House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer released the following statement today in response to the Department of Defense's announcement that it will begin to implement the National Security Personnel System (NSPS):
"Yesterday the Department of Defense announced that it will begin implementing the National Security Personnel System that will affect approximately 650,000 civilian Federal employees. As I have stated in the past, I am deeply concerned that these regulations might be used to eliminate important protections for employees and taxpayers without enhancing our national security or saving taxpayers money.
"When Congress authorized Secretary Rumsfeld to rewrite the Pentagon's civilian personnel policies in 2003, the expectation was that the Pentagon would develop a new personnel system to help the military meet the challenges of defending our nation in a post-9/11 world. I am concerned that rather than achieve this critical objective, the new NSPS regulations will be used to curtail essential employee rights and protections, including due process and collective bargaining rights.
"If DoD employees are to perform crucial national security functions in a professional, non-political manner, such protections and rights must be in place.
"I am also troubled that the new personnel system will terminate the General Schedule and replace it with a new and untested system that has the potential to be used in an arbitrary and unfair manner.
"It is my hope that DoD will avoid the mistakes the Department of Homeland Security made in designing its new personnel system, which prompted a federal district judge in August to suspend its implementation. However, given that the two personnel systems have many similarities, I am not sure that NSPS will avoid the pitfalls encountered by the DHS's system.
"I intend to closely review the proposed new work rules over the next 30 days. I will not hesitate to urge Congress to take appropriate action if the new system neither strengthens our military's ability to defend our nation nor delivers a better workforce than currently exists at DoD."