DACM Corner: AcqDemo: Rewarding Excellence

By April 23, 2011August 13th, 2014Acquisition, Career Development, Commentary, General
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LTG William N. Phillips

Many of you in the Army Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology Workforce no doubt are wondering what the pending transition from the National Security Personnel System (NSPS) to the Civilian Acquisition Workforce Personnel Demonstration Project (AcqDemo) will mean for your careers. I would like to assure you that AcqDemo brings with it great potential to recognize and reward your hard work on behalf of our Soldiers.

The transition from NSPS to AcqDemo as the personnel and performance management system for approximately 14,000 employees in the DOD acquisition workforce, including about 6,000 in Army AL&T, is on track to be completed by May 22, as most of you have learned in your transition training sessions.

AcqDemo reaches beyond the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology to other activities in which at least one-third of the workforce is acquisition personnel. For example, certain elements of the U.S. Army Materiel Command, but not all, will transition to AcqDemo. Also transitioning are the U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command and the U.S. Army Medical Command’s Health Care Acquisition Activity.

Several organizations are considering converting from the General Schedule to AcqDemo. The DOD AcqDemo Project Director will convene a working group after the May 22 transition date that may add activities to the approved list of AcqDemo participants.

AcqDemo was conceived in the mid-1990s as a personnel management system that would provide managers the authority, control, and flexibility to identify, recognize, and reward the skills that are vital for a high-quality professional workforce in the fields of AL&T. At the same time, AcqDemo is designed to expand the opportunities available to employees for personal and professional growth.

AcqDemo, which covered more than 16,000 DOD employees at its peak, was interrupted in 2007, when all DOD personnel systems, including AcqDemo, were converted to NSPS for purposes of standardization. The FY10 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) repealed NSPS, returning DOD organizations, their employees, and positions to the personnel system they were in before NSPS. The FY11 NDAA then extended AcqDemo to the end of FY17.

If you previously were under AcqDemo before converting to NSPS, you will not see a change in AcqDemo; it will look like it did before NSPS.

If you are currently in NSPS, here’s what will not change under the AcqDemo: your benefits, including retirement and health and life insurance; policies on leave; work schedules; allowances and travel or subsistence payments; veterans’ preference; merit system principles; whistleblower protection; anti-discrimination policies; and fundamental due process.

If you are new to AcqDemo, you’ll find that its processes and procedures are different in many respects from those that govern NSPS. The most visible difference will be AcqDemo’s Contribution-based Compensation and Appraisal System, which is much more like private-sector evaluation practices than NSPS, placing a greater focus on the employee’s contributions to the organization.

The annual cycle of self-assessment, evaluation, and pay pool decisions will operate in much the same way in AcqDemo as in NSPS, but the factors to be considered in your self-assessment and evaluation are distinctly different. Specifically, AcqDemo will look at what you contribute in the areas of problem solving, teamwork and cooperation, customer relations, leadership and supervision, communications, and resource management.

These factors were not chosen randomly. They reflect the very skills and talents the Army needs to attract, cultivate, and reward to build and maintain a top-notch AL&T Workforce.

Your contributions within each of those factors will be scored, which will produce an Overall Contribution Score. That overall score will be measured against your Expected Contribution Range to determine whether you are being compensated appropriately. If not, you are in a good position to receive a Contribution Rating Increase, which is an additional increase to base pay. If you are found to be overcompensated, your pay will not be reduced by the pay pool panel.

Your overall score also is a central consideration in whether you will receive a Contribution Award, or bonus, from the pay pool, and how much. The amount also depends, of course, on available funds, as it does with NSPS.

For AcqDemo transition updates, visit http://www.acq.osd.mil/dpap/ops/docs/Mar_11_AcqDemo_Contributions_Newsletter.pdf. For transition training information, visit https://asc.army.mil/organization/acqdemo/acqdemo_training.cfm. For answers to additional questions, contact the Army AcqDemo Program Office at Jerold.a.Lee@us.army.mil or the DOD AcqDemo Help Desk at Helpdesk@dau.mil.

Whether you are being evaluated or are evaluating those you supervise, I think you will find AcqDemo to be a more flexible system of recognizing and rewarding excellence in the work we do every day to support our warfighters. Take full advantage of the opportunities it provides, and together we will continue building the Army Acquisition Corps of the future.