eight years during the time NSPS was running wild. Third, I hope that the unions press for laws that protect employees from arbitrary and poorly thought out personnel system that are the result of poorly educated and lopsided party initiatives.

  4. Do your research… Unions were created at a time when protections were not in place for employees – they are today. Unions have outlived their usefulness and in this day and age they protect those unwilling to contribute – the lazy and the unproductive. These are the individuals who give civil servants a bad name.

    NSPS is simply a pay for performance system – similiar to the private sector where individuals are rewarded for their contribution. Why is this a bad thing???

  5. Union, bad or good, does it really matter. It’s those that stand up and say no when they need to, that all that matters. NSPS is a good system, pay for performance is good. What is bad, is the back door deals, the pay pools, and the supervisor who go with the flow and don’t support their employees. Hay all system are good if people work them for the good, but throw in those that work it for there own reward, you get trouble. NSPS has trouble areas, everyone knows that.

  6. Lets face it the GS pay system is the only pay system in the US that rewards you for not getting fired…. “Congratulations Mr. Jones, you did not set the office on fire in the past 3 years. Here is your Step Promotion”

    This is a sad day, we are going back to a pay system that rewards the minimum effort.

    I switched services to go on a performance based system. My old Job was “Pass/Fail”, GS and divide the award money equally among the entire workforce. I was getting the same thing as the guy sleeping in the cube next to me.

    Since I made the switch, I gained the equivalent of 5 step promotions in 5 years and put me in a better position when I was promoted to the next pay band. In addition the workforce attitude is completely different, there are no more people sleeping in their cubes….

    It is a sad day indeed

  7. The way I see it, NSPS pay for performance was a good idea at the start. There is 3 % cola and 5% step increase , thats a good 8% increase for the average GS schule employee. Then NSPS came along , what I work hard and I can get up to 10% depending on which quartile I fall into. Hmm then came the bad news , no cola and your quartile only allows up to 3%. hmm if all civil service employees were treated this way, I guess managment and the Gov’t made out like criminals, cutting their overall payroll increases by 60% and more. I think that was the goal and I think that was wrong!

  8. Those of us in private industry understand the intent of the NSPS system. Why ? Because we are evaluated based upon competition or “pay for performance” and have been for years. While I am sensitive to people who can’t compete as well as others do to IQ, talent level, attitude or whatever — I am afraid we will now reward mediocrity and time in grade/service more than “performance”.

  9. Statement says:Federal employees in Alaska, Hawaii and U.S. territories will now receive locality pay instead of cost of living. Employees in the continental U.S. receive locality pay.

    Question: What about the people working overseas supporting Troops? We are getting COLA below others due to the LOW Dollar exchange to the EURO. We need at lest a portion. Still Good to know that the GS system will be back in the Play. Now we can get properly rated for what we do. Thanks President Obama (Sir)

  10. I think that getting rid of NSPS is a great idea. It was a waste of time for employees, supervisors and their supervisors filling out the forms and pay pools were not fairly run. You were told in the beginning that the highest rating you were going to get is a 3 no matter how hard you worked because to get higher you had to walk on water. A 3 rating was a “valued employee”. However, when it came to the pay pool, a 3 got a very small share of the pool. You got in pay pools that no one knew who you were and if your supervisor wasn’t good at words, you were penalized for it. I seriously believe they should go back to the GS scale and add 5 more steps so that there is potential for growth for those people who have dedicated their working years to the government and are not ready for retirement. Everyone was familiar with the process and people were treated fairly in most cases. If someone is not doing their job, it is up to the supervisor to do their job – council and document poor performers and let them go.

  11. I like nothing more than to be rated by a group of individuals (the pay pool) who do not know even see me occasionally, let alone have ever met me. It does not matter what your supervisor writes on your evaluation or how your supervisors rates you–the pay pool makes the decision on your rating of record and then makes your supervisor input the pay pool’s rating. Just peachy. Funny I have not seen any of the nonproductive workers cut loose–why should they–do the min and get a 3. Bust your butt and get a 3. Demoralizing!! Oh yea and since the pay pool rates you–your supervisor can not explain what you needed to do to get a 5–and it gets better we are already 4 months into the next year, we are just getting our rating of record and our supervisors can not tell us what we need to do to get a 5 for this rating period. Smoke and mirrors, where is the transparency?

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