James Clapper said that except for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency — which has been under its own pay-for-performance system for more than a decade — intelligence employees at Defense will be placed in a grade structure similar to the General Schedule. (Alex Wong / Getty Images)
The Pentagon is scrapping plans to link pay raises for intelligence employees to their performance, according to an Aug. 5 memo from outgoing Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence James Clapper.
Clapper said that except for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency — which has been under its own pay-for-performance system for more than a decade — intelligence employees at Defense will be placed in a grade structure similar to the General Schedule. Those employees will receive regular increases to their base pay each year.
Clapper said Defense Secretary Robert Gates decided to halt pay-for-performance after reviewing a report from the National Academy of Public Administration that concluded that implementation of the Defense Civilian Intelligence Personnel System (DCIPS) was rushed and flawed, that it gave better ratings and raises to higher-ranking employees, and that employees have lost faith in the system. The report also concluded there was no evidence that the pay-for-performance system at NGA has improved employee productivity or agency performance.
"The secretary's decision does not represent abandonment of DCIPS and its fundamental tenets of unifying the Defense Intelligence Enterprise within a performance-driven culture," Clapper wrote. "The heart of the DCIPS program will stay intact, including the occupational structure, common performance management system, and bonuses tied to performance."
But Gates' decision effectively kills the Defense Department's efforts to implement a wide-scale pay-for-performance system. Congress last year cancelled the National Security Personnel System (NSPS), which at its peak covered 226,000 non-bargaining unit Defense employees.
Clapper, who the Senate confirmed as the next Director of National Intelligence Aug. 5, said the department has not yet decided how it will transfer DCIPS employees to a GS-like system.
Clapper said no employee will suffer any loss of or decrease in pay. But similar promises were made to NSPS employees, and the department later said thousands of employees who had received large pay raises under NSPS would have their future pay raises halved until their GS pay scales caught up with their salaries.