NSPS: right around the corner

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- This weekend, over 200 civil service employees at Vandenberg will transition to the National Security Personnel System, or NSPS. About 1,000 AFSPC civil servants have already converted in Spiral 1.2b.

What has Vandenberg done to prepare for this change? Training, Training, and more Training! Each employee converting to NSPS, plus all military supervisors of converting employees, have endured almost 40 hours of classroom and web based training. In fact, personnel can not sign Performance Plans unless they have been certified as 'complete' on training.

Training has been both in 'hard' and 'soft' skills; the 'hard' skills necessary to write performance plans and evaluating performance, and the 'soft' skills necessary to accomplish effective performance feedback and embrace change.

Have we reached the end of training requirements? No - by the end of April all managers and supervisors will have also been trained on how 'Pay Pools' will affect their future performance pay raises. Below are Frequently Asked Questions regarding NSPS.

For the latest information, or to ask an NSPS question, please visit the Vandenberg NSPS Community of Practice site on the AF Portal (go the portal, click on "Communities," then "Search" for "VAFB").

Q: What is NSPS?

A: NSPS is an ambitious reshaping of the old rules governing civilian employee management. It changes how employees are recruited and retained. It builds on a new performance management system that values performance, rewards contribution and promotes excellence. It requires that supervisors manage with innovation to achieve tangible results and that civilians adapt rapidly to new missions, technology and tactics.
Q. When will Vandenberg's other 800 Federal employees convert to NSPS? Conversion of the remaining GS and FWS employees is dependent upon resolution of a labor dispute filed by several Federal employee labor unions. A panel began to hear arguments on the case on Dec. 11. A decision on this matter is expected to be issued early this year.

Q: Will employees' rights be protected under NSPS?

A:
NSPS does not change merit system principles, rules against prohibited personnel practices, benefits, allowances and travel, subsistence expenses, training, leave and work schedules, anti-discrimination laws or veteran's preference.

Q: Will my current pay be adversely affected under NSPS? Will I lose money?

A:
Under NSPS, all employees currently eligible for a within-grade increase will have their pay adjusted to include a pay increase (WGI buy in) that covers the period between the last WGI date and the January 21 conversion to NSPS. WGI buy in will appear in the first paycheck after conversion, Feb. 9. All Groups have been provided the amount of the buy-ins, so contact leadership if you have not heard what the amount will be.

Q: If I take a job with an agency still operating under the GS pay system after Vandenberg converts to NSPS, which system will I be under?

A:
The Department of Defense has a conversion system in place that will allow you convert to the pay system of the agency into which you are transferring. That conversion process will be driven by both your qualifications and the knowledge, skills and abilities required for the new position. Grade structure, pay ranges and KSAs can be found in the employing agency's job announcement.

Q: After Vandenberg converts into NSPS, what will our pay look like?

A:
Under the current system, our total annual salary consists of the basic salary plus a locality pay. In NSPS, the total annual salary will be basic pay plus the local market supplement, which takes the place of locality pay and provides more flexibility in the way it may be applied to career group, pay bands, pay schedules, occupational series and the local market.

Q: How will my position be classified under NSPS, and when will that be completed?

A:
Your position will be converted into NSPS using your current position description. Your career group and pay schedule will be determined by the type and level of complexity of work described in your position description. The GS conversion tool in NSPS 101 course provides your new pay schedule and band. A link to this tool is on the Vandenberg NSPS Community of Practice web site. GS-14 conversion was accomplished under special Department of Defense guidance, and the results have been forwarded to Group leadership.

Q: Will reduction-in-force change under NSPS?

A:
Yes. The priority of retention factors in NSPS will change from tenure group, veteran's preference, length of service and performance credit to tenure group, veteran's preference, performance credit and length of service.
Performance credit under NSPS is given a higher priority than length of service, which is based on the service computation date.

Q: I'm currently on a temporary promotion to the next higher grade. What happens to the promotion under NSPS?

A:
At NSPS conversion, you will revert to your permanent grade level, convert to the NSPS classification structure and, with the coordination of your supervisor, continue on the temporary assignment (may not be a promotion under NSPS). Pay setting will follow NSPS pay setting provisions.