New Personnel System to Benefit All in DoD, Deputy Says

By Sara Wood

The Defense Department’s new civilian personnel system will create a better environment for employees and will contribute to the overall transformation of the department, the deputy secretary of defense said in Baltimore.

The National Security Personnel System will be more responsive and agile and will help DoD link organizations at low levels, Gordon England said at the Office of Personnel Management Federal Workforce Conference.

"We need systems like this for the simple fact that we need to attract the very best talent we can," England said. "So we need a very responsive and modern personnel system so we can attract people, and those people will have the ability to perform to their highest potential."

The first requirement of every leader is to create an environment that allows their employees to excel, England said, and that’s what NSPS will do for government civilians. Creating a better work environment will build a strong foundation for the overall transformation DoD is going through, he said.

"I don’t believe you can transform an organization unless people are comfortable that they are being treated with dignity and respect," he said.

Transformation of DoD is important because the war on terror will be a long war, and the country will need constancy in its military and defense policies, even as leadership in the presidency and Congress changes, England said. "Our job in the Department of Defense is to make sure that whoever that is – the president and Congress – that they have choices in terms of the application of military power," he said.

This time of transformation is also a time of great threat and a time requiring great leadership, England said. The war on terror is fundamentally a war of will, he said, and every terrorist attack is an attack against the American way of life.

"This is not a war of our choosing, but it’s also not a war that we have an option whether we want to be in it or not," he said. "This is a war of will; this is a war of purpose; this is a war of commitment; this is a war of dedication."

England’s remarks came a day after a federal judge blocked implementation of NSPS, ruling that some of its provisions would fail to protect civilian employees’ ability to bargain collectively. Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said yesterday that DoD officials are working with the Department of Justice to appeal the court’s decision.